How To Be More productive.
This week the question we all ask: How to be more productive
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Hello and welcome to episode 155 of the Working With Podcast. A podcast to answer all your questions about productivity, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.
Last week, I wrote about how to be more productive on my blog and it elicited a lot of questions related to that question: How can we become more productive.
The reality is, it’s not rocket science. More of than not what causes out difficulties with productivity are the tools we are using. For some it’s that they are not using any tools, for others it’s they are using the wrong tools altogether. This week, I will explain all so you too can begin down the road of improving your overall productivity.
Now before we get to the answer, as I mentioned last week, October is the best time to begin planning the coming year. And, well, 2020 has not turned out exactly as many of us planned.
In order to help as many people as I can to develop an achievable plan to really help you dive deep into your dreams and goals and bring them forward so you can begin making progress on them. I know it is difficult to maintain focus on these goals and dreams, but while it may be difficult it is not impossible, and I devised a course a few years ago that helps you to uncover those goals and dreams and to show you how to build them into your everyday life so you can start making progress on them.
Time And Life Mastery is my premium course and it is packed full of ideas, methods and strategies that will help you to turn dreams into actionable goals. So for the next few days, you can buy this course, which is normally $99.00 for just $74.99. That’s a 25% saving and it’s a course that will not only show you how to build a life you want, it will also inspire you to take action.
I do hope you will join me on the course. I put my heart and soul into this because I know it works. I know because I took delivery of my Range Rover Velar two weeks ago, and that is the start for my wife and me to begin building the lifestyle we want for our long-term future. (Those of you who have taken the course will understand that reference to the Range Rover)
I hope you will join me in this course and turn 2021 into the year you wanted for 2020.
Okay, it’s time for me now to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question.
This week’s question comes from Laura. Laura asks, Hi Carl, I’ve been trying to find ways of getting my work done. I’ve tried all the apps, and read blog posts, books and watched videos, yet I still find I cannot get all my work done. I always feel overwhelmed. Can you tell me how someone can become more productive and better with their time management? Is there some secret?
Hi Laura, thank you for your question and thank you to everyone else who wrote to me about this very topic.
Now, As I wrote in my blog post, to become more productive you need to become very aware of how you spend your time. Now when I. Say become aware of how you are spending your time, I mean from a bigger picture point of view.
Let me explain.
The bigger picture view is where you can see how much time you are spending on doing the work—work that matters, and how much time you spend not doing the work that matters.
Now, of course, this means identifying what “work that matters” means. Work that matters is work you have decided needs doing. It is the tasks and your task list and it is the meetings and obligations you have on your calendar.
You also need to be very aware of how much time you are spending inside your productivity apps. Now let’s get something straight here. While planning and knowing what you need to do is important, I do not deny that time spent planning, processing and reorganising your lists of work is not doing the work. In the COD system that is the “O” - organising. Organising is not doing. Doing is doing.
I remember when I was first introduced to Notion. I had seen the videos on YouTube, I had read their website and I was so excited. Finally, I thought, here was an app that would help my planning better than any app that had come before it.
I hurriedly installed it on my computer and began setting it up.
Six hours later, I was still not quite happy with my set up, so I skipped dinner and carried on. A further two hours later, I was tired. I stopped. I then opened up Todoist to see what work needed doing. I had begun the day with ten tasks. And there, in my today view, were still ten tasks. I had done none of my work. I had spent over eight hours trying to set up Notion how I wanted it and had done nothing important all afternoon.
What a complete waste of time. I gave up with Notion, deleted the app snd swore I would never again make that mistake.
What you need to realise is when an app developer creates an app, one of the metrics used to convince investors to invest in their startup is the amount of time a user spends using the app every day. So, it is in the best interests of the app developer to encourage you to spend time inside the app.
Now, I am not suggesting that is Notion’s intention, I do not know their intentions. But you look at almost any pitch an app startup gives and somewhere in their pitch will be that metric.
Now if your goal is to become more productive, spending more time inside a, so-called, “productivity” app is not being more productive. Being more productive is getting your work done to the highest possible standard in the least amount of time.
So how do you do that?
Well, firstly make sure you are spending enough time each day doing your work. Of course, that is much easier to say than do.
But once you become very aware of how you are spending your time it does become easier. For instance, I use my calendar app to block time out each day to work on my core work. The work that really matters. Blocking time on my calendar takes around thirty-seconds. I do it the night before and I only block time out for the next day. I look for the gaps and if I feel I need an hour or two to do some specific work, I will block that time out.
Let’s say, for example, I want to write a blog post. I know I need ninety minutes for that task. I look at my calendar and see that between 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm my calendar is clear of meetings. So I will block it.
At 1:15 pm the next day I get an alert on my computer to say “writing time in 15 minutes”. So, I will start to finish off whatever I was doing. Take a quick five or ten-minute break and then start writing. I did not need to go to my to-do list manager. I know already my plan was to write the blog post, so my calendar alerted me and I begin.
Now, here’s the thing. It’s great to say “I have to do my work”, but how serious are you about your work if you allow distractions to get in your way? I’ve heard all the excuses. I have to be available for my customers, my boss, my colleagues and on and on that list goes.
Okay, that may be true. So, what’s more important? Doing your important work or being available 24/7 for your boss, customers, colleagues etc? You can’t really do both. You need to make a decision.
Here’s the thing though, you customers, boss and colleagues will never ever be upset or angry with you if you are not available for an hour or so because you are doing the work that matters. Seriously, if you want to become more productive you do need to make those decision…