Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at anytime right here: www.productivity.academy/questions. You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on May 17th above, or you can review the transcript below.
Hey everybody. This is Adam with The Productivity Academy. It is the 17th of May and I’m back with another live Q&A this week. Just getting situated here in the high tech recording studio. Anyway, got some questions I’m gonna go through today, giving people a minute or two here to show up and see if they want to ask any questions live. Oh cool, I can actually see the comments here.
Last week, this is a learning experience. I’m definitely going to get better as I go on but this has been interesting, getting used to the set up and actually process. I’ve got my little sticky note here and then going through, I’ve written down last week, all the things that I noticed like I need to have an extra tab or page set up in the browser on my other monitor so I can watch and make sure if there’s any responses or anything I can see that. Then fun one I forgot last week was I should meet my speaker. I made sure to write that one down.
Anyway, if you aren’t already, you can head on over to productivity.academy and click on Become A Subscriber. That’s how you can get notified when and where to see these. You can also head over to YouTube and look up Productivity Academy, and hit the Subscribe button, and get auto updates. I’ll be putting these videos up there as well. So if you’re not a fan of watching on Facebook, you can watch on YouTube or at least catch the replays with timestamps.
Let’s see, if you have any questions you can always go to productivity.academy/questions. That always goes to a Google sheet where you can just type in your questions at any time during the week. Then I can go through those on here. Then also, of course, answering live questions from anybody.
A question I did see that’s kind of good and made me think about some things I’ve been doing lately was, what are things people waste their time on every day? I think there’s some common ones and then there’s also some interesting one off things. I won’t focus on that too much ’cause I think everybody’s got their go to things that maybe isn’t super common, but I’m gonna go through … A lot of these are more “of course,” but more importantly, what can you do about it?
Social media, we’re on Facebook right now. It’s super helpful, it’s great for communication. I’ve learned a lot, actually, through Facebook but like Facebook, or Twitter, or Google Plus, or whatever, you’ve got to limit yourself or you go down that rabbit hole and you’re like, “Oh man, I just watched my 15th cat video.” You can either set a timer, maybe five minute timer, and you give yourself that break. It’s like anything, if you just say, “I’m just never gonna do that,” it probably won’t work. Personally, I’ve uninstalled Facebook from my phone but I can get there easily through the browser. It’s just as easy, but for whatever reason, that kind of lowers the amount of times I go on there during the day.
I definitely try to minimize my time on there. I use it during the day and then in the evening if I want to check it or maybe at lunch I’ll go through there and see what people are up to. I see that being a pretty big one. You can see that with people too when they’re out and about. They’re just killing time standing in a line or waiting for the bus. They’re probably on Facebook or something like that. So I think that’s something people waste their time on every day and it could be put to use. If you want to be more productive, if you want to get more done, that’s time you could be using. It’s mentally distracting, which also is kind of wasting your time.
Something else is probably switching tasks. If you’re not batching tasks, I think that can be a big one. By batching tasks, I just mean let’s say you’ve got 10 items on your to do list and you want to get them all done, then one thing you can do instead of just … You want to get your most important task done but you can put together like items. Let’s say you have three related spreadsheet tasks, and then you have something you need to buy on Amazon, and then you need to pull weeds in the garden at some point. You don’t want to do one spreadsheet task, go pull weeds in the garden, go buy something on Amazon, and go back to the spreadsheet. You try to lump things together so that you minimize the time you spend switching. That could be physical, from going to your computer, to outside, to back inside, but also mentally, getting on these different tasks.
I think there’s a lot more. That’s a huge topic and it’s more interesting, I think in my mind, to look at specifics and what’s the solution as far as people wasting time every day? Something I waste time on every day would be checking email. I’ve got a note on my computer right now. It says, “Can you go one hour without checking your email?” I eventually put in my calendar a time to check email but that wasn’t enough. I was actually going in and checking my email several times in the two-hour block I had where I wasn’t “supposed” to be checking and sure enough, I found myself doing it. I’d be like, “Well, what’s my next task?” I’ll just go check my email real quick before I do that and then just realizing, “Wow, that’s a huge waste of time.” If you see something, you’re immediately going to react to it and if not, you’re still just wasting that time. Anyway, that’s been a big realization for me. I figured yeah, I check it occasionally but once I actually started really monitoring it, it was really scary how often I check it.
Let’s see, I found a cool question on Quora, actually. This says, “How can I realistically reclaim 20 to 40 hours,” that’s a lot, “of free time per week to pursue my dreams and goals that will not necessarily produce much income in the beginning years, but I don’t want to sacrifice my comfort or financial security?” First off, I would say that 40 hours, I think, is a lot especially for years at a time if you also have a full-time job or the equivalent. 20 hours is definitely doable. Just really quick, how I would do that personally, go with what you know about yourself. If you’re a morning person, you can do it this way. If you’re a night person, you might want to alter this, but you can get up one hour earlier.
A lot of people will say, “I don’t have the time to do something.” That’s generally not true. Most of us have time. If somebody said, “I’ll give you $1,000 an hour if you get up an hour earlier in the morning and work for me,” I bet you’d find the time to do that, right? Get up an hour earlier is what I’d recommend and if you can do that Monday through Friday or maybe you even take a day off in there, however you want to do it. Let’s give ourselves a break and say, let’s get up and work for one hour in the morning before we go onto what we normally need to do. That’s up to four hours. Then we say on the weekends it’s not realistic to work an eight-hour position. I don’t expect anybody to do that. I think mentally it’s very tough, especially if you have a family, but let’s say we can put in a four-hour block on Saturday morning and then take a break and do two hours in the afternoon or evening. Then on Sunday, we can do that again. That is gonna be six, six, and four. Okay, that’s only 16 hours, not quite 20, but I think that’s very doable.
Depending on what you’re doing with that, it’s about having the motivation. Is this a project you’re passionate about? The weekend hours might be difficult. You might need to rearrange it. I think something else you could do is to say we do that hour in the morning and then once or twice a week, you put in some time somewhere else, a block of time. The big word here is a “block” of time. I think you get a lot more done when you can put together a solid block of time like three, four hours. Again, maybe it’s only two hours but I think that’s how you can make use of your time and then you just need to be more efficient with the rest of your time.
Maybe you have a job where if you can create some free time, maybe if you’re working remotely. If you can be more efficient with your job, then you can use more of that time for something else. Maybe you have some tasks that go into this 20 hours you’re trying to free up for your side project that maybe it’s admin type stuff that you have two or three hours of that a week, maybe you can knock that out at lunch so that you’re not doing that in those big blocks of time where you really need the critical thinking. Anyway, that’s my thoughts on that. I think there’s a lot of different ways to do that.
Again, 20 to 40 hours is a lot to add in there and it depends a lot on your personal situation. I think it’s definitely possible and starting out with a goal of maybe 15 hours a week and see how that fits into your life, and then kind of go from there. Can you add or do you maybe need to readjust your goals?
The last question that I really like, since I spend so much time on my PC, is how can I stop spending so much time on the PC and go out? I would say that this one comes down to, again this is like using Facebook or social media, is set a limit and recognize that you do need to use it. You probably do need to use your PC but there also needs to be a hard limit. It’s kind of the idea that work expands to take up the time that you have available. Most tasks, let’s say you have an hour to do it. You can probably do it in 45 minutes. If you have two hours to do it, it would probably take you two hours to do it. I think putting some limits on that and just sticking to that, even if there’s no …
If you play games, I play video games on the computer and I have no problem with that. What I don’t want to do is spend all of my time doing that. What you could do is say, “You know what? When I’m done with the day, I’m gonna give myself 90 minutes of just screwing around on the PC. I’m gonna play games, I’m gonna check Facebook, I’m gonna check my email, but I’ve got a little timer going.” You can use egg.timer. That’s a cool one but there’s tons of little timers. Then after that, that’s it. Granted, it’s up to you to stick to that, but once you start doing that, you’re not just saying, “I’m never using my PC.” Let yourself use it. It’s part of the things around us today. Then go out and do something you enjoy doing is the other half of this. It’s a reward. You obviously want to go out so definitely go and do that.
Anyway, that’s something I’ve thought about because for myself, that’s important. I spend a lot of time on the computer and so it’s good to remind myself that this is good to also get out, that I enjoy being on the computer and having internet access, and I appreciate it even more when I spend time doing something else. Just because I work on the computer, I really enjoy my time outside, going for a walk and just thinking about things.
Well that is it for this week. If you’ve got any questions or you want to talk about productivity, process, apps, the reason we do all this stuff, you can always ask me at productivity.academy/questions. Until then, I will see you all next week.