Productivity Academy Live Q&A March 14th, 2018

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In this episode we talked about:

  • In one sentence, why should people turn off most or all notifications on their phone to live a better, happier, and productive life?
  • I get bored easily when I wake up early at the weekend. What can I fill my days with to be productive?
  • How do I improve concentration and increase my productivity?
  • What are your daily rituals to stay focused?

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Hey, it’s Adam with the Productivity Academy. Today is the 14th of March, 2018 and we have got several really good questions to go over today, a lot of it on productivity, focus. I’m looking at the questions right now as I’m doing this. Just general about productivity, how should you use or not use your phone, getting bored and having things to do, improving your concentration and increasing your productivity, and then some daily rituals. That’s the specific stuff.

If you’re in the group, I’m sorry about going live a little early in case you missed us or you come back and see it later. I had something come up and wanted to make sure I get this done this week and share this information with you guys. Would rather get it done and have the time be a little off than not do it at all, certainly.

If you’re not in the group and you’re seeing the replay, highly encourage you to come join us. You can see the link to the Real World Productivity Group. If you’re interested in asking questions, having them answered either live or you can watch the replay, you can find out how to do that there as well as being around other people who are interested in the same things as you. Things like productivity, time management, learning more about apps, about the process to do them, you know, and specifically, if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re building a business or help someone with that, those are certainly some areas that I can help you with. Without further ado, let’s get right into the questions.

The first one I like, “In one sentence, why should people turn off most or all notifications on their phone to live a better, happier, and productive life?” In one sentence, why should people turn off most or all of their notifications? You should turn off your phone or turn off all notifications so that you can focus on the task at hand and do a better job at whatever it is that you’re doing. That’s it. I think that that’s important. I’m not going to go diving deep into that because he asked for one sentence.

I think that that explains it, but for those of you who are interested in the why, is that that has a lot of other ramifications in terms of, you can focus and do better at the task at hand. We talk about this a lot in terms of literal focus and in terms of productivity. When you can concentrate on the one thing in front of you, you’re going to have a better outcome. Not only that, you’re going to be less distracted.

Putting your phone out of reach, you know, upside down, putting it on mute is what I do. I don’t turn it off, but I don’t have it buzzing, I don’t have any of that stuff going off during the day. If I need it, I know where it is, I can certainly find it. I’m not going to forget about it. Then, that is one less distraction and you might even go so far as to say, “Okay, I’m going to shut down messaging windows or minimize them so I don’t get blinking lights and all that sort of stuff.” Good question.

All right, next question for today, “I get bored easily when I get up early on the weekends. What can I fill my days with to be productive?” I think that this is a really good question. I can certainly identify with this where you wake up and you’ve got this feeling like you’re just kind of antsy, you know, or you’re in bed and you’re like, “Eh, I don’t want to get up,” or not just because you’re tired, but you know, you’re just like, “I don’t know what to do,” and you just kind of do stuff and you get that feeling that you haven’t done anything or you’re just kind of unfulfilled. You know, you do entire weekends like that. Sometimes that’s life.

On the other hand, sometimes it isn’t life. Sometimes it’s you. You can be proactive and make that choice to say, “Hey, on the weekends I’m still going to take the time to do my daily review,” and maybe it’s only two or three minutes but, “I’m just going to sit here and I’m going to write down what are three things I really want to do.” It doesn’t have to be some super strategic stuff. Maybe it’s just, “Hey, you know what? The laundry does need to be done. I’m just going to write down that I’m going to get the laundry done today.” Go on and do two or three other things. Maybe, “You know what? I’ve been meaning to go for a hike or a walk. I want to do that today.”

Just being, I guess the word might be mindful about what it is that you really want to do, and then go one step further. Maybe have that, if you use an app like to do list, some sort of tracking app or maybe you just have a Evernote file where you just write down stuff that you want to do, and if your weekends are free and that’s how you choose to spend your time, then you always have this go to file of, “Hey, here’s these good things.” It could be something as simple as a reminder of go for a walk or go to the gym when you’re feeling bored and you’re up early.

Then, it could be other things. Maybe little projects. You know, “I’ve wanted to fix this, I wanted to read this, I wanted to watch that show,” things like that. I think it will really help get you in that habit of doing the things, the activities that you want to do. Over time, I think you’ll start to see a change. Again, I’m not advocating that this has to be some sort of super productive and every second of your life has to be in pursuit of one goal, but that you have some things that you know you want to do. Instead of just kind of drifting in the wind and just doing whatever.

I find that helpful. I certainly don’t do it all the time. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that everything I do is planned out, certainly not. I have over the years adapted that of just taking a few minutes on the weekends and on down time, maybe when I’m traveling and just really thinking about that. Like, “What is it that I really want to do?” I find that that really helps me and helps just with my general feeling. It helps clear my head, too, instead of thinking, “Did I miss out on something or should I be doing something else?”

All right, so the next question, “How do I improve concentration and increase my productivity?” Okay, so I think this question is fairly big, I’m going to limit it a little bit. In terms of improving your concentration, and I’m going to kind of use that in terms of focus, and then increasing your productivity. I always advocate doing a morning review. I think that you should sit down and you list out what you want to do. What are your tasks? Do you have them written down anywhere? Gather them up and then batch them together. Do you have things that go with your work? Do you have personal stuff that needs to be taken care of? Things like that. You get that arranged and then prioritize. What’s the most important and what isn’t?

In each of these areas you can certainly go into a lot more detail, but once you have that, start blocking out the time. Look at it and say, “Okay, I’ve got project A, I need to do these three tasks and I think it’s going to take me about an hour.” Great. When are you going to do that? If it’s from 8:00 to 9:00, great. You could do a little time blocking. If you look that up you could find tons of information about that. Then you go and you do that.

You minimize your distractions. Be mindful of what’s around you. If it’s loud, if noises bother you, can you wear headphones? This sounds maybe extreme to some people, but can you put on noise canceling headphones? Again, get rid of your phone in terms of mute it, turn it upside down, turn the buzzer off. Take down messaging windows. You’re taking a minute or two to really improve that 58 minutes left in the hour, and that’s going to drastically increase your productivity.

Not only that, the first part of the question, it’s really going to let you concentrate and focus more. By taking some of that time and instead of just diving right into it, thinking, “Okay, I’m going to plan my day out or I’m going to plan this hour out. What are my goals? What am I working on? What’s the most important?” Then going for it. I think that will be super effective for you.

Okay, last question for today. This really follows on the tails of the last question, but, “What are your daily rituals to stay focused?” Very good. Believe it or not, and for those of you in the group I’m sure you know this, but daily ritual for me to stay focused is to do my daily review. That’s in the morning, I’m using the Best Self Journal. I’ve been using it for a while now, highly recommend it, but if there’s something else that works for you; if it’s a post it note, if it’s an electronic thing like Evernote or whatever it is, that’s great.

Sit down, I look at my calendar, I lay out my day. I do a little bit of time blocking. I go through my to do list, whether it’s to do list if I’m using Focuser, if I’m trying other apps, I look at all of these, I bring it all together, literally some post it notes sometimes. Bring that stuff together so that I know I’ve gone through everything. I don’t have any stray items. Throughout the day it’s not bugging me that I’m wondering if I forget something.

I go through and do that, and I just batch everything together, I lay out my day, and I lay it out in terms of importance. For me, I’m much more productive in the morning, generally from like 6:00 to 11:00 or noon, and so that’s when I try to plan out a lot of my work. Then if I can, I try to plan meetings for the afternoon where I can certainly still pay attention, I’m still functional and productive, but I’m not at my peak. For most meetings, I really don’t need to be. I need to be able to just discuss or present.

I think that if you do the same thing, you just have a ritual, and a lot of it’s finding out what works for you. A lot of this is a framework. I’m not going to tell you, “Buy the Best Self Journal, that’s the only thing that can ever help you, and use this sort of a pen to write on it and do it at 7:15 in the morning.” You know, that doesn’t work. I can certainly tell you, “Hey, here’s what I do. I think this is a good idea,” but it’s more that you have a framework for what you do on a daily basis.

You can add onto that, like for myself, if someone has no daily plan right now I would say just start with the morning review, and then add onto that. One of those is, well, when you’re done in the evening, the afternoon, whatever it is for you, take literally five minutes and kind of close out your day. Do the same thing, but maybe a little bit quicker and all you’re doing is you’re gathering all of these loose items.

Do you have little post it notes or scribble notes or anything? Okay, put that into your system, whatever it is. Maybe again, it’s to do list or Evernote. Look at your calendar for the next day, just remind yourself, “Hey, what’s coming up? Do I have meetings? Was there anything that’s surprising? Is there anything that has to be done before that meeting,” maybe for example. “Did I forget something? Do I need to reschedule anything?” Just get that stuff out of the way.

Generally it just takes a few minutes and just, you can say, “Okay, you know what? I’m done for the day.” I think that that’s a great help mentally, and then when you go about the rest of your day, you really can kind of be there. I think this is really helpful in terms of relationships and how you can start to separate yourself and say, “Great. I’m done with this stuff. I’m now moving on,” whether it’s with your family, with yourself doing some different activity. I think we’ve all been there, you know, where you take your work with you and you’re distracted and you’re not really there. Trying to avoid that type of a situation.

Good question. I think that having a daily ritual to stay focused is a great one, and then a lot of that, too, falls back to time blocking and how you can start to really be focused in terms of using your time, which we’ll go into in more detail again some other time. Just using that time period and saying, “Okay, doing that daily ritual idea but on a very smaller scale.”

Say I have two hours and I’ve assigned it to work on a specific topic, then maybe taking a little post it and saying, “What are my three actual goals? What are my little action items that I’m going to get done? What’s the goal? What do I want to have done at the end of this time? Is there anything else I need? Should I deal with distractions? Minimize them?” Then go to work, because you spend maybe two or three minutes taking care of that sort of stuff, and it’s just going to multiply your effectiveness during that remaining time, which can be super powerful.

All right, so some really good questions this week and I think that’s going to wrap it up. I don’t see any more questions. Thank you for watching, and hopefully I’ll be able to do this next week. I’ll be putting something up in the group, though. I’ll be traveling down to Orlando for funnel hacking live down there and might not be able to do it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get something up regardless, it just may not be live. Until next time.

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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