deepstash

Beta

© Brainstash, Inc

AboutCuratorsJobsPress Kit
profile-photo

Xander A.

@xan_a211

212

Following

421

Followers

454

Ideas read

158

Stashed ideas

23

Published articles

LAST PUBLISHED

The Key To Productivity Is Rest

Getting caught daily in the endless cycles of productive work, we move towards extending and optimizing our productivity, not once thinking of stopping and taking a break.

The most overlooked key to productivity is to pause and rest, something that feels counterintuitive.

@xan_a211

How to design the most restful possible day off

blog.rescuetime.com

Productivity warriors are so past ‘rest mode’ that even watching a complete movie in a relaxed manner is a challenging experience. We need to intentionally and thoughtfully design a restful off day, something that is increasingly difficult.

It is especially hard when we have our work desks right in the bedroom, or even on the bed. We need mental and physical demarcation to help separate our work from our life.

We need to do a mental check up on how we feel mentally, emotionally and physically, taking stock of our current and upcoming workload. A few pointers:

  1. Keep the media and news consumption on the lower side.
  2. Turn on blue-light filtering and minimize notifications on your digital device(s), enabling the airplane mode with wifi on if needed.
  3. Ward off any sleep debt by sleeping as long as you like, doing absolutely nothing even after waking up.
  4. Eat and drink whatever you like, indulging yourself. You earned this day by working hard 24/7.
  5. Do not worry about tomorrow.

You can design a super-restful off day according to what makes us enjoy our life. It can be a healthy activity or doing something that does not require you to use your brain. Self-care is also a good idea, with a hot aromatic bath or pedicure making you feel better and relaxed.

You may also do your normal routines like preparing a cup of coffee, simply because it is relaxing to you. It feels restful and nourishing to freely let the day unfold, without any pressure or expectation. An off day is supposed to help you just be, not just doing something as always.

An evening stroll in the park or at the mall can be relaxing, as can be just staying in bed. The trick is to not let the normal work-related activities interfere with your restful off day. Do not measure this beautiful day with what you have accomplished, as that is missing the point entirely.

The purpose of this day is to help you feel better physically and mentally.

  • Task management. This one is most commonly taught and includes systems like Getting Things Done.
  • Knowledge management. This is embodied in systems like productivity educator Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain.
  • Priority management. Without this category, the first two will fail. You need to have your tasks and resources organized, but also know how to prioritize them.

How to Prioritize Work Tasks: The Ultimate Guide to Priority Management

taylorpearson.me

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

Prioritize your list of possible goals using and expected value (EV) calculation. Expected Value = Resources Required x Return on Investment x Probability of Success

Take the list of everything you could potentially work on over the next 90 days and then rank them by these criteria.

  • Resources required: This is your time and cash required.
  • Probability of success: How likely it is to work and how excited you are about it.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Your 1 Year and 5 Year ROI. Some projects have quick payback periods, and others have long term ones. Try and keep a balance by having one long and one short term ROI.
The ABCDE Method

This method consists of ranking your tasks into five categories.

  • A – Very important, must be done at all costs.
  • B – Pretty important, but the consequences aren’t as serious if it’s not completed.
  • C – It would be nice to have done, but with no consequences for not doing it.
  • D – Delegate this to someone else as it's not worth your time.
  • E – Eliminate. Not worth doing, delete it. 

The priority matrix allows you to look through your to-do list and categorize based on their urgency and importance.

  • Quadrant 1 - Urgent and important. This is anything due soon or overdue. See what can be automated or delegated.
  • Quadrant 2 - Not urgent and important. This contains tasks that are beneficial to your career or business in the long run.
  • Quadrant 3 - Urgent, not important. 
  • Quadrant 4 - Not urgent, not important. Everything else goes here.

Categorize your tasks by how much value they generate for you or your company. Tasks can be assigned as either $10/hour, $100/hour, $1,000/hour or $10,000/hour.

We might think of the value of the tasks as linear, where some tasks are more important than others. But the difference in value can be huge. For example, one new product could dramatically grow the business while the minor website update might make a negligent difference.

Some examples of things that often waste time:

  • Checking business stats (traffic, sales) every day if there is nothing actionable to be done with them.
  • Going back and forth in an email thread more than once in a day
  • Meetings before noon or without a clear agenda
  • Errands that can be outsourced
  • Social Media and Email on Phone
  • Responding to Emails more than twice a day
  • Micromanaging people instead of managing by KPIs and results
  • Maker Time: Maker work requires long amounts of uninterrupted time, like coding, designing or writing.  The peak energy part of your day is most suited for this.
  • Manager Work: This work needs to be done, but does not drive things forward, like meetings, email, or filling out tax forms. It is best to "chunk" this time too and do it after your Maker work.
  • Admin Work: This is work you can do when you feel otherwise brain dead, like organizing your office or data entry.

Update all the tasks on your list and prioritize them. Then put them on your calendar based around your energy levels. Ask "Given my current energy level, what's the most valuable task I can do now?

  • First put your rest in your schedule, because it is the easiest to neglect.
  • Then add your exercise times. It's so easy to skimp on if not scheduled in.
  • Next, add the high priority work (Maker work or $1,000 - $10,000/hour work.)
  • Then add your learning.
  • Finally, add the manager and admin or $10 - $100 work.
Schedule Your Day

At the start of each day, look over your calendar and task list for that day, and quickly write down three things you are grateful for your priorities of the day.

Writing on paper makes it less likely to keep adding as the day progresses. Crossing the tasks off as you complete them feels very satisfying.

Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

Time management refers to how you schedule and organize your time for different activities.

Time Management Tips That Will Make You a Productivity Master

briantracy.com

Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.

We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.

“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.

  • Develop a sense of urgency: the habit of moving fast when an opportunity presents itself to you.
  • Stop procrastinating: develop the time management habit of moving quickly when something needs to be done.
  • Work in real-time: do your work as soon as it comes up.
  • Think on paper: Always write down what you intend to do.
  • Avoid distractions: They make getting off track entirely too easy.
  • Make your list of written tasks the night before: The better plan you have, the easier it is for you to get started.
  • Make a to-do list for every day: One of the best time management tools you can develop.
  • Make your to-do lists a habit: When something new comes up, add it to the list.
  • Check off your completed tasks: This activity gives you a sense of accomplishment and generates the motivation to keep going.
  • Answer all of your emails at the same time
  • Keep your emails short and sweet
  • Create email folders
  • Check your email twice a day.
  • Not allowing enough time to complete your task: Add sufficient cushion time to complete every step of the project. 
  • Assuming that everything will work out all right: Assume that you are going to have problems and schedule sufficient time and resources to solve those problems.
  • Rushing at the end: You almost invariably will make mistakes and do poor quality work that you'll have to go back and correct later. 
  • Trying to do several things at once: You end up doing nothing well. 
  • "A” items are most important: the things that you must do.
  • "B” items only have minor consequences: tasks that you should do, but they only have mild consequences.
  • “C” tasks have no consequences: they have no effect at all on your work life.
  • “D” for delegate: the things that you can delegate to someone else.
  • “E” for eliminate: the things you should eliminate altogether.

For you to develop sufficient desire to develop time management and organizational skills, you must be intensely motivated by the benefits you feel you will enjoy. 

You must want the results badly enough to overcome the natural inertia that keeps you doing things the same old way.

William James
“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

The worst workplace distractions aren't your phone, email, or social media

blog.rescuetime.com

The 2 kinds of distractions
  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us, like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal): The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to make or thinking about a future meeting.
Daniel Goleman
“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”
Main sources of internal distraction
  • Remote work or a lack of social interaction.
  • Multitasking.
  • Unpredictable work environments.

Emotional distractions are a symptom of our workplace culture

Lacking social interaction

Workplace isolation sends us to Twitter and Facebook. Or to check in on email and chat every 5-10 minutes to see if there’s a new message.

Solution: Creating a daily routine with time to connect with the people you work with and not just resorting to impersonal communication.

Multitasking

Living in a space of constant half-attention causes our brain to lose focus.

Solution: Adopt a work schedule designed around single-tasking. for that, learn to prioritize. Because distraction might actually be just confusion about what matters.

Unpredictable work environments

Our work environment rarely lends itself to focus. So get more comfortable with distractions.

Our brains are brilliant at noticing anything that doesn’t match a pattern. We’re drawn to novelty, which makes a distraction—like a loud coworker or hearing a one-sided conversation—in an otherwise monotonous workday very hard to ignore.

The Badge Of Busy

Our perpetual busyness only encourages and grows our culture's obsession with work and being a workaholic.

We pride ourselves with how busy our schedules are working or going out with friends, but we rarely ever do make time for ourselves.

Here's Why We Need to Reframe How We Think About Time Off

thriveglobal.com

With having a strong work ethic, one must also have a rest ethic that is just as strong. To be able to function in our best, we must find the time to give ourselves proper rest. Think of it as breathing; if you keep inhaling, there will come a point where you'll reach your limits and need to exhale.

Burnouts are incredibly common nowadays and so it is even more reason to give yourself a well-deserved break.

In our current society which has never ending workloads, having control over your own time is better than having someone else control it.

Resting is never a bad thing to do. Most especially if being able to rest gives us peace of mind, a sense of clarity, and stability.

As Max Frenzel once said about rest: it is an“investment into productivity, and into creativity.”

  • The habit of putting off starting, because it’s uncomfortable.
  • Maybe you get started, but then constantly switch to other tasks.
  • You put off starting (or finishing) because conditions aren’t perfect, or the work isn’t perfect.
  • Rely too much on other people and not taking responsibility.
  • You get pulled away by constant distractions and interruptions. 
  • Fear, uncertainty, feeling overwhelmed & self-doubt and tiredness.

The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done : zen habits

zenhabits.net

If you focus on getting the small stuff done but not the big stuff, or switch between tasks all the time, you’ll be less effective.

Pick one important thing to focus on at a time and learn to evaluate what tasks and projects are of higher value to you.

It's best done by focusing on the smallest first step and practicing just launching into that.

Pick the tiniest first step, and launch into it.

Pick a short interval (10 minutes, 15, 20, or 25) and practice focusing on one task during that session, until the timer goes off. 

Then take a break, and try another focus session.

It's a great skill for keeping yourself focused and Getting Stuff Done. Choose a to-do program, put your tasks in the to-do list and every day just pick a few to focus on.

And at the beginning and the end of each day step back and taking a look at the overall picture, to adjust your plan and refocus.

Don't worry about perfectionism, just get the task done. Then go back and revise. 

But don’t overthink it, just focus on doing.

It means not blaming others for your difficulties in getting things done. 

Recognizing the obstacles but taking responsibility for finding a way, or accepting what needs to be accepted, or recognizing your part in the dynamic you’ve created.

Communicate clearly and honestly, so that everyone is clear on responsibilities and boundaries and consequences of not honoring those responsibilities and boundaries.

Having a minimal structure is good. You can adjust over time:

How will you start your day so that you’ll work on the important stuff? How will you do your focus sessions so you won’t be too distracted? How will you review your day so that you’ll learn from what happened? How will you create accountability?

Cal Newport on better managing time
  • To-Do lists are useless. Schedule everything.
  • Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  • Make a plan for the entire week
  • Do very few things, but be awesome at them.
  • Less shallow work, focus on the deep stuff.

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done

bakadesuyo.com

Doing too many things at once

The desire to do too many things at once is not new. It takes on an extra form at new year - the desire to also add a total life makeover, sorting out your work backlog, fixing relationship issues, your health, and your home repairs all at once.

The urge should be resisted. The one ingredient for a happier and more meaningful new year is the opposite: to improve your ability to do only one thing at a time.

Want to improve focus and productivity? Do one thing at a time

theguardian.com

Doing various things at once is usually a way to quieten anxiety. When you're drowning in to-dos, it's calming to feel that you're getting to lots of them at the same time. It's also reassuring to think that you're handling all the issues, not just one.

But the feeling is misleading. Research shows that you waste time and energy "task-switching". Worse, each activity becomes a way of avoiding the next. It means that you make less progress in many areas, and you make less progress overall.

The biggest part of learning to do one thing at a time is trying to control that discomfort that comes from knowing what you're not getting done.

Success comes from building one thing at a time. There are limits. You can't put your job on hold while writing, or stop parenting while you work on your fitness. But you can strive to move your life in the direction of having only a handful of projects at any one time.

  • Use a personal kanban: Divide a whiteboard into three columns - ready to do, doing, and done. Write your tasks on sticky notes, and stick them under one of the three columns. Allow one or two tasks in the "doing" column.
  • Batch your tasks: You'll get through more in one unbroken hour spent on one task than breaking up the task in smaller chunks throughout the day.
  • Cultivate deliberate imbalance: Instead of a life makeover, pick one area to focus on each month or quarter, and postpone the rest.
Build & Track Habits

Use an app to get you into the routine of doing certain activities daily and weekly.

At first, it might feel silly to write day-to-day tasks down in an app, but the process of ticking them off and tracking your progress helps to get you into a routine.

The Fight for Focus: 4 Practical Steps

medium.com

15-minute Mind Exercises

If you find your mind frequently jumping around, an app can be life-changing to help you focus.

It can train you to notice when your mind is wandering, and help you to get back on track.

The modern working environment is making our ability to focus on a huge issue: Open-plan offices, social media, etc.

When you need to do deep work, remove the distractions and work on a single task. The task will get done quicker and to a higher quality.

How much time you should spend on deep work will depend on your job.

E-mail can destroy your focus.

  • Turn off e-mail notifications on your work computer, so that you are in control of when to look at e-mails.
  • Schedule a time in the morning to reply to e-mails from the previous day.
  • E-mails that require a speedy reply are highlighted and get attended to on the same day.
  • Ditch social media during the day.

Read up about the daily routines of other CEOs, sports stars, etc.

You might not find an exact routine to suit you, but you might find some amazing ideas to use for your own life.

The Anxiety We Feel While Waiting For Something

Mindfulness and meditation are effective strategies to still and center our thoughts and emotions but they do not seem to help much during a wait.

We feel anxious during the wait because that time is imposed on us, with us being unable to control anything. Waiting is also used by people to remind others about their power. That is why the ‘needy’ person in a relationship or even at the interview venue is kept waiting.

How to wait well | Psyche Guides

psyche.co

Fuming over waiting is only scratching the surface, and is short-sightedness towards a symptom. We need to dig deeper and look for the cause, asking oneself the reason for the wait.

We can then begin to ask ourselves who the beneficiary of the waiting game is. We can sometimes benefit ourselves from waiting, as it builds our patience, and also helps others(as in case of a traffic light).

We hate waiting as it breaks the day’s flow, putting us in limbo. This wait mode is what gets to us, as it pulls us to the present moment, which we are trying to avoid most of the time by remaining distracted in the world. This time can be used to unlock the default mode of our brain, using daydreaming and our imagination network.

We need to embrace this forced present tense of our lives, that holds us in front of ourselves. This precious time is full of infinite possibilities to make the future even better.

Waiting can be a method to build radical empathy with other people.

Time is generally viewed as an individual and scarce resource. It is actually intertwined with the time of others, and our self-made boundaries make us selfish and uprooted from the universe, in conflict with everyone around us. When we understand this phenomenon of the intertwining of time (called temporal awareness) we end up managing our own time, as we do most of the time, and diminishing the time of other people, tearing our social fabric.

Waiting for a Disneyland park ride seems vastly different from waiting for justice in the court of law, and every wait has a different colour and hue. Certain injustices that are harming us have to be dealt with by taking appropriate action, instead of enjoying the wait time, which may be a ploy of the other to keep the injustice on.

SAVED

Loading...

deepstash

helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

Download from Google PlayDownload from the App Store

Over 2M Installs

4.75 App Score