Productivity Academy Weekly Q&A October 18th, 2017

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All right, we’re live. Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Productivity Academy weekly Q&A. We’re back on track again. Today is the 18th of October 2017. Today were gonna be going over a couple of good questions. One of them, what is the strategy for managing time and then what can I start today that will benefit me for a lifetime? As well as going over some stuff that helped me over the last month and we’ll dive into that in just a second.

So if you’re watching this on YouTube you can subscribe to the channel right there. Or right here. Somewhere. Click the subscribe button and stay up-to-date. Also, if you want to and you’re seeing this on the website, you can subscribe, click the button. You’re gonna be the first to get updates on new videos, tons of stuff I send out. Coming up we’ve got a lot with some apps and how to use them putting together all these things. I’m not an app creator but there’s so many apps out there, how do you use these for yourself? Some people like Todoist. Some people like Evernote. Some people like Wunderlist. It goes on, right? And then, how can you use this in your everyday life without getting distracted?

It’s kind of interesting because I do allot time … allot time … so that I can go out and test these tools. And that’s how I found some of them and how I’ve integrated them into my productivity stack. Anyways, get signed up and let’s dive into it. If you’ve been watching this for a little while, or any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been no videos for the last month. Took some time off, traveled out to the West coast, I got married. Yay! And then got to go on part of a honeymoon. I say part because we’re gonna do another part later on. Took an awesome trip through eastern Oregon, down into California and then came up the Oregon coast and that was just amazing. I’m from around that area, I’ve spent a lot of time there but it’s been years since I’ve been able to do something like that. So it was really nice to take that time off.

It was also interesting taking time off from my normal schedule, in both a good and a bad way. Having that time really helped me identify what is the most important and then what things can I say, “Hey, that’s fine. I don’t need to always be doing my full-on every day type of processes.” And so, low and behold, it should come as no surprise but, daily review, super important and I think it’s helpful. I don’t think you have to do it, you don’t have to spend 30 minutes doing a daily review when your day consists of go to the beach, each lunch and go swimming, or something. But I think it’s good to take one or two minutes, pull out a pad of paper and say what is it that I feel like doing today? And then go through that. If nothing else it just gets the brain in that gear of … in a good way of what do I want to do? And making sure you don’t miss out on opportunities.

Anyways, just wanted to reiterate on that because I know there are some times where I just get busy and I never took literally two minutes to sit down. And later on I was like, yeah, that would have really paid off. I would’ve realized that oh, there was this thing, I missed this opportunity when I was in this spot. We were on the move a lot so we had one or two days in each spot. Looking back on that, that’s definitely something I would have kept doing. On the upside … sorry about all the shaking too. I’m seeing that on the camera so I’m trying not to do too much. But I got a standing desk with motors on it. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and then I recently grabbed that, when we got back. So I’m gonna have to work on that because I can tell that the camera’s shaking. So maybe I can mount it to the wall or something. Little technical, behind the scenes here.

All right. Let’s see. For the first question. What is a strategy for managing time? I think there’s two steps to this. The first one is if you’ve never done it, grab yourself a notebook or whatever. Evernote, I don’t care. Something. And break your day down to 30 minute increments. Try to do as much as you can for the time that you’re awake. So if that’s 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM, great. Just block it off into half an hour, and then repeat it for a week. Go through and try to do an actual record of what you do based on 30 minute increments for a week. It’s crazy. I actually haven’t met anyone who’s done this for a full week. I know it’s been done. I know there are people out there who have done it. But most people can’t do it, myself included. I got everything I needed out of it after three days. And I think it’s something I might revisit once a year and try to do that. Because it’s really tough in several ways.

One, it’s a new habit because it’s not something you’re doing regularly. I’m not talking about time blocking where you’re setting your schedule. It’s like going back or setting a time like, oh, every three hours I need to fill this out for the last three hours. Something like that. But what this does, it shows you what you’re actually spending your time on. So you have to be honest with yourself. You can’t just be like, oh, I wasn’t on Facebook. That didn’t happen. Be honest with yourself and see what you do. It’s not necessarily that you’re screwing around or spending time doing stuff that you shouldn’t be doing. But you’ll probably find out some areas where you’re spending a lot more time. Or, maybe some places that don’t take as much. And it’s really, really illuminating to see this and just be like, wow, okay. This is what’s actually happening. I can now take that and adjust my time accordingly.

There’s some more fun things you can do with that. But once you get that done, then you can go on to doing some sort of time blocking where you do that daily review. However you do it, morning, afternoon, however you want to do it. I highly suggest doing it in the morning, but that’s up to you. But now you’ll have a better idea and you can start blocking that stuff off. And say, okay, in the morning here’s my tasks for the day. I’m gonna sit down and do X, Y, and Z. I’m gonna take a break for lunch. I know that I like to exercise so I’m gonna give myself an hour and a half to go for a short run and sit down and eat some lunch. Then in the afternoon I know that I’m not really on it as much mentally so I’m gonna assign some easier tasks there. Maybe some admin type stuff where I can just crank out the work and not have to think too deeply.

That’s just an example. But once you start doing that and you understand how long these tasks take you, that can really, really help you. And it’s gonna help you manage your time because, as you do this, you just continually get better at estimating, how much time can I actually use? One of the hardest things at first is saying I’ve got this task. I need to create a video. Edit it. Write a description and upload it to YouTube. Guess what I’m gonna do after this video? At first you might be like, I don’t know, this takes 15 minutes. That’s not that long. And then you say, oh my gosh. This actually could take me 45 minutes to an hour. And then as you go, maybe it changes slightly but you start to get the idea there. I think that’s the easiest way to do it. Some air quotes on easy. Of course it can be difficult, but I think starting there and then you can refine your method after that. So, good question. I think that’s a really fun one for managing time. And then, of course, like I said, there’s a bunch of detailed things you can get into. Like using Pomodoro, different timing things.

All right. What can I start today that will benefit me for a lifetime? So many answers to this but let’s narrow it down to one. If I had to choose the number one thing that you could start today that will benefit you for a lifetime? I’m gonna go with the daily review. Sitting down and doing a daily review or planning or both. However you want to call it. That’s the single biggest thing that I wish I would’ve implemented years earlier in my life, and I didn’t. It came from an egotistical type of place where I thought, not bad, but I just don’t need this. Of course I know what I need to do today. I’ve got a couple of things written on a Post-it note over there. And maybe Evernote has some notes from a meeting. I’m in control. I don’t need this. And that’s horrible. And anybody who’s done anything with the GTD method or something, the idea is to get the stuff out of your head.

So partially based on that and partially just based on being able to then account for your time properly so that you know what you can get done and then you can get it done. There’s so many upsides to this. Whether it’s the momentum in your life of being successfully … completing tasks instead of saying oh, man. I didn’t really budget enough time. I’m just gonna delete these tasks. I know I should be doing them but I just don’t have the time. That starts to weigh on you. As opposed to saying I’m gonna review, I’ve got six hours, I can do some things today. I’ve got these tasks over here that are super important, I’ve got these over here that are not so much. Okay, attack these first. Prioritize them. Go for it. And then if I don’t get to them, these don’t matter until these get done.

So doing some things like that will help you in so many different ways. Whether it’s at work helping you get these really high priority tasks that are important and not just putting out fires, which may be these things over here. Or in your own personal life and saying you know what? My health is really important, here’s the things I really need to focus on. It could apply anywhere. I think doing that daily review is the greatest place to start. It’s not even that it’s beginner or anything like that. You could expand it once you’ve got that base process down of I just sit down every day, I look at my day, I plan it, I go through my tasks and I prioritize. You can add to that or streamline it. There’s so much more you can do. But I think that’s a really good foundation for people. And, like I said, it’s something I wish I would’ve done years ago. I’ve been doing it for years now but I wish I would’ve started even earlier.

I see no reason somebody couldn’t apply this to their life even as a teenager, if they’re really motivated. You get a lot out of it. And that’s the best part. You get an immediate feedback loop on that. Things will start improving. Your productivity increases and it just makes your life, in general, easier.

I hope that was helpful. In the link I’ve got If you’ve ever got questions about productivity, about processes or apps, anything like that. Go to that link and you can pop them in there and it populates a little spreadsheet I’ve got. I’ll get notified so I can answer questions live like this. You can also hop on the Facebook Live right here. Ask me questions and if I’ve got the time I’ll answer them live. And, wherever you’re watching, you can go to the Productivity Academy and sign up. Like I said, I just send out stuff upcoming events, productivity tips and upcoming productivity tools. Some stuff I’m working on as far as training and using other people’s tools. We’ve talked about how many there are like Todoist, Focuster, Evernote, all that stuff. But tying that stuff together, right? The tools don’t make you productive, they help you be productive. So, it’s using them effectively that is really important.

So, thanks for watching and I’ll catch everybody 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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