Productivity Academy Live Q&A February 21st, 2018

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In this episode we talked about:

  • I cannot achieve my task with in a required period, Laziness, addictive use in whatsapp and social medias, forgetting the tasks, procrastination etc are my problems.
  • Many productivity methods recommend starting a day with listing the things you want to achieve today. What do you do if there’s nothing you want and you only need to react to events?
  • What do you do to focus when you just can’t focus?
  • How do you train your brain to focus?
  • What time do you get up for better productivity during the day (providing you are a night person)?

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Hey everybody, it’s Adam with Productivity Academy. We’ve got some really good questions today. We’ve got quite a few, I’m just gonna run down real quick. We’ve got somebody who’s having a problem as an auditor, a kind of addictive use of social media and how they can get past that. Any productivity methods recommended for starting to be better about having your day, when you’re in a situation where you’re actually having to react to things, which is interesting.

Then, what do you do about focus. So some questions on focusing when you just can’t focus and then how do you train yourself to focus, which is a, two great questions. Kind of break down into two questions there.

Then, what time do you get up for better productivity during the day if you’re a night person?

So, before we get into those, just wanted to say real quick, if you’re not watching this live, you can check this out in the Real World Productivity Group. You can find the link, join, click on that, and then just type in the answers. It’s like three short questions. I just want to make sure that you’re serious about being in the group. It takes like literally ten seconds to fill it out. Just want to know what you’re interested in about productivity, time management, that sort of stuff.

Alright, let’s get to it. Also, if you’re watching live, feel free, pop a question in the group and I’ll check back on that as we go. Somebody had asked that they’re having problems achieving their task within the required period. They’re feeling lazy and kind of like addictive use of WhatsApp social media, and then forgetting the task and procrastination are the problem. So, I mean, first off, I would say that, yeah, that’s a really serious problem but the fact that you know that that’s the problem then you’re already part of the way there. There’s a lot of people who maybe don’t realize that about themselves or they don’t see what they’re doing and then that obviously becomes a big problem. So, hopefully you’re catching this as a problem and maybe in your job or whatever it is you’re doing so that you can correct it and obviously you don’t feel good about it. That’s a really strong motivator, so remember that. You want to do better or else you wouldn’t have taken the time to ask me what you think you should be doing. Keep that in your mind.

I’d say, well, if you’re having addictive use of WhatsApp and social media, you gotta lot of options. WhatsApp may be your primary messaging app. If it is and you can’t get rid of it, okay, that’s fine. But start using other applications if you can. And what I mean by that is start using Todoist. It’s a free program. Set reminders in there because the second half of this you said that you’re forgetting tasks, you’re not getting them done. So you’re gonna have problems if you’re on your phone and only using it for fun stuff or procrastination. Start using it for good things as well, for more productive things. You can set reminders. You can set recurring tasks, what to do lists. You can set these alerts that remind you. I don’t expect people to just give up their phones, I think that’s crazy. It’s not gonna happen. It’s a part of our lives now. I think that maybe there’s one in a million people who could actually get away with that. I don’t even want to do that.

I would say, start to use those two things in conjuncture. Lower your social media use. If you have apps you can delete, try doing that. If you don’t need to be on Facebook or whatever, just delete it. You can check it, if you have access to a computer during maybe breaks or at home, do that. There’s also some apps you can use that kind of lock you out of certain functionalities. I can’t recall the name right now so I’m not gonna bother trying to find it while I’m live. But look into that. You can lock yourself out of certain apps for certain periods of time. I think that that could be really good if you’re having a really hard and it’s maybe something that you can’t delete. Like if WhatsApp is your primary messaging app, maybe you could say, okay, I don’t need to use this between certain hours.

Additionally, as always, I would recommend that you do a daily review. If you’re not sitting down in the morning, usually, for 10, 15, 30 minutes and writing down, hey, what’s going on today? What does my schedule look like? What are my top priorities? This doesn’t have to be complicated but I find that that really helps clarify, and then you’re gonna know. I’ve got mine off to the side. I’m gonna know what I need to do today and roughly when I need to do it. I’m not the type that has zero white space. I’ve got some smaller gaps and I’m getting better about it, but it just lets me quickly realize, okay, I need to do these things. Here’s when I need to do them. I don’t forget things because I’ve got it in there and I’ve got it in Todoist. I’ve got reminders set up. Then, going forward from that, you can just build on it. So, that’s how I suggest you really start with it. If you have any questions about moving forward with that, please let me know.

But, basically, a quick summary. Start to lower yourself from media usage, either deleting or blocking yourself from those. Use your phone for productive activities as well and start doing a daily review. Keep in mind why you’re doing this. That’s awesome you brought it up. You obviously want to make a change so just keep that in mind.

The next question is talking about many productive methods recommend that you start your day with kind of listing out the things you want to achieve. What do you do if there’s nothing you want and you only need to react to events? First thing I’ll say is, I don’t think that that’s 100 percent true but I think it’s an important thing whether you’re job is, you know, you’re waiting for input from something to do something else, whatever it is. I can understand that that’s the case ’cause we talk about being proactive and always planning and taking action, but sometimes that’s just not the way it works out.

I will say, however, that your entire day is not reactive. If you’re on the computer, you’re on your phone, you’re able to ask these questions and have this time to do this other stuff, it’s not purely reactive. There’s things you wan to do and there’s things you need to do. One of those things, even if this is purely work or job related that you could do better. So sitting down, again, this is where the daily review comes in. I talk about this a lot, but it doesn’t matter what you do, it applies to anybody. Sitting down and saying, okay, what are my goals today? My goal is to, am I a call service rep? Do I work in a factory? Am I relaying messages? Am I building a billion-dollar business? Whatever it is, what are your goals? Are you gonna do something better today? Are you working on one specific aspect of your job or your business?

Then, what’s expected of me? Is there things I want to do outside of that? Maybe it’s just other goals. I want to exercise for 30 minutes. I want to eat a healthy snack today. You can start small with these things but they make a big difference over time. I understand that a lot of this could be reactive and you could say, again, if it’s a job where you’re kind of forced to do that. Then maybe you have these blocks of times where you’re not able to plan proactively, but you can certainly say, you know, I’m gonna work on doing X or Y or Z better. I’m gonna improve this. And then outside of that time, what are the things you want to do? Good question. I’m gonna grab some water real quick.

This next kind of two-part question is what do you do to focus when you just can’t focus, that’s the first part. Then the second part, I’ll go a little bit into training on that. I think this is a really good question. It’s something that has been, I’ve been focusing on, I guess, for probably the last six months or a year and really think that it’s really important. I’ll just start out with some actionable, kind of like a framework of how you can do this. If you’re in a setting like myself, either a room or an office, if you need to focus on something, then limit yourself to that particular task or whatever it is.

So I’m thinking of like a horse with the blinders on, you know? Put it away. Put the phone out of reach. Lean over, put it out. Do you have two monitors? Get rid of messaging, minimize it, close it. Do you have distractions? Is it loud? Could you put on headphones, maybe with some music? Depends on you. Maybe just acoustic music. Some people like other stuff. Do you have noise canceling headsets? Just trying to think. Get all that other stuff out and then maybe take out a Post-it note or your journal or just a notepad on the computer and write down, take five minutes. What is it that I want to do? You want to focus on something, which is why you’re thinking about it or you’re trying to focus. What is it? Just write it down, one sentence. I need to write a blog post.

Then the next line, what are the three things I want to get done? I want to have a blog post title. I want to have 450 words, and I want to have two images that I created in Photoshop. Now you have three very specific things and you’ve thought about what your actual goal is and you’re blocking out these external issues or interruptions. Now you can go forward and go with that and move forward is what I’m trying to say, very awkward. But that’s the way I do it and it’s pretty simple. You can get into some higher level stuff about the different want you focus and how to think about it. But, in reality, a lot of it is lessening the distractions and then taking the time.

Even something like right now, where I get, I don’t know what the word would be, maybe flustered or I lose track of the word I’m looking for and it can be, it feels awkward to me because I know maybe somebody’s watching me right now. I’m doing a live broadcast but just taking that couple seconds and take a breath. I’m like, okay, the world didn’t blow up, I’m still here and kinda doing the same thing in your real life. We get into that mode of just go, go, go, and that’s good at the right time, but when you need to focus, instead of, I’ll answer that message and my phone’s going off and I’ve got this over here and that over here. Just take the time, push it away and start to focus on what it is you need to do, which is, in the end, make you more productive, you feel better and you get more done and your quality of work is generally a lot higher. I think everyone would agree with that.

Good question. Then the second part of this was how do you train your brain to focus? That’s really good. I, again, can only go with what I do for myself so kind of a framework. I basically just went through that, but I would say that you remove what distracts you and this is a highly personal process because you know what distracts you. Something as small as, for myself, I can’t listen to music that has words but I will put on some focusing type of music. For me, it’s just something without words, whether it’s a nature sounds thing or, what do they have,, focus@will, there’s a lot of things out there that do that.

Then, literally removing distractions. For everybody this is different but it’s up to you, you just have to do it. Do you find having a bunch of tabs on your computer distracting? Close them. Do you find all the little blinky messages on the different messaging apps distracting and hurting your focus? Almost guarantee it. Close them. Is your phone distracting you? Put it on silent and put it out of arm’s reach. Clear things away from you. Then take that time, whether it’s taking a deep breath before you do something, taking 30 seconds and thinking through what it is you’re gonna do or literally writing it out. What am I doing in the next, let’s call it 30 minutes? What are my top three things I’m gonna do? Be very specific. Then just getting in that habit of that repetition, and you can kinda do it on all scales and hopefully you see how that’s happening.

Like I said, you can take a breath, just kinda relax and go and focus on what you’re doing. Maybe take a walk around the block. Maybe you do that for a larger project. You’re gonna sit down and have a two-hour work block and you’ve got that one thing you want to accomplish on it. Take three minutes of that two hours, write down what you’re goal is, write down what the top three things are, make them very specific, and then keep that right next to you. I guarantee you, if you’re like me or anybody else, hey, after a little while your mind’s gonna start drifting. So maybe after 35, 40 minutes, get up, go get a drink of water. Take a quick walk, come back, remind yourself, look at what I had, get back to it. I think you can start to apply that to a lot of areas and a lot of it is just that simple. You just start training yourself. Then you can look into other methods.

Again, that for me works and I think it’s a really simple framework that you can try to apply to a lot of different areas in your life but then take it, grow on it, adjust it as you need.

Let’s see, the last question so far for today, what time do you get up for better productivity during the day providing you are a night person? Alright, bit caveat, I am not a night person, but I think this applies to either. I think this would be the same for somebody who’s trying to be productive in the evening, somebody who is trying to be productive in the morning, is to thine own self be true. If you know when you should be getting up or when your body feels rested, then you need to try to make things work around that.

You’ve got to be honest with yourself, okay? Are you sleeping 13 hours a night? That may not healthy, you may need to go to a doctor or maybe you’re partying just a little bit too hard. Outside of that, you’ve got ways you can adjust. You can try going to bed a little bit earlier if you need to get earlier. Do you feel okay? Do you feel rested? Maybe when you get up, instead of going straight to the coffee, you get up and go for a short walk. Have a glass of water. I’m not guaranteeing these things work at all, but try something else. You kind of change things around and see how it works. Stick with it for a little bit, see what makes you feel better. I think over time you’ll start to see what works for you.

But, in general, if you know you have a time or an amount of time that you rest for and you feel good. Then try to structure things around that. I don’t know about you, I find myself much more productive when I’m fully rested. Although I’m a morning person, I don’t get up at, if I had to get up at 4:00 in the morning, I would not feel great. I normally would not enjoy that. That’s the same for me if I was trying to work at 10:00 at night. I generally don’t do that, and it wouldn’t work very well for me.

Hopefully that’s helpful. Some really good questions today, and I think that is going to wrap it up. So, real quick, if you’re watching the replay and you’re not in the Real World Productivity Group, come join us. You can find the link either above or below the video. Click on it and just fill out the quick questions and come join us if you want to be around people who are interested in productivity, time management, all the awesome productivity apps out there. Then you can ask questions live at this as well.

So, looking forward to seeing you and thank you for watching.

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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