Productivity Academy Live Q&A July 19th, 2017


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Hey, everybody. This is Adam with the Productivity Academy. I’ve got my big, blue headphones on today, and I shaved. If you don’t recognize me and you’ve been watching these for a little bit, this is what it looks like underneath the beard. Anyways. If you’re new, please take a look at the link. Sorry. Anytime during the week, if you’ve got questions about productivity, process, time management, productivity apps, you can just go there. Pop in your question. And then, that’s what I use to answer questions during this live hangout. And then, I’ll also answer any questions I see when I’m live. And that’s via Facebook. You might be watching this on YouTube or somewhere else. But you can catch it live every week. If you go to and sign up, you’ll get notifications about upcoming webinars along with some other good stuff. All right? If you’re watching this on YouTube, just hit subscribe, too, and you can get notified of when these get uploaded, as well as other things I put on there, like productivity app reviews, new methods, strategies, things like that. All right?

Let’s get into it today. I’ve got a few questions, and these are good. I’m going to click over here. This first one. It says, “Every successful person says to be productive, but how do we actually become productive and also be focused and determined?” That’s pretty good. I think is an interesting question for a number of reasons. It focuses on a couple different areas, and I think it’s something we’ve all felt or feel from time to time. All right? Even if you, let’s say, you’ve got that process really nailed down. You’re up, and you’re productive. Then you have those days where it just falls apart. You feel like you can’t get anything done. You’re worthless. You’re not sure what to do. Or it might just be you’re looking up at all these other people who have gotten somewhere where you want to be. Right? Like this person is probably asking, “Everyone says to be productive, but what do you do?” I think that’s really good.

How we actually become productive is, for me, it’s small steps and habit forming. Okay. I’m not bagging on productivity apps because it’s what helps you do these things, but it’s the habits you form. Okay. It’s the fact that I do a morning daily review every day at the same time. That determines how well my morning goes, and then how the rest of the day goes as I become productive. It’s not the best self-journal that I’m using. It’s not Todoist or Focuster on my phone that makes me productive. It’s the habit. And then those tools just amplify that effect, which is great. They help me do it more quickly or more easily, or they make that habit easier to form or to hold on to. Again, so I think that’s really important to do that.

The sort answer is basically that … How do we actually come productive? It’s by forming those habits. Okay. It’s little things over time that add up. If you’re goal is to get into better shape, you’re better off forming the habit of going for a walk three times a week instead of saying, “I’m going to run five miles every day of the week for the next six months.” Okay? Being realistic is part of it. But also just setting those attainable goals, and then going after them. Okay? And then adding on to them once you’ve done that. So maybe it’s, “Okay, you know what? I can’t do a morning review every morning at the same time. But between 7:00 and 9:00 AM, I’m going to sit down 15 minutes, and I’m going to review my day. I’m going to look at my calendar. I’m going to check my to do list. I’m going to update them.” Okay? And then say, “That’s a really good start for somebody who doesn’t do that.”

And then, to add to that, maybe you add something like, “I’m not going to check my emails after that morning review until 11:00 AM.” All right? That’s going to open up some really great productivity time in there where I can really start to block off things. And then you can go crazy. Do whatever you want. But I think that that’s the really important part.

And then the second part of the question was: how can you be focused and determined? Because to me, this is separate. You can be productive. You can do things. All right? You can produce widgets. Okay, that’s great. But how do you become focused and determined? I think that’s also along the lines of small steps. But it’s having that reason behind what you’re doing. Do you love your work? Are you really interested in what you’re doing? Do you feel … And not even just love your work, but is what you’re doing moving you towards what you want to do or where you want to be? Are you providing a service that is really valuable to people? There is a lot of reasons, and part of it is figuring that out for yourself. What do you want?

Not everything I do I love. I don’t love some of the tasks that I have to do, but they’re helping me get where I want to be. I think that can really help you once you’ve figured those things out, whether you see it as a means to an end, or the actual task your doing, itself, is really important. And I think taking a step back, sometimes, can help you really see this in terms of … What you’re doing may seem mundane. But then, “Hey, is this part of a bigger whole? What am I doing? Is this part of a really neat project?” Whatever it is. Or, “Hey, this helping me pay the bills so I have a shelter and I have food on my plate.” That’s amazing in an of itself. There’s people who don’t have that.

So, anyways. Good question. Like that. I think there’s, obviously, a lot of really good ways you could tackle that. But, yeah. I think, in general, becoming productive, it’s one of those life long goals, but you just start. You start small, and you just build those habits over time.

All right. Next question. “What are the most productive collaboration tools for the workplace?” That is kind of a tough one. I’m just going to run down what my personal favorites are. This totally, I think, is based on what you’re doing, who you collaborate with, and what your personal style is. For myself, in general, what I have found to be effective are tools that allow you to share the information you need to share, but not overly time-wasting, I guess. So what I mean by this is a lot of people like Skype. I’m okay with it, but I generally don’t like it. I find it a little inefficient, and then it quickly just turns into a massive reading thread. I prefer methods where I don’t have to constantly be alerted. But that depends.

Slack is obviously a good one. I like that I can really handle the notifications in a more granular fashion. I can turn them on and off for certain channels. It’s easy to set up a channel where like, okay, this is going to be about this topic, and I want instant notifications. There’s a general channel where everybody’s chatting on and talking about stuff, and it may be off topic. You know what? I don’t need notifications. Leave me alone, and I’ll go in and check that once or twice a day. So I think that’s really good.

And then, I know for myself, I just do … I am not a programmer. I think for people who do that, there is a really neat tools out there. I’m not going to even touch on that, because that’s there own thing. But then, maybe Trello is good, too, for more of a organized fashion of workflow. You can still add questions and alert people. There’s ways to do that with Trello. But it leaves out that instant communication back and forth, like the chats and things like that, which can be very helpful. Or if you’re working, maybe, with or people really remote who just are taking care of a task or doing a piece of it, and then there’s ways to use Trello. You could set up a board inside of Trello where … or a list, rather … where somebody can move a task onto it, and it’ll alert you. Because that list say, “Move here if you have technical issues.” Or something like that. So that’s nice if you want to do something where you don’t want to be bothered all the time. I think a lot of it is figuring out what you need and what you prefer, and then just going from there.

All right. Last question for today, unless we get one pop-up here. “Besides Slack and Trello … ” Oh, that’s funny. “What are some other really good productivity tools?” Okay. Well, yeah. We just about Slack and Trello. I use those both a lot. But I think what’s missing from that list for me is some sort of a to do list or a task tracker. And then my top ones for that would probably be Todoist and Focuster. Depending on how you use those, I would just check them out both and see what works best for you.

Focuster’s got some really cool things where you can, like the name implies, you can focus in on your task. You can go through. It will auto sort them into your calender, and then you can focus in on the tasks one at a time. Tello’s got some interesting … Or, sorry. Todoist has got some interesting features with teams and labels and projects and things like that. That’s pretty cool. So I would check those out. I think Slack and Trello, that’s really good. It’s a good start. And then going in and finding something to do to organize your tasks is probably kind of completing that circle.

All right. That is it. No more questions for today. In the future, if you have any more questions, just go to and pop them in there. I’ll answer them on here whenever I can on Wednesdays. That’s it for this week. Thanks for watching, and I’ll talk to you 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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