Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Five Productivity tips I believe in (and 5 I don't!)

This last week I reorganized  this blog a bit. I typically do not like discussing goals and productivity online as its touched so often. I also feel like many of the tips suggest are all the same. I also personally ignore the major one everyone mentions - getting up earlier. Just no.
However, I wanted to start incorporating goals into the posts. This means I need to touch on productivity.
The main reason I dislike this topic is because I am personally pretty content. I set goals, I know what I want and how to get it and am probably overly confident on my skills. But not everyone is. I couldn't tell you if I just was born setting goals or if I was taught. I loved school and had a student planner and set goals, so  I couldn't tell you where it started. 
I do, however, want to provide some highly effective habits, as well as counter to some of the ideas I do not buy into - but you might. 

1. Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is stopping and taking in the moment, essentially. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings in a given moment. Some good methods to bring this into your daily life is single tasking, meditation and journaling. I love writing. I would personally consider writing down gratitude mindfulness as well.  
2. Single Tasking
To often at work or home we find ourselves multitasking. Studies have shown single tasking is more effective. You spend less time getting things done, and less time correcting anything you may have missed because you were multitasking. I remind myself of this daily and try to get my coworkers to as well. You can do anything you want, but not all at once. 
3. List creating
I love a good list. There are days I will create a to done list vs a to do list, as I need the moral boost. I highly suggest them for quick mood improvement. Creating a list allows you to see exactly what needs to be complete.
A quick side bar to this, as not all list are equal, many productivity post have suggest making a simple list of the top items you need to do that day or next day. They figure by limiting your todo's you can concentrate on the most important things, it also leaves you space for interruptions, depending on your industry. I like using the top 3 method, that is write down the top 3 things that need to get done that day. Fill in anything else with random todo's or projects, interruptions but those 3 top things get done. List are such a big topic, but its a great place to start to get things done. Lost on an idea? Make a list.
4. There is no perfect time.
There will never be enough money, time or skill. Now is the best time. This is a hard concept to swallow. But today is better than tomorrow, always. Pretty simple but it hard to master. I am so guilty of this. I literally wrote this article of the course of a week. I am terrible at this.
5. Time blocking
If I am really busy I will time block. I do not do this all the time, as most days I take it as it comes (I have learnt over time just to be loose when it comes to marketing). I tend to do this on the weekend most, for personal projects. I set a time, typically my piggy one but sometimes google too, and I work for that hour, or play a game, depending where I am. This really helps me, as I could literally, and have, played a game (#StardewValley) for 6 hours or more. I just can. I am lucky in which I can do this, but sometimes I want to get things done and I can get lost playing. If you feel you are one of those people, you can do the same. Set a timer, play for an hour work for an hour, whatever works for you. 
There are many techniques out there that talk about doing them in certain intervals but I tend to do an hour at a time. Then I either take a break and play with the bunny or watch videos, etc. Relax. Its good to get up and walk around too. 

Now a few things I do not personally use, but you may like I have seen.
Morning Routines.
I am not a morning person. Period. I would rather sleep an extra 10 minutes, than get up and exercise or eat breakfast. That is just not who I am. My schedule puts me asleep at 10:30 at the earliest, and I like to sleep. I also need extra sleep for personal reasons, related to Anemia, and sometimes that extra 15 will get me through the day a little better. Morning can suck it. I am fortunate to live near my work, be able to eat breakfast in front of my screen and take breaks to review my planner, goals, etc. 
Visual Boards
I have never bought into these type of boards. To be honest they way they are described typically, "will it" to yourself, is a little weird to me. HOWEVER I do think you should write and review your goals regularly. A visual collection of things you want, vacations, that skinny body, etc may work for you. For me I don't personally need to see it daily. 
Postponing Email
I also think this is silly. If you are getting SO MANY damn emails that you do not need, unsubscribe from those emails or talk to your coworkers about what you need to be included on. I can understand this is a little harder in manager roles, but with email setup the way it is today, there is no reason you need 200 emails every morning you do not need. Sort, label and set that stuff up on AUTO. Its very easy. Check out this guide on gmail
Get rid of Distractions
I do not do this because honestly, if I didn't watch TV when I worked, I would never be caught up on anything. That is just the world I live in. Now I do turn off distractions if we are collaborating, etc and I always turn my cell to silent at work. Its just easier and allows me to respond to things when I take a break, vs hearing those noises 'in the zone'.
Putting everything on a List.
Yes this is a list, but a HUGE list is intimidating and less likely to get done.  If you break your list down into important task, household, etc it becomes easier. I think that is why list that focus on top 3 or 10 get the best attention in productivity. It can be daunting to look at a list that is over populated. This is one of the reasons I love Bullet Journaling so much, it helps you create list in a organized way - such as a to read book list. Or a movie to watch list.

I Hope this gave you some perspective. These items are basic practices I have pretty much done since I was a kid - I've always hated mornings - and I grew up in the south where after school was snack and 'lessons' before fun. Its great to talk about these concepts but practice is key, do what works for you and if it doesn't try something else!

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