Managing your to-do list should never take more time than checking those boxes.
This is the wasteland of productivity. I have waded through it too.
We all want a system that’s effortless. Something that supports the way our brains work rather than drag down our productivity.
The ideal is to find a system that works with you and then make productivity improvements.
Remember when you tested a hypothesis in junior high school science class? Memories of the egg drop experiment are rushing to me. You designed a vessel to protect an egg when dropped and then tweaked it until it worked.
Let’s use the same approach with your productivity. Test these changes and see what works for you:
Can you believe about 28 percent of the workweek is managing e-mail? That’s over a quarter of your time spent on someone else’s priorities. Some reasons we spend so much time on email include:
Here are some quick changes you can make to your email habits and improve your productivity:
You’ve been told to build boundaries in your relationships. It’s time to build boundaries around your time. Time boundaries set limits to keep you focused. They also protect your schedule from being eaten up by any single item on your list.
Say, for example, you want to publish a blog post. You need to research, write, edit, and publish the post. I’ve built time blocks into my week for each of these tasks:
Friday 9-10:30 am research
Monday 9-10:30 am write
Tuesday 9-10:30 am write
Wednesday 9-10:30 am edit
Thursday 9-10:30 am publish
It sounds rigid, and it is!
If I don’t stick to the schedule, I won’t produce a blog post. Also, if I linger too long in my writing time, it will take away from other priorities. Instead of relaxing with my family after dinner, I’ll be pounding the keyboard.
The good news is it allows for some flexibility. Say you have to schedule a doctor’s appointment during your time block. You just move that block to later in the day or another day. You don’t have to worry about it not getting done.
You can also get more done by creating boundaries around the roles you play. Set your office hours from nine to five. After 5 pm, you can put on your mom hat. Say, you don’t, and you work 60 plus hours. How long do you think it will take before your personal life implodes?
Who wants to attend more zoom calls? Anyone???
One quick way to find more time in your day is to say no to that next zoom meeting. But, you can’t always say now so let’s set some criteria for when you can say yes.
You don’t have to save the best for last, but if you want to get more productive, try getting the worst done first.
What’s the one thing on your list that you are least motivated to do? The thing you are most likely to procrastinate?
Work on that thing before anything else. If you have to set a timer and just do that one thing for a solid 20 minutes.
Now that it’s over, the rest of your day will feel like a breeze.
The bell has rung. Your test paper is sitting on the desk in front of you.
How have the productivity experiments above made a difference in your life? I bet you find that small changes will have a big impact on that test score.
If you need help executing your experiment, let’s chat.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.