The one thing that seems to move me forward the most is productivity. The ability to get things done, to whittle down a task into it’s simplest form, or just have an agenda for the day so I know what I should be doing at all times. As one of my friends likes to say “If you’re not moving forwards then you’re moving backwards.”
I’ve tried to learn from productivity systems that are available on the internet. Some are good, some are okay, and some aren’t worth paying attention to at all. Here is what I have found useful along with a few other tips that I have learned over time.
The first thing I want to cover is the idea of a running list. What I mean by this is making a list of things you need to get done at the end of every day before bed. It may sound simple, but it’s something that can help keep your life on track and make sure nothing falls through the cracks from one day to the next.
For example, let’s say that I have a book due by the end of the month. Every night after work or once I get home, I would jot down things to do for this project and put it in my schedule so that way it’s always on my mind.
Some people like to check their list twice and some people like to write down their list three times. This list of course is just for reference. It’s always best to check your plan with the people you are working with before you get into it so that way everyone knows what is expected of them and when they need to have something done by.
This is not a new idea by any means, but I think it’s one of the most important habits you can get into. Keep track of what you are doing and make sure to cross off everything on your list when it is complete. This way you’ll know where the holes in your plan might be, or if there are any extra tasks that need to be taken care of.
Once this becomes part of your routine, you’ll see how much you can get done when there is no clutter in your life.
The next thing I would like to go over is the idea of having one hour blocks in your day. What this means is you focus on doing only one task for an hour at a time without distraction. You focus all your mental energy on that one job and nothing else.
When your hour is up, you take a break for about 15 minutes. Here’s the deal…you can’t work for an hour straight without stopping unless you are Superman or something. So instead of jumping from one task to another every five minutes, try to focus only on that one important job during each time block. If there is any time after your hour is up and you haven’t completed the task at hand, then it becomes a priority for the next time block.
This goes back to what I was saying earlier. If you make a schedule before hand and stick with it no matter what, then you will find that you get more done in less time than everyone else because you aren’t wasting your time with pointless things that don’t actually move you forward in life.
Here’s another little tip for you. If you are trying to get more reading done, try listening to an audio book while you are doing something else like driving or working out at the gym. You can use apps on your phone or download them. It takes longer to listen to an audio book than it does to read one, but you still get the same benefits of learning something new.
The trick is to find a balance between reading and listening. I used to read for hours upon end without putting my book down or picking up another one until I was done with that one as well. That’s fine if you have the time, but some people just can’t stay up reading for hours on end.