Productivity Academy Live Q&A July 12th, 2017

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Hey everybody, it’s Adam with Productivity Academy. Today is the 12th of July. I’m kind of bummed that it’s not 7/11, but anyway guys. Thanks for watching. Before we get started just want to say, if you haven’t yet, you can always ask your questions at Productivity.Academy/Questions. Anything to do with productivity, time management, productivity apps, anythings fair game along those lines. If you’re watching this on YouTube you can subscribe just by clicking the button below, and you get automatic updates, and all sorts of neat stuff like that.

All right, let’s get started. We’ve got a bunch of cool questions today. Let’s get diving into them. The first one here is, “How much of your time spent at work is productive?” Okay, so obviously this ones highly subjective, and it’s changing. I think that more importantly for myself at least, is that my time at work, using some air quotes here. My time at, “Work,” is meant to be very productive because I want to minimize the time that I consider work, and when I’m doing that I want to be hyper focused as much as possible, and then do what I need to do. Then either move on, or do something else.

I just use this term like when I’m saying work I mean doing something like a task that has to be done. Maybe it’s drafting an email that I don’t consider especially fun, but it needs to be done, and it needs to be done well. I focus in on that. Or I work to create a process that makes that faster. I mean there’s a limit, right? For myself, and I know almost everyone’s like this. I know people who can just hyper focus for hours and hours on end, and if you haven’t yet check out the book, “Deep Work,” by Cal Newport. But for most people, it’s just not possible. You’re not 100% effective or efficient all the time, and you can’t maintain 100% focus all the time. It’s just not going to work. Whether it’s a car going down the street outside that pulls your attention away, or your phone rings, anything like that.

I think it’s just kind of an ongoing process where you’re constantly optimizing and just saying, “What can I do to make this time more effective for myself?” Then, it’s obviously a little different when you’re in a position where you’re saying, “Okay, I need to be somewhere for a specific amount of time.” Whether it’s at the office, at a job site, talking with a client, okay? You can make that work, but generally you just want to get the most out of that time. That could be you’re at a job, and you do the most you can, and you’re very effective, and you leave time at the end of the day maybe for cleaning up any loose ends, or dealing with things that pop up like they always do so that you’re not staying late, or taking work home with you, or working on the weekends as much as possible, right?

There’s ways to actually avoid that stuff. I thought a really interesting part of the Deep Work book by Cal Newport was him talking about being a PhD student, who are notoriously known for working long hours. And how he worked a basically nine to five, and then continues to do that as a fairly prolific publishing professor. Anyways, some really interesting ideas behind that. Some of it goes back to work will expand to fill the time allotted to it. Then you can just kind of see your productivity go down if you’re like, “Well I got three hours and all I have to do is one thing.” Part of it’s figuring out how you can make the most use of your time. If you’re in control of your own time, and where you’re at, then obviously you have a lot more options with that. But then just kind of optimizing the times where you put your head down, and you get things done.

All right, so this next question obviously made me smile. But, “How could AI make you more productive at work? What would you like to see?” There is so much. I think about this, and so I’ll just say like what I see coming now, because we’ve started … You’ve seen a lot of, depending on where you’re at, how old you are, but in the past decade you’ve seen a huge revolution in mobile devices, things getting much more powerful, and day to day we don’t see it. I can remember the iPhone launching. Not that there weren’t phones before that, but that certainly launched a big path toward smartphones, and tablet type of devices, and how some of this has made it really easy to maintain productivity on the go.

I think some of that is really interesting. Then now getting into the fusion of language, understanding and optical recognition. Some of that starts to come together, I think there’s going to be some really neat productivity oriented stuff. Which is super vague, but that’s just an idea I have that I think that the junction of those areas is going to be really neat, along with some really powerful processing. Something personally that’s not AI, but that I really want. I’ll have to look into this, if anybody knows about this let me know. I really want virtual reality, so the Vive, or the Rift, one of those. I play games, I love to play games on those. But I want a massive whiteboard space, so like put it on, and then I’ve just got like whiteboards everywhere as far as the eye can see. I think that’d be really cool for brainstorming, working with teams. I think that you have a lot of possibility.

Obviously not just whiteboards, I mean that’s kind of taking the 2D or 3D world into virtual reality. But that idea of where you have an infinite number of services and not saying, “Okay, I’m restricted to this whiteboard space, I can do whatever I want.” Personally, that’s what I think is going to be awesome in the near term.

All right, so now I’ve got the Ai out of the way. That one just put a smile on my face when I saw that today. “How does one maintain a work/life balance?” That’s a really good one, and I think it ties back to the very first question, which was, “How much of your time spent at work is productive?” I think as you work towards being more productive at work, and you’re able to put more boundaries. I mean that can be as simple as putting your … Using your journal, or your to-do list, or time blocking whatever it is you’re doing. And from that, building some walls or just setting some points and saying, “Hey, look. This is the time I’ve allotted myself. Then after that it’s family time, or I’m making dinner.” You can do things like … This is actually again from the Deep Work by Cal Newport where you kind of have a daily shutdown ritual, right? Which is I think exactly what he calls it.

You go through and you say … You’ve got to obviously fit this to yourself. Maybe you go through your calendar for the next day, just a quick review, doesn’t take long. “Hey, am I missing anything in there? Are there notes that I haven’t put in there?” Check it out, you just do a quick, “Okay, yep. That’s what’s going on tomorrow, maybe for the rest of the week.” Look around, do you use Post-It-Notes? Incorporate those into your main areas. If you use a notebook, if you use EverNote To-Do List, Focuser, whatever it is.

You gather all that stuff in there, you’re basically just kind of closing loops and either setting things for the next day, so that they’re ready to go. Then making your brain kind of aware of what’s going on the next day so you’re not starting to think about that stuff at home. Then over time you say … Once you’re done with that, “Hey, I’m done. I’m moving onto the next thing.” Going home, cooking dinner, playing with family, whatever. Over time just working on when those thoughts crop up in your head like, “Oh, what about that one pro … Nope, stop it. I shut down for the day, I’m done. I made sure that I’ve taken care of everything, and I know everything that’s coming up. It’s okay.”

Then you know, if maybe it’s a new idea, then you have your go-to whether it’s like a journal, or a quick to-do list. If you have an idea, pop it in there. Boom, you can deal with it tomorrow. I think that’s one of the more important steps towards maintaining that balance. Then you can get into the loftier kind of bigger ideas behind that of like what is it that you really want? Why do you want the work/life balance? Take one step back. “Well I want to spend more time on my sail boat learning how to sell.” Okay, why do I want to do that? Start answering those questions, and I think that really helps you understand what it is you want to do, and why instead of just saying, “Well it’s good for me, I should do it.” Okay, well that’s probably not going to motivate you to do a lot.

Oh, speaking of motivation, here’s a good question. “How can I have more energy in the mornings?” This is a good one. I think there’s a ton of really cool ways to go about this. Again like a lot of things, it comes down to trying things out. I mean I’ll lead off with that and say you’ve got to try several different things. A lot of it can be setting a routine, is a big one. Then trying a few things. If you’re really heavy on caffeine, you can try cutting back. If you haven’t ever tried exercising in the morning, I highly recommend that. I’m not meaning like go for an hour long run or anything crazy like that, but get up and take a walk around the block. Be active for, try five or 10 minutes at first. Maybe bump that up, 15, 20, 30 minutes and do that early in the morning. Then get your day started, and see how you feel.

Take a look at what you’re eating. Again, that kind of ties into the caffeine thing. I personally drink a couple cups of coffee in the day. So far I don’t think it’s a big problem with me, but I’ve thought, “Okay, maybe I could cut back a little so I’m not dependent on that, nor do I have a crash.” What are you eating for breakfast? Are you eating a breakfast at all? Then beyond that, are you eating foods that are going to help you, or are you maybe eating things that have a lot of sugar where you may feel a down turn in the morning?

I think that’s a good way to get started, and I really do believe in getting the exercise, or just getting up and around instead of if you are sluggish in the morning, that’s kind of self fulfilling, then you’ll be sluggish. Do something other than that, and give it a shot, and see how it makes you feel. Again, for different people works differently.

Cool, all right so that is all of the questions for this week. If you’ve got any questions for me about productivity, time management, productivity apps, you can always ask them here, you can ask them on the Facebook page. You can go to Productivity.Academy/Questions and put them down there any time during the week, and I review those before the show, before we go live so I can go through those. Hope everybody has a good week, and I’ll see you next Wednesday.

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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