Overwhelm. It’s the new normal for everyone from stay at home moms to the CEO of a multi-million dollar business. Now with smartphones, instant access all the time, it seems like we’re under avalanches of overwhelm. But does it really have to be that way? Here are a few ways to boost your productivity:
Online Calendar – Everything is now online, our personal lives, our business lives and our social lives. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to remember everything there is “to do”!
For personal use, we love the Google calendar. It’s color coded and you can have parent’s and kid’s schedules with reminders so you don’t forget anything.
For business owners, it’s imperative to keep organized, particularly if you have anyone in the business who is working virtually. Our entire team is virtual so an online “office space” where we can share files, brainstorm, keep a group calendar and more is vital. We use Basecamp and Backpack from 37 signals and they work great.
Record What You Get Done – Every evening, record the things you accomplished and write the top 3-5 things you need to accomplish tomorrow. This helps you realize what you did get done. It also helps you plan to stay focused on what you need to get done the next day. There’s now a free online version of these “lists of accomplishments” you can sign up for at IDoneThis.com Each evening, you’ll receive an email asking “What did you get done?” By answering the question, you can list out everything you did and see a visual representation of it, satisfying anyone’s need to feel productive.
A Timer – We couldn’t live without timers in our personal and business life. A timer may seem like a horribly controlling and overly-structured way to live, at first glance. If you look at it a certain way, though, it ends up giving you what we call “controlled freedom”. Because you get so many things done, you actually waste less time and end up more productive. And end up with more free time!
Ever heard of the Parkinson’s Law? According to Wikipedia, it says “The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.” So if you give yourself 3 hours to complete a task or 30 minutes to complete a task, you will complete the task within whatever amount of time allotted. A lot of us know we have deadlines or goals, but because we don’t have a specific, drop-dead “end time” for them, the time to get them done continues to expand… and the task takes a lot longer to do than you needed. But, if you give yourself a deadline, a limited amount of time, it’s more likely the task will be done and still be done well.
We began using a kitchen timer about a decade ago and found it so effective, that there are now digital timers for almost every room in our homes. We time tasks as well as breaks and it’s made a huge difference in our productivity. It seems counter intuitive, but it works!