“We don’t manage time, we can only manage ourselves”
Few weeks back, on one fine morning I had a pile of work to do, and I felt the panic building, the moment I woke up and started thinking about all that work.I felt helpless and watched the anxiety. My mind was racing and my heart was beating fast. Unfortunately, this happens to me from time to time — I feel like I have so much to do, and I start to worry. However, I believe this happens not only with me but with many of us and in order to find a solution,I started to read books, blogs and websites extensively. Today, through this post, I intend to share a little bit about my findings.
There are literally tons of resources available on internet to address this ‘Productivity’ issue. Some of them are really good ones. I would specifically recommend to follow Zenhabits, The Effective Engineer, Productive Flourishing and offcourse, my personal favorite Scott Young’s blog. After going through a considerable number of posts from each of the blog, I finally realized that the act of staying productive is a simple yet organized and focused process. Here are my 5 productivity hacks.
Productivity Hack #1: Eat Your Frogs First
Finish the toughest or the heaviest work first in the morning. Yes, put no second thought on that. It would drastically lessen the level of stress and frustration for the rest of your day .
Productivity Hack #2: Avoid Unnecessary work and learning to say ‘NO’
If we just do any work that comes our way, we can be cranking out the tasks, but not be productive at all. We are only productive if we are doing the work that moves us towards a certain goal.Eliminate non-essential tasks from your to-do lists, and start to say no to new requests that are non-essential. Working hard sometimes is not enough, working smart is all that we need.
Productivity Hack #3: Use technology wisely
These days there are a proliferation of digital tools we use for productivity, for time management, for communication, for social networking, for keeping track of our lives, online and offline. I extensively use apps and features like Gmail, GCal, Google Docs,Twitter, Bookmarks, Text/Voice/Video Chatting, Social Media Feed, RSS Feeds, Offline gmail feature to keep me on track with this dynamic world. However, excessive use of these can become counter productive as well. Hence, set aside a particular time of the day when you can make the very best use of these technologies available.
Productivity Hack #4: Maintain a Daily/Weekly Journal
This one is my favorite and I cant say enough how helpful this has been for me. The principle behind maintaining a Daily/Weekly Journal is simple. At the end of the week, write a list containing everything you want to get accomplished in the coming week and similarly, at the end of the day, write a list containing what parts of that weekly list you want to be finished tomorrow.
Next day, focus ONLY on your Daily goals. After you finish your daily list, you stop. Don’t work on more projects or tasks. You have the rest of the day to relax. And after you finish the weekly list, you’re done for the week. The advantage is two fold. First, you get to enjoy a guilt-free relaxing time when you know you have achieved your daily goals and secondly, it would give you a clear idea on your short term and long term goals.
Productivity Hack #5: Decide 3 Most Important Things (MIT) for the day
Your Most Important Things for the day — the things you most need to accomplish that day — should take priority over everything else. Before you check email or blogs or do anything else in the morning, plan out your day and start on your first MIT. Don’t let yourself be distracted by anything else, and work all the way until you finish that first MIT. Now you’ve gotten at least one important thing done. Take a 10-minute break, and if you can stand it, get started on your next MIT. But please don’t try to do more than 4 MITs each day.
You can also extend this concept by picking 3 things for a month in an area where you want to make progress and focus to finish them one by one.
One final point. Staying productive is keenly related to how you set your goals or priorities in your life. I plan to write my next post on goal settings and its importance. Till then, I hope you found this post helpful.
Stay calm and stay productive. 🙂