Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at anytime right here: www.productivity.academy/questions. You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on August 30th, 2018 above, or you can review the transcript below.
In this episode we talked about:
- How can I get organized, it’s a problem and affecting my productivity
- I sometimes find it really difficult to focus at work. What are any tips to help?
- Time is money. How do I effectively manage my time?
To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources
Hey everybody, welcome to Episode 50 of the Productivity Academy live Q&A. Today is the 30th of August, 2018. Before we get into it, I wanted to go over something really quick. Today marks the opening the Free Best Self Journal Contest.
If you’re not familiar with the Best Self Journal, this is the journal I currently use. After using tons of different journals, actually creating my own journal, and then having this recommended to me probably 12 or 18 months ago by one of my business partners. Since then, I’ve been using this. I find it to be really handy.
This is a sealed one. If you’ve watched any of these videos, you’ve probably seen me talking, or using the journal. This comes with one journal. It comes with … I believe it’s a yearly planner. Sorry, it’s the 90-day planner and just kind of a neat box on top of it.
But anyways, going to be giving away one of these, so all you have to do is visit the link in the description, enter to win, and that is that. Although it is a limited time, so if you’re watching this down the road, you only have until September 6th, 2018. But if this goes well, we may see about doing this more often.
I really want to share these books with people. I’m not a multi-billionaire, so I can’t just buy everyone one of these. I find them effective, and they’re price effective, I think. They are about 35 bucks a piece, so I’ll give them away as I can.
They also are nice enough, they provide a free PDF on their website. If you want to go check it out or even print it out, they allow you to do that, so pretty neat, and excited about that. Once the contest ends on September 6th, I’ll announce the next winner on the next Real World Q&A. So let’s get into it.
Today we’re going to be talking about a few different topics. One of the new joining members, Matthew, joined the Facebook group, which if you haven’t joined yet, you can always do that by looking below in the description and joining. You’ve just got to answer a few questions. Make sure you do it, we’re serious about it.
We want people who can take the 30 seconds or a minute to answer the few questions about why they want to join. Make sure you want to be around people and a group that talks about productivity, processes, and automation, stuff like that. So do that though, and it’s free to join. Then you can watch these live, ask questions, a lot of other good stuff.
So Matthew was asking about organizational methods. We’ll go into that a little bit. We also have a question, “I sometimes find it really difficult to focus at work. What are any tips to help?” That’s a good one. Then I like this one, “Time is money.” Yes, it is. “How do I effectively manage my time?” All right, so that’s the questions we’re going to talk about today.
Then if you’re watching live, you can, of course, type in your question, and I’ll check back on the page as we go through. Let’s get started. Okay, so Matthew was asking about organizational methods, and this being his big hangup and being a problem that’s holding him back and in terms of productivity.
So unfortunately without a little bit more details to go on, it’s a tough one to tackle in terms of is it organization in terms of physical organization? Is it organizing your information? I’m going to attack this from the point of view of not knowing specifically what you’re talking about.
From that point of view, I think it’s really important to identify what it is that you may or may not have issues with organizing. Do you know what’s causing you the problems? Is it literally making this up, I don’t know if this is his case, is the house a mess? Is your office a mess? Do you have paper and stuff everywhere?
Or is it just that feeling of you don’t ever know where anything’s at? Maybe you’re at work or you’re trying to do a project, and you always feel like you’re at a loss to find the tools you need or that, “Where was that one Google doc? I don’t remember the folder.”
I think identifying this takes some time, and write down literally what it is. Then start to get more specific, because once you really understand the problem it becomes much easier to solve, instead of … I know myself, and this has happened, you just have that feeling of, “I feel unorganized, or I feel like I should be more this or more that.”
It’s not that that’s wrong, just you need to really identify what’s causing that, and then you can go on and fix it. I think that that would be the first step, and then, by all means, Matthew, come back and ask the question of, “Okay, I’ve identified that my folders online, I have no organization system, and I don’t know … I’m not sure what the best way is to do so that I can stop wasting time trying to look stuff up while I’m working on something.”
That would be an example of, “Okay, we’ve got a real problem, it’s concrete, it’s specific, and we can go in and come up with a solution for that.” Okay, good question.
Okay, so the next question was, “I sometimes find it really difficult to focus at work. What are any tips to help?” Okay, I think this is good no matter if you’re at work, if you are the boss, if you’re working at home, it doesn’t matter. I think the idea has more to do with times when you need to concentrate. I think that there’s a few items here that you can always do.
One of these is, and I know a lot of people have issues with this at work, where depending on your job, or if you have a boss or somebody, you can’t necessarily tell them, “No,” from distracting or interrupting you, but you can work on minimizing those.
Even if it’s your boss, even if it’s your job to maybe answer phones, whatever it is, you can start to explain, “Hey, I’ve got these other tasks that I need to do. I need to be able to concentrate. Is there a time that maybe I could be left alone or I could be expected not to interact or do things?”
Being proactive about this one shows that you’re thinking about it and that you have a real request instead of waiting until you’re irritated, or you blow up, or you can’t focus very well. Most people respond really positively to that.
Okay, the second thing is to go ahead, and again, do this as you are allowed to or as you can, but wear headphones, listen to some music. Generally, music without words is a lot better. It allows you to focus.
If you can, get some noise canceling headphones. These work great if you’re working in public, if you’re at an office, wherever it is, do something like that to really lower the distractions.
Then physically around you, take the time to remove things. If you’ve got your phone, right, we’ve all got it nearby. I just had to reach for mine. I put it out of reach so I really have to want to do it.
Don’t keep it in your pocket, don’t keep it right next to you. Toss it across the room, put it in a drawer, or at the very least, flip it upside down so you don’t constantly see the light blinking, or the new notifications coming in.
Then just to circle back to that part about talking to people about asking for times where you could be not interrupted, is that a lot of times we expect people to understand that, “Of course I’m working hard, I should … you can see this.” But remember that we do the same thing. We interrupt people because we need some information, or we’re not … we’re so deep in our project we’re not thinking about them.
So just remember that you do need to be upfront and let people know, “Hey, I’m really trying to focus from 9:00 to 10:00. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt me.” Things like that. Cool, so good question, and I think there’s always some good tips there that you can put to work at home in your own business, and then if you’re at work.
Okay, next question is, “Time is money. How do I effectively manage my time?” I’m laughing just because I really like it. This is really important, and I actually had a really good talk with my assistant about this when we were talking about time off, and how important it is, and in terms of that play between money and time.
She said, “You know, it’s funny, I tell people this all the time that try to angle yourself to have more time available, not asking for, ‘Can I get a raise, or …'” not that you shouldn’t, but that it’s almost the same thing. For her and for other people, time is more important.
I think that that’s really important to keep in mind, and obviously the person asking this question understands that. So by all means, I agree. I’ve got to pay the bills, but surely behind that is having the ability to manage my own time effectively and to be in control of it.
So how can you do that? I think the very first part at a base level if you’ve never done this, or if it’s been a long time since you’ve done this, is to use time tracking. You could do this in the Best Self Journal. You could also just list out on a piece of paper and just list like every half hour or hour. Trying doing this for like two days. It’s really tough.
The very first time you do it, you’re probably not going to be very accurate, and I would try to do it from roughly when you get up until the end of your day. Do that for two to three days. If you’re a real powerhouse, give it a week so that you kind of smooth the bumps, and you have that look at many days.
And just be honest with yourself. No one else has to see this, nobody else has to know how much time you’re spending on Facebook, or watching Netflix, or whatever it is. Just be honest with yourself, and then start to look back on that, whether it’s at the end of it, or give yourself a few days afterwards.
Then schedule some time to go back and say, “Okay, what am I actually doing? How much productive time am I spending? Am I jumping around from project to project? Am I wasting time on things like social media?”
Then go from there. Say, “Okay, well what can I do with this information? I found out that I’m working on projects, but in a really disjointed times. Well, then I need to try to combine that so that I can stay focused and get a lot more done.”
For example, two hours of working on a project is incredibly… going to be incredibly more productive than three hours that’s split out over a longer period of time. So you can start to do that. Maybe with social media, you realize: “Man, I check my phone like 15 times a day. You know what? I’ll just give myself 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes in the afternoon.”
Personally, I do something like that. I don’t subscribe to the, “Oh, I’m never going to check social media.” That isn’t going to happen, but what I want to keep away from is constantly being drawn back into it. I let myself … like I think most normal people, I want to check up, see what’s happening with friends and family, but do what works for you, and just understand that sometimes going cold turkey on stuff can be hard, so doing one thing at a time is my advice with that as well.
Trying to think if there’s any other really important time management techniques. I think that that’s probably the biggest one, start by tracking your time, take a look at what you’re doing, and then reflecting on it. A lot of things, a lot of us track things, or we look at these areas, but spending that time just 15, 30 minutes reflecting, and actively looking at what you’ve done I think will really point out where you can make some improvements.
Then it turns into a question of, “Okay, I’ve identified that I waste time or I’m ineffective doing X, Y, or Z. How do I fix that?” And you can move forward from that much easier.
I think this is a neat activity that you should do regularly, and it provides a lot of big values. I actually need to schedule a time to do this. I’m thinking quarterly to once every six months is a good time to track your time very detailed, and to see exactly what you’re doing. Then you can make improvements, make adjustments, and move forward as needed.
All right, let me check real quick. I don’t see any additional questions, so I just wanted to let anyone who joined late know, of course, enter the contest. The link is in the show notes there. This is going to be running for about a week, and you can win a free Best Self Journal. I will ship it to you personally, so get signed up, and looking forward to shipping that out and sharing the Best Self Journal.
It’s been a real game-changer for myself after working on my own journals, trying a lot of other people’s, and then finally sticking with the Best Self Journal for about a year or 18 months now. If something better comes along, I will certainly use it, but for now, this has been great.
It includes a lot of what I talk about, the daily review, time tracking, and just a lot of this stuff. So get signed up, win yourself a Best Self Journal, and I’ll catch you next week on the live Q&A.