Productivity Academy Live Q&A February 14th, 2018

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In this episode we talked about:

  • I’m learning I would probably more efficient if I actually schedule a time for tasks at work and at home. I really fizzle out when trying to make a schedule for house work. I’m usually so tired from work I don’t plan at home. I’m tired at home because I don’t slow down enough at work for planning time. A vicious circle.
  • Having too many things I want to do and not always spending my time doing the things that are the most important.
  • Which is the most efficient SEO strategy?
  • How should I choose between TickTick and Wunderlist?

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Hey, welcome everybody. It is the 14th. Happy Valentine’s Day if that’s your thing. Welcome to the live Q&A with myself, Adam, at Productivity Academy. So hopefully we’ve got a few watching live in the real world productivity growth group. If you’re watching the replay, and you want to come join us, ask live questions, ask questions ahead of time, be around other people who are trying to increase productivity, get processes and move toward those goals they’re setting, come join us in the group. You can find the link easily. So click on that, answer the couple questions, quick barrier to entry. I want to make sure you’re serious about being here, but the group’s free to join. Okay? So hopefully we will see you there.

We got a lot of good questions today. Going to pop this open on the side, so I can explain a little bit. We’re going to be talking about how to actually schedule both work and home and how to deal with some situations where maybe you’re having a hard time at the end of the day. Then another question about having too many things that you want to do, and how you can turn that into moving forward and doing the things that you really do want to do that help you in your life.

We got a question that on the surface is about SEO, or search engine optimization, but I’ll explain about that. Then choosing between a couple different task apps, specifically TickTick and Wunderlist. All right. So let’s get right into it. Then if any other live questions come up, we’ll answer those as well. Hopefully you’re ready. Let’s get into this. I’m going to take a quick sip of water, and then we’ll start.

Okay. So that first question is really good. So someone asked me, they said that they’re learning that they would probably be more efficient if they actually could schedule a time for tasks at work and at home. They fizzle out when they’re trying to make a schedule for housework, and then so tired when they come home from work, that they don’t plan at home. So they’re tired at home, because they don’t slow down enough at work for planning, and then the cycle just continues.

Okay. So I can certainly understand this. I know I’ve been there before, literally, in a previous job as an engineer. I’d have a tough day at work, or I’d just go, go, go all day. A lot of times, you do have to respond to things. You can’t always work on the important tasks that you want to do. Sometimes you have to respond to other people. Then you get home and, man, just wiped out. Hey, I had plans. I was going to clean the bathroom or vacuum, so I don’t have to do it, because I’m going out of town this weekend, and things just fall apart. So a lot of times, I dealt with that.

Over time, I learned for myself, and I think this is the same thing that’s being described in the question, and I really do see this with a lot of people, we put a lot of faith into what we’re going to do later. That generally doesn’t work out. I don’t know very many people who get more motivated and have more energy and have more willpower as the day goes on. So when I set these things out for myself, I generally don’t plan on doing these really, not critical tasks, but I don’t put these things on my own task list that are going to make me either feel guilty or that are probably not going to get done, and maybe impact something else. The last thing I want to do is to have things on my list that I thought I would get done and that I felt were as important enough to put them on the list, and then just totally blow them off because I’m tired or grumpy or whatever.

Okay. So that’s the first part is just looking at it that way and saying, “If something’s truly important to you, then it should be done first.” Okay? Maybe that means getting up early. You know? Some people say, “Oh, I’m not a morning person.” Okay. Then can you go into work 30 minutes later and maybe leave 30 minutes later if you can work that out, or if you work from home, you just adjust your schedule, specifically so that you can either do the tasks that you know need to get done or whatever it is, right? It could be vacuuming. It could be exercising. It could be creating that 30 minutes to plan out your day.

That’s what I will now segue into as a second part of this. You’re asking about you’re fizzling out when trying to make a schedule for housework, or you don’t plan at home. I would say do that, try scheduling up front, and schedule your whole day right then. Go ahead do your work stuff, and then you can also include your evening activities. Okay? Again, you have to make this work for you. There is a little bit of customization here. I would just say if you can do it at home, do it at home. Okay? If you can’t schedule your work stuff at home, then go ahead, go to work, maybe you can either come in early or come a little late or try to block people out. There’s polite ways to do that. “Hey, I’m planning. I’m going to be more efficient, more productive if I spend 15 to 30 minutes on this.” Then go ahead and do that. You can tack on your home stuff on there, because how long is it going to take you to plan your evening on top of your daily stuff? Maybe five minutes, maybe 10. So I would go ahead and try doing that.

The next step is setting a reminder so that you actually do this. Okay? This is getting an app on your phone. It’s maybe putting a sticky note on your computer at home or at work, and getting in the habit of doing this every single day, and then reviewing. Okay. So maybe I might have the sticky note, and it might say do daily planning. Take two minutes and review the last day. Did you get stuff done? Did you leave a lot of stuff on your task list? How do you feel? Do you feel like, you’re like, “Man, okay, I just blew off that stuff at home. I was tired.” Start writing that down, what worked, and what didn’t.

Then start recognizing it. Okay? You want to push yourself to do better, but also recognize that there’s just certain limits. At the end of the day, you’re going to be out of willpower, you’re tired. You got to make dinner. You got to do all this other stuff. So maybe that’s not a good time for you to have a lot of these tasks. So then it’s up to you. What do you want to do? Again, like I said, do you want to get up early? Do you want to find some other to do it? Do you have a family member that can help you? Could you hire someone to do it? Could you just say, “You know what, maybe this doesn’t need to get done, or it’s not the appropriate time. You could reschedule. So start doing that. Don’t take too much out, take too big of a bit is the phrase I’m looking for. Just do one thing at a time. In that first couple days you’re doing this or that first week, just write down what worked, what didn’t, and what could I do to make that work. I think that will really help you out.

So just to summarize, I would say that you’ve got to set that schedule for doing your daily planning. That’s why I really say try to do it at the same time every single day. Okay? Then get in the habit of doing it, and even do it on the weekends. Okay? I’m not going to lie. No, I don’t get up early and do my daily planning, but it’s one of the first things I do when I get up. I have some coffee or whatever on the weekends, go for a run, whatever, come back. Then I sit down and just real quick jot out what I want to do, maybe I got some chores to do. I want to do these other things, just kind of go through it. That also just helps reinforcing that habit. So even if you don’t maybe take it quite as seriously or in granular detail, you’re still doing it. Okay?

So do that, and then set yourself a reminder. Use a Post-it note. Use to do lists whatever you want to use. Then get in the habit of doing that. I guarantee you that that is really going to help you. Like I said, if you can, add on a little quick review, maybe two minutes, really that’s all it takes, what worked, what didn’t. Then you adjust that into your schedule moving forward. So whoever asked this, if you have anymore questions about that, please let me know. I go over it in the guidebook. The link is there above. You can check that out. I think it’s one of the most foundational things you can do to really improve your life in terms of productivity and also goal setting and happiness. I know, like you, I hate that feeling of, man, I’m just exhausted, and now on top of that, I feel guilty because I didn’t do the things I told myself I was going to do. That’s a horrible place to be. It can be, like you said, a vicious circle. So get out of that circle, step outside of it, and start putting a plan in place so that you can get out of that, and then become even better. Hopefully that’s helpful.

Let’s see. The second question for today, somebody was asking, they have too many things that they want to do, and they’re not always spending their time doing the things that are most important. Okay. So this is that hierarchy of you’ve got fires burning and people freaking out, yelling at you to go do all this stuff, and then over here, you’ve got the truly important tasks. It’s deciding which one of those you need to focus on at the time. So I won’t go into really a deep analysis of this. I would just say if you’re not doing the daily review, start doing that. Sit down every morning, write out your plans, prioritize your tasks, batch them together. I’ve gone into that in a lot of videos.

I won’t spend too much time on that now, but do that, and, like I said, prioritize and batch. So you’ve got all your tasks together, which ones are truly important, right? Are they the main drivers of your goals or of your work project or whatever it is. Then you’ll be able to see, okay, you know what, I’ve got 10 tasks. I think the top three or four is going to take me about five or six hours. Realistically, that’s probably what I’m going to get done. So I’m definitely going to start with the most important. Then those other ones either get rescheduled, you automate them, you delete them, or you delegate them. You do something with them. All right?

That kind of leads into the next one. You could have maybe an overflow list, right? I’ve got one. It’s not something I get to very often, because I generally work on a lot of projects and keep busy, but I have a file of, hey, you know what, if I run out of things to do or I’m looking for ideas, go in here. You know, it says you have too many things you want to do, put it in there. You don’t have to delete them. You don’t have to say I’m never going to do these, but go put them in there. Maybe every month or two, you go in there and check them out. Hey, are these good ideas still? If they are, keep them, or move them onto your list, or say, well, okay, that wasn’t maybe that important, I’ll just go ahead and delete that and get that off the plate. I think that could be a great way to get started.

for me, that’s a really important way of finding out what is truly important. Okay, there’s the quick way just in the daily review, and then in the long term of having these ideas, holding onto them, but then when I go back and look at that list, asking myself was that truly important, am I actually going to do anything about that. I think that will be really helpful for you. If you have more questions about specifics on prioritizing or batching, I think that that’s important, too.

The only thing I’ll add onto this is that if you’re not doing some sort of a goal setting, that that can help you clarify this a lot, too. This doesn’t have to be super lofty ambitions, but what are your goals in terms of these things you say that you want to do? Is it I want to be more fit? Do I want to grow my business by X amount this year? Okay. What type of things are they? You list out these goals, and then are the things that I want to do or trying to do, are they fitting or pushing those goals forward or moving towards those goals? If they’re not, then it becomes much easier, right, to simplify and just say I don’t need to be doing this or I need to find a way to do it much more quickly to get it off my plate so I can get back to working on that truly important stuff. Cool. Good question.

All right. We’ve got an interesting one, I think, for people, but I found this very interesting. One of my businesses deals with SEO and digital marketing training. So somebody was asking what is the most efficient SEO strategy. What I will say is I’m not going to go into what the actual strategy is, because I think that on top of all of the individual little strategies you can employ just like any business or methods used, you need to have a process behind it. I see this a lot of times with some of our members and our subscribers. People are really unfocused. Okay? You’ve got to have some focus on what you’re doing and then a process behind it.

Let’s say you’re working for clients just as one example. Maybe you offer them social media services to get more traffic and leads to their site and you also do onsite SEO on their website in order to get it ranked higher more easily. So you do those two main services. If you don’t have a really detailed list and process or checklist of what you do to get those things done, then that’s your first step. Okay?

I mean, literally, you should have a granular detail. If you’re clicking buttons, if you’re doing this, because you can start to outsource some of that and off load some of that. Maybe you have an assistant or you can automate some of it. The idea there, too, is it’s going to make you more efficient, and then you can be not only maybe taking on more clients, making more money, right, growing, but you’re providing a better service to your clients, because if you’re not doing this, then odds are sooner or later you’re going to miss steps. You might screw something up. Then that’s going to cost you time. It’s going to cost you money, and it’s going to make your clients not as happy even if they don’t recognize it. Maybe the results just won’t be as good. So highly encourage you to develop processes behind this just like any business, take it seriously, and go through it. That’s going to make your life so much easier. Instead of just saying, “Well, I just know I need to do these things,” but then when you look at it, you realize maybe you’re missing some steps or things like that. All right.

So last question for today. I’m going to grab some water real quick before we get into this. Then if there’s anymore live questions, we’ll do that, too. All right. How should I choose between TickTick and Wunderlist is the question. So I would say that if you’re using one or the other, then you’ve already got a good idea of what you want. If you’re not, then I would say go ahead and install both. Okay, so if you got one or the other, that’s great, then go ahead and install the other one. If you don’t have either of them, install and use both of them. You could set some time aside is what I would really do. I would set 30 minutes or an hour for a test. You perform some daily tasks on one for a day, and then you use the next one for a day. Okay?

Just set up a time and a reminder to whatever you do, Post-it note again. If you’re not already using that to do app, then you can’t set a reminder for it, but set a reminder for yourself, and say, “Hey, how did you like it? Did it work for you? Was there anything missing?” This stuff will become really apparent, right? This doesn’t have to be super in depth. It’s just you used it. Did it make sense? Was it intuitive? Did you spend 30 minutes figuring out one app, because you literally couldn’t figure out how to make a recurring to do task item? That would be a obvious flag and maybe some other things. So that’s, to me, very important. How useful is it? How hard is it to find out how to do the things I want? Can I hop on and do a quick search on Google and figure out how to use this thing in two minutes? Great. Or if I don’t even have to do that, even better.

So I think that that’s the way to do it. Because choosing between them, you can’t always tell from where they list out the, what’s the word I’m looking for here, totally blanking, anyways where they list out what the apps have or what they’re capable of, capabilities list, that would be one. So do that, look at that, that’s fine, but then use both of the apps. That’s really the only way you’re going to do it. Spend some time, see what you think, and then maybe see if there’s some reviews, and just go from there. So summarize, grab them, test them, and go from there. The one thing I would say on that though is just make sure you choose. Don’t just linger in both or not use. Just make a decision and go. Then if a week later you find out you made the wrong choice, who cares. Go back, grab the other one, and I think you’ll be all right.

All right. I think that is going to do it for today. Thank you for checking this out. If you’re not in the real world productivity group, come join us. The link is in the description, just answer those questions, and come join us, get access to the live recordings of these. You can ask questions ahead of time, all sorts of good stuff. So that is it for this week. I’ll see everybody next week.

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.

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