Productivity Academy Live Q&A March 7th, 2018


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In this episode we talked about:

  • What are some ways you stay focused and productive without getting burnt out?
  • What are some essential computer tools for productivity?
  • What are some simple productivity hacks one should know about?

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Hello. It’s Adam with Productivity Academy. Today is the 7th of March 2018. Before we dive into it, I wanted to let you know today we’re going to be talking about some ways on staying focused and staying productive without getting burnt out, as well as some essential computer tools for productivity and some simple productivity hacks that one should know about. Also, I want to talk a little bit about email and your morning and why it’s important.

First, before we dive into those though, if you haven’t yet, if you’re watching this outside of the Real World Productivity group, click on the link and come join us. If you’re interested in productivity, processes, time management, apps, any of that stuff, this the place you want to be. Definitely come join us. All right. I’m going to work backwards on those questions. I said something about email. There was a really cool article put out by RescueTime. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s an app that you can use on a bunch of devices and basically track your time. You can see kind of digitally what you’re doing.

Anyways, they’ve put out this cool report that kind of confirms something that I knew personally was a problem for me was that email dominates people’s mornings. Okay? They logged over 225 million hours and found out that email was really something obviously that took up a lot of time in the morning, but then never really left people alone. Right? If people weren’t checking their email at 9 AM and then not going back to it, which is probably no surprise to anyone, but to hear that helps you understand this is such a common problem, and there’s an easy fix.

Because if that’s what’s going on, what would happen then if the morning is generally when you use it, what if you just stopped using your email in the morning? Would the world end? Would you be fired? Would your business fall apart? Probably not. I highly suggest taking a look at ways you can do it. Maybe you schedule 15 minutes. You set a timer, and you do it first thing, and then you don’t touch it until after lunch, or work something else out. It depends on what your needs are. Also, there’s tools like Boomerang, which is really cool. You can pause your inbox, so you can still work. It’s just a plugin for Gmail.

You can go into your inbox, pause it for let’s say four hours. You can still work in it, find old messages, send out stuff, but you won’t see new messages until that time’s over. Pretty cool I think. It’s really I’ll go so far as to say a productivity hack. The more time you can spend outside of your email inbox, the better off you’re going to be and the more productive you’re going to be. All right. About those questions, let’s get right into it. The first one is what are some ways you stay focused and productive without getting burnt out? Great question. I think that one of the ways I view this and it’s certainly something I work on to this day is to work in time blocks.

There’s two reasons for that. The first reason is when you’re able to allot a set period of time, hopefully a large period of time, to one thing, you can focus and you’re not as distracted. Whereas if you’re constantly switching your attention, if you’re answering emails and then you’re trying to write a piece of content and then you get a phone call and this and that and you keep doing that for hours on end, it’s no wonder your brain is totally burnt out after even part of the day. Really trying to do that pays off and has a huge benefit just in terms of your focus. Also, allotting time to take a break after those time blocks can really help you.

That’s kind of a mental reset, but also just physically hey, get up. A lot of us work at our computers a lot. It could be something like I’m going to go walk outside for five minutes. Go shoot some hoops. Go, I don’t know, do laundry or something. That’s what I do sometimes just to get up, move around, disconnect, before you settle in and work either continuing or work on a new project. I find that that’s incredibly helpful. All right. Second question for today. What are some essential computer tools for productivity? All right. Good question. There’s a laundry list of good tools. I’ll give my standard disclaimer upfront. The tools don’t make you productive. You make you productive.

The tools are what help you become more productive. Okay? With that out of the way, if you don’t have something like a standard daily review or you don’t have a process in place to use those tools effectively, then do that first, then get these tools to help you. That said, the standard ones I like to go with, there’s a lot of really good to do apps out there, but two of my favorite are Todoist and Focuster. I think that those are really both effective and flexible tools. They have a little bit different sets, but they’re both made for a to do list and then accomplishing things within set periods of time, managing projects, things like that.

Check those both out. Then as well having a place to organize your notes. Digitally for me that’s Evernote. Just having a place where I can just tag things, sort them. Mostly for me it’s not my organization system. Again it has tags and it is organized, but that’s not where I put things to immediately deal with. That’s more of a reference system of mine. Having that I know I can take a picture of something and it goes in a certain folder or however you want to set it up. I find Evernote to be very effective for that. Those two are pretty awesome. Then third is not a program. I know. Whomp. Whomp. It’s not an app, but learning to control the digital space. Okay?

Right now obviously I’m talking, but I’m looking. I’ve got two monitors. I’ve got a laptop over here. I’ve got these other things. It’s understanding how to control all of that. Whether it’s minimizing windows, okay? Right now I’m concentrating on talking about productivity and sharing my answers to these questions, so my chat apps are down, right? I don’t want to have any distractions. My speakers are turned off, so I don’t have Skype pinging in the background or anything. Getting better about controlling that and being more mindful about what you’re doing. Okay. I’m going to sit down and work for an hour on this project.

I’m writing something. I need to close the other windows, close the apps, turn off distractions and make sure I’m ready to work. I think that that’s just as important as having these computer tools. Okay. The third and last question, unless another one comes in for today, what are some simple productivity hacks one should know about? Good question. I think that obviously there’s a ton of productivity hacks out there. I’ve gone over several before, but the one I keep coming back to, make sure you have a daily plan. All right? Something that’s flexible. If you can’t do it when you’re traveling, it’s probably not good enough.

It needs to be simple and effective. That maybe sitting down at the same time each day and going through and doing your daily review. You’re going to batch tasks together. Go through your task list. Batch them. If you’ve got one thing for one business, another business, things like that, and then prioritize. What’s the most important? Get started on that, and work your way down that list. You can delete things as you go. That’s important too. Some things just don’t need to be done and you can delegate. Is there someone who can help you? Is there someone who could take it off your plate? Then maybe you can automate. If you can speed up a process using tools, automation tools, great. Go for it.

Spending 15, 30, 45 minutes doing this a day will really pay off for you. I think that that’s in my mind one of the best productivity hacks you should know about because so much else rests on that. I don’t think at least the little productivity hacks you can add on top of that, you don’t want to do those unless you’ve got this really solid foundation. All right. I think that will wrap it up for the day. Don’t see anymore questions. Like I said, if you haven’t joined us live in the group yet, please do. Come join us in our Real World Productivity group. You can click on the link and come join us. Until next week, I’ll see you later.

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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