Productivity Academy Live Q&A July 5th


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Hey, everybody. This is Adam with the Productivity Academy. Today I’ve actually got several topics. I saw some really cool questions about like, where to focus, where to focus your time first, and we’ll get into that, a good time management tool or the best time management tool, how effective is the Pomodoro Technique, and stopping social media rabbit holes, what I call getting in the rabbit hole. You’re like, “I’m just going to check Facebook,” and then 30 minutes later you realize, “Crap, 30 minutes later.” All right, and then if we get any questions while I’m going here, we’ll go through that.

I just want to say first of all too, if you haven’t yet, you can subscribe. If you’re watching this on YouTube, you can just click the button. If you’re anywhere, you can go to, all right? You can go there, and any time during the week you can just ask a question about productivity, time management, productivity apps, anything to do with this type of stuff. Then I go that and get those in a spreadsheet, and then go through those. That’s where I get a lot of questions from, so thank you for the people who have contributed questions, and by all means, you can ask more than one or you can do it as often as you want.

All right, let’s get into it. This, I think, was an interesting question. It’s just basically, “Should I start with the easy tasks or the difficult ones?” Actually what I’m going to say is it shouldn’t really be easier or difficult. If you’re just looking at it that way, let’s they’re all of equal importance, and I’ll circle back around to that, then I generally would do both, but try to maybe front load with difficult and say, if I have some really hard task that take a lot of mental processing, I need to do that earlier in the day, but I wouldn’t necessarily just have all really hard tasks and then all easy tasks. You might want to give yourself a break and switch it up, but I think the really important thing here is to differentiate between easy, hard, and important, and say, “Which one of those tasks is actually going to get me the most results for whatever it is I’m doing?” Right? Maybe there’s a task that is going to do something for my business or has to be done in order to get a new customer for my job or whatever it is.

So you need to actually prioritize things in terms of what is more important and then work on those. I mean, things always come up, and so it doesn’t really matter if you did a hard task, but it doesn’t really give you much results if you saved an easy task that’s going to provide a larger result. Hopefully that’s helpful. I think it’s actually kind of tough to do a lot of times and then there’s also real life. Sometimes you just can’t or you don’t have the motivation or you just need to find what works best for you, so maybe sometimes starting off the day with one easy task might help like, get that momentum going, especially if you’re tired or you’re just not motivated, but to get something done might help you, so you got to kind of play around with that, but generally think, “What’s most important? What’s going to get me the most results?” Then go from there.

All right. Let’s see. We got another question here. “What is a simple, but good time management tool?” Okay, so a caveat. There’s a ton. It’s totally up to you, but I think in the interest of keeping this answer fairly short, a simple but effective time management tool is sitting down every day, and I know I talk about doing a daily review, but basically going through your day and just writing down what needs to be done. Then if you want to take it to the next step and give it some time box where you’re just saying, “Okay. These are my three tasks that I need to have have done today, and I’m going to assign them a rough time calculation,” and look at your calendar. You could do this in your calendar. You can do it on a piece of paper. You know, there’s a lot of journals that use it, but this helps you. By writing it down or putting in a calendar, you’re mentally going to just be thinking about this and you have to kind of estimate, “How long is this going to take me?”

This is good on two accounts. That day it helps you actually plan the day, and then over time you get more and more accurate on understanding exactly how long stuff takes because a lot of people, myself included, we underestimate and then on the other hand, sometimes you do overestimate and you’re like, “Oh, wow. I thought this task would take an hour. I can knock it out in 15 minutes.” But generally we tend to forget about distractions and other things that come up, or we just think, “Sure, I can always knock this out in 30 minutes,” but that may not be the case, so I really think either they’re doing this once or even twice  a day is a really good way, and you can probably do it in 10, 15 minutes tops. You just sit down and go through, and plan out your day, put your most important task, order things out and go from there. I found that to be really simple in the sense that it doesn’t take a long time, it’s not complicated, but you do have to build the habit, so cool.

All right. Now we’ve got a question about the Pomodoro Technique. Okay, so what this is, I’m not going to give a definition or something. I’ll just say how I’ve done it, but generally I do … I think 25 minutes is the most common, but you can do whatever time limits you want. You set a timer and you basically just go, okay, like you assign yourself a task. “I’m going to finish it or reach these objectives in this amount of time,” but then when that time is up, you take a set amount of breaks, and so generally people stack these together, so you’ll have like, let’s say 25 minutes of on, and then a five minute break. You do three of those before taking a bigger break or something like that. It’s totally up to you how you want to do this.

I’ve done that and I found it to be fairly effective. I actually used it more for reminding myself to get up and move around because working at the computer, I would find that I would go like two or three hours, and I haven’t gotten up and moved around. I’m like, “Wow, this is really not good.” I’m like stiff and sore when I stand up. I was like, “This is crazy.” That’s what I actually use them for, and because I’ve started to find that I needed more time to work on things, so I liked blocking things out. I still haven’t found my perfect amount of time. I think for most people it’s probably more than 25 minutes, but maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but then making sure you get up and go do something else just to give your brain a quick break, and also physically move around. You generally feel better and it might just be like walking over or getting some water or doing some unrelated task, although you generally, if you’re going to continue working on something, you don’t want to totally start doing something else.

I’ll usually do something like picking something up or just doing something around the house. Anyways, I think it’s pretty effective. It’s up to whoever uses it though. I think it’s one of those that you really have to try out and see, “Does this fit into my day and my schedule?” Then you can obviously alter it and make it work, I think, so I think it’s good for those two main reasons: If you want to remind yourself that you do need to take a break, and that taking a break is healthy and helps you be more productive, and then also to help you focus because the idea is when you’re doing these, and let’s say you’re working for 25 minutes, you’re focused only on that project. You know, no email, one of this other stuff. You don’t break. You just work on that.

All righty. Let’s see. We’ve got one more and I think this is also good. “What’s the best way to control time? How can you escape and stop spending time on social media?” Good question. Part of it is just getting in the habit, but you can help yourself, so I think, like I just talked about the Pomodoro Technique, and you can set these times where you don’t use anything else. If you’re focused on a project, you only focus on that, but it’s for a set amount of time. I think that can be helpful because this is a way you can stop using social media as much as to say, “Hey, I’m working.” By using the Pomodoro Technique, let’s say I’m going to do 25 minutes and I’m focused only on that, and then I’ve got that five minute break or 10 minute break, and I’ll get up and get the glass of water, and then I’ll check Facebook, but at that end of that five minutes, I’m done. I put it down and I go back on to whatever I’m working on next.

I think that can be effective, but then there’s also tools that can help you. I use a Chrome extension. Let me actually see if I can find it here. This is horribly boring. Okay, News Feed Eradicator for Facebook. When I go on Facebook, since I have to do that for work from time to time and manage groups and things like that, but when I go to Facebook, I don’t get the news feed, all right? I could post something, but it has no posts, and so I can go in and do my stuff, and I’m not distracted by the latest cat pictures or anything.

Then the other one I think for this is good, as with most of us having our phones on us all the time, if you can put it on silent, like truly silent, or put it in another room or another area, put it in a drawer so you’re not constantly seeing it, because I know that’s a tough one to ignore especially for social media. If you get the notifications and you see the screen light up or you hear a buzz, you’re generally just going to go right to it and pick it up, so I think that’s also helpful.

All right. Well, that is all the questions for this week. Again, if you’ve got questions at any time, you can go to and ask questions about productivity, apps, anything, time management. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe or follow on Facebook. Again, if you got any questions, just pop them in there or you can even do it on the comments on videos while we’re live or afterwards. I go back through those and will answer them. All right, thanks 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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By Adam Moody

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