When you’re in concentration mode, you need a way to quickly record and store any passing thoughts that are important but unrelated to your current project.
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If you require an organized desktop to function at your best, take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean up any clutter and prepare your workspace for the following day.
By forming this habit, you’ll set yourself up for reliably productive mornings.
If you have a pending task that requires no more than two minutes of your time, don’t waste time writing it on a to-do list. Just get it done.
A to-do list is always a work in progress. Every time you add a new item to the list, reevaluate your overall priorities.
Assess each pending task by the deadline, importance, and how long you expect it to take. Set visual reminders of your priorities by color-coding your calendar or writing your daily to-do list in order of importance.
There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing an item off your to-do list early in the day.
Start each day by accomplishing an easy but necessary task, like finishing a reading assignment or returning a phone call.
Resist the pressure to multi-task, which will leave you feeling scattered and with your powers of concentration spread thin.
Single-tasking – applying all your brainpower to a specific task for a short burst – is more effective. Close all the tabs on your browser, ignore your inbox and get to work.
Consistent time tracking keeps you honest about your own productivity and reveals opportunities for improvement.
If you discover that you’re spending too much time on projects that don’t matter to you, or too little time on those that do, you can make deliberate adjustments.
Compile everything you’ll need to complete your task before you start working.
Every time you stop working to retrieve some missing items, you lose focus. A few minutes of prep save you countless hours of distraction.
On the other hand, the best time to knock off an unpleasant task is first thing in the morning.
In the words of 18th-century French writer Nicolas Chamfort, "Swallow a toad in the morning if you want to encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day." The best “toad” is anything you’ve been avoiding, from filling out a lengthy application form to sending that stressful email.
This productivity technique combines single-tasking with a built-in reward system.
Set an alarm for 25 minutes and work on a specific task without stopping. When the timer rings, reward yourself with a 5-minute break, then restart the cycle. After repeating the cycle a few times, give yourself a satisfying 30-minute break.
When you approach big, complicated tasks without breaking them into bite-sized pieces, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed.
Spend 15-minute writing down every single individual task that needs to be completed for the project to be finished, no matter how small. You’ll be able to approach each of these small, achievable tasks with increased focus.
Either [our goals are] about doing more of something good, or they’re about doing less of something bad.
Goals framed in a positive, constructive way are more powerful than “avoidance goals” in leading us to become more productive.
If someone treats themselves to a dress after a week of saving, this undermines the achievement they have made.
Try to view the act of you achieving your goals as the treat.
Time commitment to get started: Low
Type: Visual, Tactile
Perfect for people who: Have a tendency to start a lot of projects but finish very few of them.
What it does: Helps you visualize progress on all of your projects.
Using whatever medium you prefer (sticky notes or a whiteboard work well), split your projects into three categories: To Do, Doing, and Done. That’s it.
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