Productivity Academy Live Q&A January 24, 2018

 

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 January 24th, 2018 above, or you can review the transcript below.

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Hey, it’s Adam with Productivity Academy. Going to get started today with some great questions. Going to be talking about general question about productivity as well as a couple questions. The first one would be: “How do I click on the button so I write out the questions?” A little bit about how I manage my time and then how can technology improve productivity. First of all, thanks for watching and I appreciate you checking this out today. If you questions and you’re watching this live, in the Real World Productivity Growth Group, you can just ask questions in the comments below. If you’re not in the group and you’re seeing this afterwards, feel free, there should be a link available you can come join us. Just answer the quick questions and you will be in the group. Going back to the questions we had today, somebody was just asking that their single biggest problem is productivity. And I didn’t get a whole lot of information him. He filled out that little questionnaire I have, you can pop in what your question is, what your single biggest problem with productivity and time management is.

So somebody was saying just productivity in general. While that’s not a lot to go off of, I think it’s also an indication of what the problem or what the issue might actually be. And in this case, if you’re just thinking productivity is the problem, then you need to go one or two steps or three steps further than that and say what is actually the problem, right? If I looked at something and said, “I don’t feel or I am not or I’m told I’m not productive” then what’s going on? Is there something that’s not being done? Is it not being done correctly? Or is it not being done in the right amount of time? And then looking at well, what is the problem that’s causing that? Am I unmotivated? Do I not understand what it is I’m supposed to being? The goal’s not clear. And do I maybe have a problem with do I not like what I’m doing or some addition reason? Start asking yourself these questions and really answer them. Find out what it is that’s going. I think if literally maybe you writing that down, if not just thinking about it will help you.

And as you go through that, I think that that’s something that’ll put you on the right path towards becoming more productive. And this is not going to solve your productivity problems. But if you aren’t sure and it’s unclear, then if you just say, “I’m not productive” then that’s actually not the problem and that’s not going to get you to the solution of being productive. Hopefully that’s helpful. The next question is, “How do you manage your time?” Again, I can only speak to me but how I manage my time is changing but it’s fairly simple in terms of setup. Like I said, I change because I do what works for me. It’s not always going to work the way it works for me now but there’s some overarching ideas, right, that generally work. And it starts with my daily planning. Okay, if I’m getting up and I go for a walk and I sit down, do a little bit of reading, go over things. And then at about the same time every day. For me, it’s 7:00 AM. I sit down and I go through the planner and go through and write out my day, either in the planner, sometimes I’ll use my online planning tools like Focuster or Todoist and go through and get that set up and go with it.

And that really helps me to lay out the day and identify what’s going on because that’s super important in terms of being, not only productive and efficient, but reliable. You’re not missing meetings, you’re not forgetting about things. And then I can gather in all of these things I have. Right now, my desk is covered in sticky notes because I just got out of a meeting where I was taking a bunch of notes on a bunch of different topics and what I’ll end up doing is at the end of the day as well, is doing that same kind of review. And then putting that information where it needs to go. Maybe it’s the to-do list, maybe it’s EverNote for storage, for later, things like that. And then as part of that planning, it’s blocking out the day, okay? Saying, “Hey, what is it I’m going?” And using a calendar or a journal or whatever works for you and being very upfront with yourself about how much time is this going to take? And you … no one’s perfect with that, but at least estimating. And then you get better over time as you do that.

That’s how I manage my time and how I’ve gotten better at it and how I’ll continue to do in the future is to block that out and to be fairly critical about my time. If I don’t take my time seriously, then nobody else out there is, right? So if I’m just easily distracted and I’m constantly losing focus and I’m answering random messages and things like that, then why would other people respect my time? That’s something else that’s really important to keep in mind. Alright. For the last question for today, “How can technology improve productivity?” Okay, this is a pretty big question. I think there’s a lot of answers to this but I’d like to talk about one in particular because I think for most of us we’re not talking about robotics in the car production facility, we’re thinking about, ‘How could I use something? Can I use my phone or my laptop or my computer? How can these things help me be more productive?’

And I think that the overarching theme here is to remember that these are tools that can help you become more productive, okay? Getting an app on my phone doesn’t make me more productive. Alright, getting a new program on my laptop or getting a new computer doesn’t make me more productive. Okay, my slightly increased speed, maybe you’ve got a really old computer and you get something new and it speeds things up but that’s what it does. It incrementally helps you but then you need to put in to place the systems and the processes that help you use that tool to then be more productive, okay? For example, if you don’t have a to-do, digital to-do list or something where you can keep things, like Google Keep, Todoist, Focuster, somewhere where you get all the stuff in there, maybe EverNote. Then I would highly suggest you go and grab it right now. Grab your phone, this one time, just go do it. Download it. Start it. But, that doesn’t make you more productive. You now need to set up a method of using that or a schedule or both.

For example, maybe you use Todoist. If you download that and you’re using is, that’s great. Set a reminder to do something with it, okay? Maybe that’s just where you punch in your random notes for the day. But then what do you do with those? Set reminder once a day, once a week, whatever it is to go in there and clear it out. Maybe from there, you set action items that the top 10% items get put in the things to do and then the rest of them get put in an archive folder that once a month you clear out. Because if it wasn’t in the 10%, maybe it’s not worth doing. That’s just an example. But in my mind, that’s how technology can help you be more productive. It certainly can. It can multiply your effectiveness but you just need to remember that it’s the tool that will help you get there but you have to take the action, set up methods, set up the process and for … going back to a good book, you have to work the system to made that happen.

Hopefully that’s helpful. I think … I will say that I love having access to tools and it’s really fun to test them. If you want to try new tools, I would say … I encourage you to try new tools, just remember to set a time limit or to set a reminder to make yourself use it. A lot of times we’ll check out all these new things, you get that shiny object syndrome and it can be difficult to spend time doing what you’re supposed to be doing or even to remember to use the new tool. Sometimes I like to schedule 30 minutes, an hour and go play with a new tool, see if … what are its features? What can it do for me? Could it make me more productive? Or could it manage my time better? Or help me do any of this? And then I can make a decision off of that. Alright, I think that’ll do it for this week. There’s no more questions coming in. I hope that you enjoyed it. And again, if you are not in the Real World Productivity Group, then please come join us. The link is available. And if you are, you can always put your questions in ahead of time. We will see you next week.

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