“I’m too busy!” We all use it as an excuse when the real reason we don’t seem to have enough time is because we don’t manage it properly. Time management is a huge issue for people, myself included. Just yesterday, I sat around playing games instead of getting done what was important: this blog.
The good news is that I’ve been keeping up with Camp NaNoWriMo, dishing out a thousand words each day. That’s productive, right? Turns out, that’s the easiest thing on the list, and I have a lot more to do. I didn’t start preparing for this showcase until yesterday, and truth to tell, I had originally planned on showcasing blogs about attractive blog layouts.
But then I came across a blog and an interview about being more productive. Since I have such trouble with it, I thought I’d showcase them instead. So here they are: master tips on productivity you should be paying attention to.
1. "15 Ways to Stay Focused At Work" at life hacks.org
Life Hacks has great advice for, well, life. Out of five Google pages of articles on productivity, this one in particular caught my eye. It specifically talks about how to be more productive at work, something I need because I spend too much downtime on my phone instead of planning ahead. (Oops, checked my phone for messages just now. It’s a nasty addiction.) There are a few points I want to highlight.
Clean up your workspace. Having many things scattered on your desk can cause distractions, like that phone I was talking about earlier. (Yep, time to put that away now.) That’s my only wi-fi access, so putting the cell away will get me away from the Internet and forums. The Internet can be SO distracting, so make sure you turn it off, too, before you set out to do something.
Make a to-do list and keep it nearby. Having the to-do list on your phone or iPad is too distracting. If you look at your list on your phone, you’ll be more likely to check messages and read all those spam pop-ups from friends. I recommend actually writing what you need to do down on paper. Physically writing it out helps you remember what needs to be done, and you can cross off all the things you’ve done. I go one step further and write down smaller tasks that contribute to the big one that needs to be done.
Prioritize tasks. Your first hour at work is your most productive, so it makes sense to do the more difficult tasks first while you have the energy to do them. I’ll get more specific about prioritizing later.
Stay clear of social media. Just don’t do it. I know, okay? I’m addicted to Twitter, I constantly look through my Facebook news feed, I read articles on Google+, and I check the NaNoWriMo forums all the time. I also know that when I remove those distractions, I get a lot more done. Remember what I said earlier? Turn off the wi-fi.
For more awesome tips, you can check out the rest of the article. It’s a great read. Just don’t let it distract you from what you need to do right now, alright? You can read it after work or during your break.
2. Interview With Tor Refsland on How To Get More Time for Blogging
Remember when I mentioned Sue Anne at Successful Blogging? Well, she interviewed a master on productivity, Tor Refsland. According to Tor, people are the most productive two to three hours after they get out of bed. Whether or not that’s true for everyone, I don’t know because it usually takes me 2 to three hours just to wake up and only if there’s a cup of coffee involved. All joking aside, Tor gives some suggestions that line up with the ones I mentioned above.
Like the above blog, Tor says to get your most important tasks done first. He uses the “ABCDE” ranking system to do that. “A” tasks are those that need to be done today and if they’re not, there will be severe consequences. “B” tasks are those that need to be done today or there will be mild consequences. For “C” tasks, there isn’t a consequence if they’re not done today. “D” tasks can be delegated to others, and “E” tasks can be eliminated. (I guess my gaming sprees fall into the “E” category.)
Another key point Tor makes is to refuse checking your phone during your first two to three hours of productivity. You want to use your most productive time to “create legendary stuff.” Emails take your focus away from what you really need to do.
When you really think about it, most of your messages don’t need replying to all the time. If you’re available, you’re available. If you’re not, you’re not, and that shouldn’t bother anyone unless it’s an emergency. For the record, your friend wanting to know your secret ingredient in the casserole recipe you sent them last week doesn’t constitute as an emergency.
The one thing that really popped out at me was when Tor mentioned that being more productive requires two things: making more time and getting more done in a shorter time span.
I would love to go on and on about the points Tor makes, but there’s only so much time I can offer to this post. After all, I have a full time job, a book to write, and an apartment to purge for moving in four months.
If you want to know more, you can find Tor at timemanagement.com. I took a brief look and it looks like there’s a free e-course you can try. When I get home to proper wi-fi, I’m going to sign up. No, not right now on my phone. It’s time for lunch and I have to eat with my students.
Did this pique your interest? What’s your number one way to be more productive both at work and at home? I’d say removing distractions is a huge one, but please tell me your thoughts. What works for you?