These have served me well over the years in relation to work, study, personal projects, fitness and aspects of life that you wouldn’t even think about. They’re simple, they work and you’ve heard a lot of them before, but a reminder won’t hurt.
1 On Meetings: No more than 5 people, strictly no more than 30 minutes, always have actionable items by the end.
Meetings are about attention and communication. Less people means attention won’t be spread thin. Less time means people will have to prioritize what’s actually important and worth saying. Actionable items are the sole thing that stops meetings from becoming lunch room chats.
2 To Do lists are great. If you have a set deadline for each item, as otherwise, it just becomes a never ending list.
3 Turn off all social media alerts and have designated times to check them instead of getting conned by that bit of dopamine when you see the notification icon.
4 Don’t build on top of broken systems. Whether this is a gym routine or a technology application. If it’s broken, either try to fix it or start from scratch. Building on top of it will only make you think you’re being productive but in reality, it’s the most inefficient thing you can do.
5 Tackling the hardest thing first will make the rest of your day, work, study or workout progressively easier to handle. It’s also one of my go to strategies for dealing with procrastination.
6 Sacrificing sleep hours are not hours gained towards your goals. If you need 8 hours and you do 6, you’re not being productive. You may have added 2 hours to your day, but you’ve taken off much more in quality time spent working, as well as compromising your mental and physical health. Sleep as much as you need.
7 Avoid Busy Work™ – Have you ever been working for 3 hours then suddenly realize you’ve actually done no work. What you ended up doing was jumping from little thing to little thing while ignoring what actually matters. Have an actionable list. Going rogue doesn’t give us the structure to be productive.
8 When sending out an e-mail, treat it as an IF/THEN statement. So this means pro-actively answering questions and keeping things concise so an e-mail chain doesn’t become 13 emails long. Example — Usually people write something along the lines of what’s highlighted in bold below. Whereas writing the whole paragraph closes many more loops and hopefully avoids a huge e-mail back-and-forth.
Is the Business Intelligence Platform in a state where we can release it to all employees? If not, what’s the expected time-frame for completion? Assuming it’s less than 3 weeks, you’ve got the OK from me to release it as soon as it’s done. If it will take longer, please let me know how long, as well as how many dashboards you expect to complete within the original time frame of 3 weeks.
9 Turning something into a habit or routine will conserve a fantastic amount of mental and physical energy. The key is repetition and discipline. If you do something enough times in a certain way, you’ll be running on autopilot. You’re getting the benefit but it barely feels like you’re doing anything. Creating long lasting and quality habits is a whole other topic we’ll save for another article.
Going slightly off topic — Here are some that I’ve found extremely beneficial to my mental sanity, as well as giving me the foundation for a productive week. Again, because these are habits now, they come effortlessly.
- Working out for at least 45 minutes every second day — Stops me from being physically exhausted/unhealthy.
- Journaling my thoughts and feelings for the day, everyday — Great mental dump for us heavy thinkers and a fantastic way to get your thoughts in order.
- Reading up on 3 new topics out of my bubble of interest/expertise every week — Wildly effective in broadening your knowledge and potentially your outlook on certain issues in your work/life.
- Calling my parents a couple of times every week and visiting every second week (probably the most important) — You don’t need a reason to do this one :)
Note: Habits and routines are extremely powerful, so if you’re in a bad one, focus on breaking from it. Try to replace it with a productive one.
If you enjoyed this article or found it useful, I’d really appreciate that lovely digital clap that seems to be the writers equivalent of crack cocaine on here.
Here’s a recent article that I think you’ll like — It’s 4 Practical Strategies for Dealing With Procrastination.
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