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Wednesday
May112011

Top 5 for being more than just productive

 

I have found it. Finally a tool that is cross platform and scalable - it’s a productivity tool. I just started expanding the Financially Digital team and was barely managing my To-Do list well enough for just myself. I just started using Wunderlist and it is ahh-mazing. I have it on my Android phone, my iPad, and my Window’s based workstation - all syncing and sharing tasks with my fledgling team. It might sound pretty fantastical but I’m really hooked on this. First off, if you are a small business/entrepreneur whether in practice or at heart we all know the dangers of over planning. I know that I’ve personally let myself get so wrapped in organizing that it eats up way more time than planned - pun intended. Sometimes we fall back on organizing because it’s easier than actually knocking those more intimidating actions off the To-Do list. Sometimes we fall back on dividing up our tasks into microscopic action items because the end goals are a little blurry themselves.

They have not paid or endorsed me in any way (but I’m open to it :)) but I like that this application because it creates room for a dialogue on productivity - so sorry for the fanboyness. Productivity for some can be like trying to follow a rainbow to the end to find the pot of gold. There are a ton of tips online about disconnecting and just getting to the bare essentials of what you need to get anything done while in front of a computer screen. While this is important sometimes the advice gets a little fluffy. I would argue that it’s not about the amount of distractions at your finger tips - because even if you unplug I’m sure you can find something else to distract - but about setting priorities. It’s great if you have a laundry list of things to do but the quantity of what you accomplish means nothing if you are dodging what’s really important for the easier and less confronting items on it.

Here are my: Top 5 Tips for Being Not Just Productive But Effective.

1. Super specific goals or benchmarks. Boil tasks down to their lowest common denominator. Have a clear objective to accomplish in a clear and realistic amount of time. It’s great to want to earn $500 dollars a day by offering a product or service but how many interactions with consumer/clients will that take. Measure your output per hour and start producing. If it’s more qualitative then that it’s ok too. If your goal is to have a project done in 4 hours then map out what each hour’s goals are so that you can be done.

2. Do your homework/prep work in advance. The reason why we avoid somethings on our To-Do lists is because we feel intimidated by them. So before approaching something make sure you have all the tools necessary before you start. If you have ever had any work done on a house/apt or have done any projects around the house how frustrating is it when you or the contractor doesn’t have the right materials or tools. Really frustrating. You have to stop what you are doing and go out an buy or pick up what you need only to try to start up again. Lot’s of wasted energy and time. I’m not saying you can prepare away all of the uncertainty that goes with what you’re trying to be productive at but it can help save time and sanity.

3. Organize - but avoid organizational paralysis. Lists are great! I’m a huge believer of documentation at every step of the way. Use it as the tool it’s intended to be. Don’t worry about the mapping out every single minute of every hour. Getting specific was Tip 1 - now it’s taking your goals, and the resources you’ve prepared and orchestrating it so that you feel confident about finishing what you are about to start. It’s also about setting the frame work so you can move seamlessly from step to step to achieve those bigger goals.

4. Reward successes and failures. I always tell clients to shoot for the stars because if you don’t make it odds are you still got pretty high up. Same goes for productivity. If you don’t finish everything on your list it’s ok - set up reward times for the things you were able to execute beautifully.

5. Walk away. Sometimes productivity means changing gears. We are not all built as autonomous production machines. Focus fluctuates for all of us - some are early birds, others are night owls, and no one is really productive after lunch (well not me anyways) so plan your day around how you feel. Don’t be afraid to drop what you are doing and pick up something else that is better suited for your brain space at the moment. Productivity is about efficient resource utilization and how you feel at any specific time will dictate the resources you can commit. Be conscious of your day’s work flow patterns and use it to your advantage.

 

 

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