Posts

Reduce Browser Tab Clutter with OneTab

Part of becoming more productive means purging some of your bad habits. But there are some bad habits you might have and you possibly don’t even realize  how they’re negatively affecting you.

For example, I have a habit of opening lots of tabs in my web browser. Any time I see an interesting article or recipe I’ll open it in a new tab with the intention of reading it later. The problem is I end up with a lot of tabs, so many that it starts to slow my computer down and overwhelm me.

I could always just close them – but I do want to look at them eventually and I always get annoyed when I can’t find something I had planned to read or a video I wanted to watch.

Luckily I have found a solution. Read more

Why You Should Never Schedule Anything at the Top of the Hour

As you probably know, a top productivity tip and regular habit of mine, is to write my to do list the night before. I consider it a roadmap for the following day. I don’t have to stick to that schedule exactly, but it gives me a path to follow.

Many of the highly-productive people I know do the same thing. However I’ve noticed they make one key mistake – they schedule tasks for the top of the hour. For example your to-do list might look something like:

  • 10am catch up on email
  • 11am call Donna

What’s wrong with that?

The problem is two fold.

First of all, as a total procrastinator I know all the tricks your mind will play on you in order to put things off. Scheduling things at the top of the hour is a classic one. Why? Because the second that clock ticks 10:01 and you haven’t checked your email, you start to think to yourself, “well now I’ve missed my opportunity! I’ll get to it in a minute”.  But then you never actually get back to that original task because your attention pulls you away.

The second issue is that when you schedule something for say 11am, people don’t actually start to get ready until 11am. I find that if I’ve scheduled a call with someone, if I make the call on time they often won’t answer, as they’re still going back to their desk or checking over their notes. The same is true of meetings. How many 2pm meetings actually start on time?

So what’s my solution?

I like to schedule appointments and tasks for 15 mins past the hour. This gives you 15 minute to prepare or get yourself set up for the time ahead. So if it’s a Skype call you’ve got time to login and check your audio is working at the top of the hour. If you’re scheduling a meeting these extra 15 minutes give people time to grab a cup of coffee or tea and get settled.

Go through your diary today and shake up your schedule! Be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below.

So What’s the Big Deal Over Dot Journaling?

Thanks to listproducer.com I’ve met a lot of people in the productivity community and the more people I meet the more I find we have in common. We tend to be stationary nerds, who love Marie Kondo and are always looking out for the best way to get organized. So it’s no surprise that the latest to-do trend, that combines a to-do list with a planner and a diary, has become a big success in the productivity community. I’m talking, of course, about dot journaling.

If you don’t know what that is, dot journaling is, simply put, making a lot of bullet point lists. (You’ll quickly find with dot journaling that there’s a lot of overly complex names for simple things.) While I normally think it’s better to keep your lists separate, dot journaling allows you to put all your long and short term goals, as well as daily tasks, into one notebook. And you use a code-type system to keep everything from getting muddled together. Read more

When is YOUR “Power Hour”?

Here’s something interesting that most people don’t know:

Each of us has a specific two-hour window every day when – thanks to certain physiological processes – we’re naturally TWICE as productive as normal. Not only that, but our cognition is sharper, too.

Remember the last time you were in the zone? Chances are, it was during this two-hour window.

I know my peak time starts around 11am, I need some time to get settled into the day and then I’m ready to get down to work.

Knowing when you’re at your peak performance can help you in so many ways. You know precisely when to do your most important work. Better yet, you could set an alarm and wait for it to ring before diving into tasks that are essential for getting ahead.

Why? Because then, without even trying and tapping into your personal productivity style, you’d perform at a higher level and, ultimately, do a better job. You’d finish faster, leave work earlier, and arrive home with more energy at the end of the day.

This two-hour window occurs at a different hour for each of us.

It’s hardwired into our neurology. Read more

How to Break Down Your Goals

Whatever project you have in mind, whether it’s writing a book, planning a big dinner party or starting your own side hustle, these big ideas can quickly become overwhelming. Thinking about all the work you have left to do can make you feel like giving up before you even begin..

To help me feel less overwhelmed I use a little trick called “backtiming.” This is a concept I picked up from my day job as a TV news producer. If your show finishes at 11pm, that’s it, you can’t over run. So to make the news work on time we start with the end in mind and work backwards. This guarantees that you’ll finish on time.

This method has multiple real world applications, if you’re a whiz in the kitchen you probably use this method to ensure all the various elements of your dish will finish at the same time. You can also use backtiming to plan out your future goals. For more on how backtiming works check this out.

It also helps to break up your goals into smaller, more manageable pieces. You can focus on one of these lists at a time to prevent yourself from getting distracted by all the other pieces of the puzzle. Read more