Being productive is the concern of all active people in society. Whether you are a student, a house husband, an employee or a business owner, you’ll always have things to do and constraints to respect.
Personally, I always seek to improve and do more and better with less resources. I often make the mistake of relating my self worth with how much I accomplished during the day, which can be the main source of my stress and frustration.
Today’s topic is about some simple productivity principles and the apps that I use to respect them.
Time awareness : Tracking & Journaling
It’s very common to hear people say surprised “is it friday already?” or “this year went by so fast”. We easily lose awareness of our time. We can’t recall what happened during the last two weeks. We can’t tell how much changed in our lives since last year.
Losing sight of how we spend our time can result in low self esteem and lack of motivation, which makes it a high way to killing every one of your dreams and ambitions. Additionally, not being aware of how much time we are investing in which activities delude us into over valuing ourselves. (you think you worked so hard, but you spent the whole morning doing email)
To increase time awareness, I recommend doing two things : tracking time and journaling.
Tracking time can easily be done through Toggl Track, it’s very intuitive, you can just write what you’ll be doing next and start recording. By the end of the day you can see how much time was spent on every activity.
For journaling, you can easily take 2 minutes of your time and write in bullet points everything you did during the day. Recalling what you did frequently will help keeping you on track towards your goals and will alert you if you are having any obstacles. I use Notion for journaling.
The combination of these two practices will result in huge positive impact on your day to day life.
Storing thoughts : Capturing & Articulating
A famous quote by David Allan ( the creator of the Getting Things Done methodology ) illustrates this idea perfectly : “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”
At the beginning of my career, I frequently made the mistake of not taking notes during meetings, 5 minutes after the meeting I felt like I remembered every single thing, after a week, I can barely remember what was the subject. The same goes for reading, brainstorming or even just having an idea suddenly while walking on the street.
As for articulating thoughts, sometimes we feel like we have so much to say about a subject, or it seems that if we buy that new expensive thing it will add so much value to our lives. In fact, once we start writing down our thoughts, we can easily uncover how biased or ignorant we might be. As David C. Baker says “Clarity comes in articulation”.
In order to implement these two principles, we can use any SIMPLE note taking app like iAWriter or Google Keep to capture thoughts on the go ( A simple notebook also works btw ). For elaborated articulation of thoughts I highly recommend Notion, it offers an amazing experience for writing and organizing notes.
Timelining : Time blocks & Reminders
When you have so many things to do, the last thing you want is to dive into one specific task and never get out of it until you are exhausted. It happens often when scheduling a meeting with someone, it’s common to agree on the when to meet, but not when to stop the meeting. The same goes for any other task. ( I am also including personal events )
Time blocking is the practice of reserving a limited amount of time to do one task only. It’s better to keep the duration at the size of manageable and sustainable focus time. ( eg. if you can deeply focus for 1 hour max, create 1 hour time blocks or shorter ).
On the other hand, setting reminders is also a great practice to add to time blocking in order improve on punctuality and remember important upcoming events and tasks which can be difficult. ( a 5 minutes break can easily become an hour on TikTok )
Both practices ( Time blocking and Reminders ) can be implemented using a calendar tool like Google Calendar, which can help you even share your availability with your other people. The calendar view also helps you see your schedule from a whole different perspective.
In this article, we discussed important productivity principles and the tools to use in order to follow them. There are certainly a lot of other tools and methods to increase productivity, I just stated what worked for me so far. Any other recommendations of feedbacks are welcome.
I hope this article added value to you, do not hesitate to read more on the blog and share with your friends. Thank you for your time.