Productivity Academy Live Q&A – Episode 102

Join us live each week at and get your questions answered by submitting them at any time right here:

You can watch the video for the last episode recorded on November 21, 2019, above, or you can review the transcript below.

In this episode we talked about:

  • How I’m using notion to kind of curate and organize the things that I want to learn?
  • How do I stay focused at work when there are so many notifications popping up on my phone, my laptop, everything else?

To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit:

Hello everybody and welcome to Episode 100 ahem two of the productivity Academy weekly Q and A’s today, there’s actually sound. So doing a little bit of a redo since last week had some user errors, it turns out and there wasn’t any sound.

So today we’re going to be covering a little bit of the stuff that talked about last week, but nobody was able to hear and that is how I’m using notion to kind of curate and organize the things that I want to learn and we’ll go more into that about you know, getting recommendations from people, the books, I’ve seen videos I need to watch later.

Personal stuff, professional development, all of that and kind of incorporating some different ideas there from people like Tiago forte, and Catherine Jones, so excited to share that again, and also going to answer a question about staying focused and dealing with technology.

So before we dive into that real quick, if you’re watching the live from either the Facebook page or the group, that’s great, you can ask a question. And if I catch it in time, we’ll definitely answer it or we can cover it next time. And if you’re not watching live, if you’re catching the replay on YouTube, that’s also great.

You can stay up to date by clicking on the subscribe button below. Also, if you’re watching on YouTube, you can look into the description if you expand it. And there are timestamps. So if you want to get to a specific section, you can go in and do that also a link to come join us in the productivity group.

And Facebook, it’s free, you do have to answer some tough questions about productivity now. Just kidding. But there are a couple questions, make sure you want to be in a group about productivity, time management, automation, all that sort of good stuff. So let’s get into it.

So a little bit of background on what I call my learning list started out as a list I kept in to do list and this was just basically a book list of books I wanted to go through and then I realized, Oh, well, you know, from time to time, there’s other stuff. Somebody recommends a YouTube video or documentary that I want to watch, but I don’t have time to do it right now.

So I would Write it in there. And then I thought, you know, this would be good if I remembered who it came from, because it may be months before I get to this or it’s applicable. So I started writing in, you know, I would write it to do list and put it had a little project for it.

And then I would just put like a dash and whoever’s name recommended it, or maybe one of the major source was, and that works pretty well. But as I’m starting to transition a lot of things into, into notion, I realized, you know, there’s other things that are important to me. And this kind of has to do with the focus finder to if you’ve never seen that before.

I use that to organize projects and, you know, a long terms of like, what’s the short term ROI, long term ROI, and my personal excitement, and then spit out a number based on that so I can quickly kind of organized projects one when you know you’re unsure of what to be working on, this is kind of the same idea. But what I do is rank it a little bit differently.

And I’m going to share my screen here in a minute and show that and then there’s two concepts that go into this and one is making it simple. Do As little as possible up front along the idea, long lines of Tiago Forte’s idea of progressive summarization.

Which you can do a quick search for that and find out more about that if you want but the general idea just being, hey, don’t invest all this time up front into, you know, spending 30 minutes on writing down why this recommendations important and categorizing and doing all that you want to get it there as quickly as possible.

But then later on, maybe if you come back to it, then you need to add to it right like your notes, if it’s a book, maybe just a quick blurb on, you know, quick summary, if it’s a video, something like that, so that then if you ever come back again and need to reference it, you can very quickly remember Okay, this is the gist. This was really important parts.

And then over time, you’re just adding to it. He has some great ideas on how to do this, and different ways, but that’s the basic idea. And then I really liked this idea of keeping track of this stuff, long term. Catherine Jones of CF design school and automate Academy, remember talking to her in February, and we were talking about About this with books.

And what you’ll actually do with physical books is right on the inside cover a one sentence or very short summary of like, what was the main thing she took away from that book, I really liked that I just realized, you know, I don’t do most of my reading or learning in a book.

And so it’s like, I still read a ton of physical books, but there’s videos, you know, there’s articles I collect, there’s Kindle books, stuff like that. So I needed something a little bit more digital oriented. So let’s switch over to that, and go through that. So it’s here in notion, and just going to stick with this and go through it. And we’ve got over here name, column.

Oh, and this is just a table, a full table, that you can make it occupy an entire page if you want to. And that’s what I’ve done here with learning last nice little hat. And then the name, you know, whatever it is, whatever. If it’s a book, of course, I’ll do that. I’ll include the link. I include who it’s referred by, and then this believable believability of refer itself.

Thing I took away from reading principles by Ray Dalio, which probably one of my favorite books this year, just saying, you know, on this topic, how believable do I find this person? Because you want to be of course, paying attention to people who are highly believable, I don’t want to be listening, or finding out about how to make YouTube videos from someone who’s never made a YouTube video before, for example.

And so ranking it a little bit this way. Generally, I would think that most believability is going to be high, but this just gets you to focus on Oh, that’s right. I’m glad I got this recommendation. But how, how much do I believe that this person is an expert on that subject?

All right. And then over here, we have notes just I do this myself just as a very quick, rough and ready so I could either sort it or just look and say okay, write a topic habit. Clearly, that’s productivity. You know, if I can’t tell immediately from the title, and then I rank it from one to 10, one being low 10 being high on what’s my enthusiasm.

I find that that’s really important to me because it doesn’t unless it’s very brief or a very short book, if I’m not excited about it, I’m probably not going to finish it. And I think that that’s important to have. And that could change over time. So this is definitely the most variable column.

But it may be if I want to look for a video to watch, I’ve got some time, I would sort it by this so that I picked something I know I’m definitely interested in. And then of course, we have over here is it completed so I can keep track of things that are done. And then any files, maybe it’s a PDF, or if I need to upload some notes or anything like that, I can do that there.

Over time, I’m sure I’m going to add to this. I’d like to have kind of a centralized repository to have maybe any notes or video summaries, things like that I do. The really cool part with this with notions that you can filter and sort so for example, I’ve got it sorted by believability, then descending order, meaning that the most believable gets moved to the top.

And then my enthusiasm, same thing, so that’s why you’re seeing really high believability and enthusiasm up here. Then as we scroll down You can see it dropping down a little bit. And of course, you can only have it sorted completely by one. That’s why you’re seeing this a little out of order. Because the last thing I did was the believability.

Anyways, there’s a lot in here I need to still categorize. I just started moving it over and then adding to it. And it’s definitely a work in progress. But wanted to share that I think that this is a really handy way. Another one of those ways to to keep track of important things. But just spend a little bit of time so that you can have it organized and ready to go.

And you can go back and very quickly dive into that. So hope that helps. I think that that’s a really neat use of notion, not complex by any means that takes you know, just to get started that would take you literally two or three minutes. And I find that that’s really helped me out a lot.

So if you ever have any questions about how I set that up, or how I use it, please let me know. And grab some water before we talk about this. Next question. Let’s see last one for today was you know How do I stay focused at work when there are so many notifications popping up on my phone, my laptop, everything else. I think this goes back.

I’ve talked about this several times. But a great way to do this is to start trimming down the notifications. A lot of systems nowadays are, you know, people have recognized that this is an issue, you can’t work if you’re constantly getting these notifications, so close your programs.

You know, again, whether they’re your, whatever you’re doing for work, or, you know, there may be things you have to allow, you have to answer the phone, if the boss is calling whatever you got to do, that’s fine. But maybe even within that framework, you could start to say, Hey, I’m going to try to have, you know, really focused work hours from nine to 11.

You know, and ask people, if, again, if you have a boss you work for, you know, you explain the benefits that hey, if I do this, I can, you know, get ahead on projects and you know, be more productive things like that. with clients, you can set expectations that, hey, I don’t answer the phone in the morning, you know, that’s what I’m providing value for you.

I’m working and I’ll get back to you The afternoon. You know, there’s a lot of ways to do that. But back to the immediate thing with your computers with your smartphones, you know, take your smartphone and put it out of hands reach and put it face down, I found that that’s the easiest way it’s kind of out of sight out of mind.

You know, if you leave it face up, even though it’s maybe over, you know, in the corner over there, you’ll still see it out of the corner of your eye. And you’ll probably end up picking it up. I know I do. So a lot of times when I’m serious about getting some work done, I put it in a different room, sometimes entirely or just out of my hands reach.

And with the computer, there’s a ton of things you can use, you can use things like rescue time, to keep you from visiting certain websites. You can use something like newsfeed Eradicator, for Facebook, to believe a Chrome extension. And that way you know nowadays Facebook is used a lot for messaging for communication.

Some people use it for work, but this takes out the feed so that when you go there, you don’t automatically start seeing a ton of stuff. So that’s pretty handy. And then going in and just tweaking the way you use things again, you know, if you don’t need all those notifications, turn them off.

Your phone may have silent mode engaged that if you can do the same for your browsers for you can alter the way your desktop settings and there’s tons of tools for this. So highly suggest using that and doing what you can and then adding to that maybe you know listening to music a lot of people I like myself like music with with no lyrics or no no language, no words.

And having that on, you know, wearing a headset if you can to just help you again, focus and kind of clear out maybe any audio issues. So hopefully that helps. It’s one of those where you kind of take the first step and you’ll start realizing how much you can do and kind of keep taking steps like that. And also I would just say make it easy.

Don’t try to like do everything at once. Take one step or make it very simple like if you’re okay with making like a macro on your computer or you find a program that can like block many areas at once. Do that, you know, it’s really that it’s good.

It’s like any habit you want to start and you know, do something that you know, you can follow through it instead of saying, All right, every time I’m working, I’m going to put my phone in the other room. I’m going to turn off all the sounds when you do this, like don’t give yourself 10 steps to do try to make it easy.

So that you see the benefits and you can follow through with that. So, again, hope that helps. If you have any questions about that, just leave a comment. I think that’s going to do it for this week. Hopefully the sound actually comes through and everyone can hear. But that is it and looking forward to seeing everyone next week for episode.

Oh, I take that back. It’ll be two weeks next week would be Thanksgiving. I am going to have fun. We are going camping for Thanksgiving. So this is my first camping trip over Thanksgiving. Looking forward to that. And then I’ll be back the following week. So everyone Hope you have a great Thanksgiving wherever you’re located. Good holidays, or at least just a good week or two.

About the author

Adam Moody

I'm Adam Moody with the Productivity Academy. Get your productivity, time management, automation, and organization questions answered here. Be sure to check out the Productivity Academy YouTube Channel.

Looking for some great resources to help increase your productivity starting today? Click here for the Productivity Academy Resources.

By Adam Moody

Subscribe on YouTube

Recent Posts