Productivity Academy Live Q&A – Episode 74

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You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on March 14th, 2019 above, or you can review the transcript below.

In this episode we talked about:

  • What to do if you’re unproductive and not sure where to start
  • How can get all of my information organized?
  • What will help stop me from mentally jumping all over the place?

To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit:

Alright we are live Welcome everybody to the number well we’re on episode 74 the real world productivity Q and A today is the 14th of March happy Pi Day to everybody out there who enjoys a good math joke upon are just happy day every once in a while.

So today we’ve got some really good stuff we’re going to be going over some questions from people who have joined the real world productivity Facebook group talking about getting organized physically like actually organizing information as well as mentally and then as well like having the problem of jumping from task to task or switching thoughts and you just you know that then is kind of leading into that disorganization as well as being unproductive and not knowing really where to even start and got some good examples and some some tools and some areas.

I think that you can use as well as some stuff I’m starting to look into that I’m excited to share before we jump into those I just wanted to say to if you’re watching this live Hey thanks for joining whether you’re in the real world productivity Facebook group if you’re watching on the Facebook page that’s great.

Feel free to ask questions below the video or review those as I go and just time allows get to those if you’re checking out the replay whether it’s on Facebook or YouTube that’s awesome to you can always ask questions ahead of time by going to productivity dot Academy slash questions and I check those out beforehand and so you can ask those and as well as just joining live.

The other thing I wanted to mention before we roll into questions is we’ve got a lot of really good podcast episodes coming out and had a chance to talk to a couple people at a conference Kathryn Jones of CF design school and Christopher Sutton musical you and these are both business owners who have some really good insights into team building it as well as mindset and mindfulness.

And something that one of those kind of lifelong learning areas. Let’s see. We’ve got three more podcast episodes. After that. I’ve got another two scheduled with some really interesting people have more coming out about that. And then we’re going to do an episode on the best productivity time management automation books or just general reading from 2018.

So kind of a round up from the past year and really looking forward to that might have a guest co host on that and then getting into some recommendations from people who have been on the podcast, so there’s going to be a ton of good information coming out of that. So let’s get into it. The first question came from Tony who joined the Facebook group and he was talking about feeling unproductive and not really knowing.

Where to begin. And I think that that’s it’s common, but also a good problem to have. And I’ll tell you why. I know that sounds a little funny. But if you’re just feeling unproductive, then you know, that’s good. Because you’re realizing that there’s a problem. And to me, that’s kind of that first step of realizing, excuse me, that there’s something you can do, or rather you want to do, and not knowing where to begin. There’s a lot of great places you can start with. And I’m going to walk through a few.

And I think that it’s a matter of choosing or trying a one kind of in sequence and seeing what fits you best. The very best thing I think that you could get, like the highest leverage out of get the best results is to track your time because if you’re feeling unproductive, but you’re not sure and you just have that feeling of like, I could be doing more or things aren’t moving as quickly as I want them to then now it’s a matter of putting some numbers and putting some actual data to this.

And the downside of this is that tracking your time can be really difficult. It’s something that I struggle with. I know a lot of people don’t like doing it. And because it is difficult to do it by hand, there’s a lot of cool tools out there that will help you with this. But for someone who hasn’t done this before, if that’s you, I highly suggest just doing it on a piece of paper and just writing it down. And the way I do this is I just set a reminder and I’ve done this once or twice so far, and every hour to I go back and then 15 or 30 minute increments, however, I choose to do it, I write down what I was doing.

But if you let that go much more than an hour to I mean, like four hours from now. Like I’ll have a hard time remembering in 15 minute increments, but I was doing like it it just doesn’t work for me and part of its finding out what works for you and making it work. So if you can track for like a week, that’s great. I think it’s pretty difficult and if you’re not sure where you’re at right now. I think just tracking a couple of weekdays gives you that at 20 where you can see okay, here’s where things are kind of going off the rails, that’s where I can get started.

So for if you’re feeling unproductive me, don’t know where to begin, I recommend that. Secondly, if you’re not doing a daily review, and you think that time tracking is either not for you, or you try it, and you find you just can’t follow through that started daily review, this is simple, it can take you as little as five minutes, I generally say you should have a lot 15 to 30. But to get started, you could use a piece of paper, you could use a journal like a best self journal or whatever your favorite journal is out there.

But the idea is to gather all of your notes and write kind of in the Getting Things Done style whether you’re using Evernote or Todoist, sticky notes, you know, whatever it is, you have to review all of that and said, you know, actions that need to be taken. If you have a note that says call so and so well then that goes into your to do list or it gets deleted, right? One of those two things so that you can take action on it as well as gathering everything.

Together, you can then prioritize. Because just like I said, you can take action on it or set it to take action or get rid of it. You want to prioritize all the things that you gather in and it’s a good time to delete stuff or handed off delegated or set things for today, tomorrow, whatever it is, it needs to be done. The other thing that you want to do with this is to review your calendar what’s coming up, you know, this is how, you know, you wonder about those people who never miss meetings or aren’t surprised by last minute things.

Taking that five minutes to look through your calendar, especially for the day is really important. And then maybe to do a quick glance out so that, you know, oh, into the week, that’s right. I’ve got this call, I’ve got a client this or that, whatever it is just reminding yourself so that it’s not, you know, two in the afternoon and you get sideswiped by a meeting that you never saw coming. All right. You know, things happen from time to time, but just taking those few minutes has a lot of benefits keep you from worrying about you know, not knowing what’s coming up and that will make you more dependent.

So I think that that those two areas are the best places to get started. The lowest hanging fruit in terms of really high payoff is to time track. But it’s also can be a little difficult. So I say, give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, come back to it down the road. In the meantime, start doing your daily review and make sure that you’re gathering everything in from all of your whatever you got your to do, list your paper notes, whatever it is, look them over, prioritize them. If you can batch them, you know, so you’re doing like or similar tasks together and review your calendar and get going from there.

And then lastly, I’ll say on this, it’s important to iterate nothing’s going to be perfect. My system is really good. I really liked the framework that I’ve built, but it’s something that has to be tweaked for me and I can give you I could sit down with you and create the framework and help you do that. And that’s what the foundation actually is for if you go to select the foundation, but that’s a framework and then you customize it to what you need over time. Cool.

Alright, the next question is about getting organized. Okay. So this one’s really good. So this was from crin who also just joined the Facebook group. And it’s kind of a two part question which I’m going to kind of break apart and go into this first one and talking about not being able to get organized like how to actually organize information.

And I think that this is really important and broadly so we’ll start really broad, I’ll just say that I think it’s important that you have or we have a system that you use regularly like my my method for organizing information is not perfect, but I use it regularly. And so it’s something that works for me because I’ve used it and I’ve refined it over time that said, this was really good.

Timing on this because I recently was recommended an article to read my butcher his name, but I think it’s Tiago forte about his pair our pa or a method of doing things. Actually, let me switch over if I can. Alright, so this is really good. include the link or actually, I’ll just pop it over right now and put it in the video.

Okay, where he goes through this. So I’m not gonna go through all of the stuff he talks about, but it’s a really good and talking about cataloging information and how important this is in the digital age, which I totally agree with, you know, in the sense that, hey, this is cool. I’ve got Evernote, I’ve got to do with I’ve got access to Google Drive or Dropbox. I can save everything. But then what do you do with it? How do you organize that? How do you quickly get access to that? Should I use tags should I use notebooks should I use like flags or elevated notice?

Is like things like on to do us where you can give things different levels of importance and having a better system to deal with that is really crucial. So I’ll say, you know, check out the article. If that seems like something you want to use, that’s great. But other than that, it’s just sitting down thinking about it, having a system and saying, here are the major areas I need to have organized.

And here’s what I’m going to try and use does it work across my systems, which is important, I think, you know, if you’re using like, I am Google Drive, I used to do it. I also use Evernote and a couple other tools, you know, do things move well between them? Or am I trying to do totally different things? And it’s confusing when I go from one to the other. I think that that’s really important.

Let’s see. Oh, yeah, the other point on that that I touched on earlier to just about your daily review as well as just being organized and Okay, we want to be regular that’s good. We want to be somewhat consistent and then that we’re trying to do the same thing or categorizing or organizing things that way. But realize too, that you’re going to improve over time, whether it’s the foundation framework you’re building based off of what I have, let’s say you go and read this article, and you’re like, Okay, I’m going to check out the pair of way of organizing things, project areas, resource archives, I’m going to put that in. But it’s important to iterate over time.

And this comes in where you can, you know, set in or view maybe once a week, once a month, and say, Hey, where are my systems working for me, you know, and literally just saying, what about my system has worked the best and maybe what isn’t working or what’s actually causing me problems, what’s not saving me time and iterating that for yourself over time, because some of those little details will be different, you know, maybe could come down to just you being more of a visual learner and maybe you prefer images to written text or maybe it’s video you know, this is just one small example of the things that you need to consider, but it’s just the reminder that it’s not going to be at 100% right away you just want to strive for that 80% then get next time 80% and over time that really just compounds on it.

So good question let me see the second part of this question then was oh jumping from task to task or thought to thought and then that leading to having some issues being organized so I think this one has some really practical methods that you can put to use that are really cool and I’ll share one of those right now which is using the Pomodoro technique I think which a lot of people are familiar with you can The classic example is focusing and working on something for 25 minutes and then taking five minutes to do something else. I highly suggest getting up out of your seat. I like to go not literally for like a walk but maybe walk in the house as in like going to get some water or going and doing some laundry and just do it.

Something that literally physically removed me from what I was doing previously, which is generally sitting at a computer. So getting up and doing that I find to be really helpful in that it gives me a quick break, which my mind likes and but it also helps me really focus in for that 25 minutes when I come back, because there’s a clear distinction between what I’m doing and instead of just hitting the Go button on that 25 minutes, I find that I hit the Go button.

And what I like to do is take a yellow sticky pad or my journal and just write down be very clear with myself, what is it that I’m trying to do or what is going to be done in 25 minutes, and I find that that helps because sometimes we get into that like, okay, just go and then the normal stuff happens. We get pulled over here, we do this, we do that or you think that you know, like, Oh, I’m going to work on that project or this one thing and again, you end up either getting sidetracked or doing something else where when you write it down, it becomes much clear to yourself.

Nope, that is exactly what I’m doing. I need to focus specifically on that. With that said let’s hop back over here to second monitor I want to share with this I love tomato timer This is great you obviously you can use a timer on your phone you can do whatever you want. This is just that tomato dash timer calm and you can set it to whatever you want to do. I said the classic example is 25 minutes you know if you want to do 45 and 15 or 15 and five you can do whatever you want and you can just go in here into the settings change all that stuff around and basically make it work for you.

Cool so hopefully that’s helpful I think that those are some great ways to or the Pompadour technique is a great way to help yourself focus in and if you can use those even to within bigger time block. So if you’re doing like a three hour work period, I find that those can be helpful and kind of help avoid that burnout to that you’re not ending the day. And this is something else I believe in, what’s the point of being super focused, and I got all my stuff done.

And I was so productive. And then you get to, like, you know, 3pm or 4pm, you’re done for the day, and you just feel like garbage, you’re just trashed. You know, like that is also my goal is to not do that and not to have other people do that I want to get my work done, I want to be highly productive, I want to be very efficient. I also want to then enjoy that time that I’ve created for myself by being productive and efficient.

And part of that is taking breaks and knowing when to do that. And you know, sometimes you have to automate that with like a literally a timer or something else and finding out what works for you is like getting away from the computer walking, doing these other things so that you’re really enjoying the whole day you have at your disposal so hopefully that’s helpful. Again, if you’re watching live Thanks for checking it out today. And if you were watching the replay, you can always join live that should be a link above below somewhere to come. Join us live in the real world productivity group.

And if you’re checking in on YouTube, you can hit the subscribe button, stay up to date with these as well as product reviews, any bunch of videos, time management stuff, automation stuff, a lot of good stuff coming up as well. And then if you’re ready to take things up and really build the framework that I was talking about, I highly suggest please go pick up the foundation, go read it, put it to work, it’s something you can read in a couple hours.

And literally you can start saving time saving not only your time but your team time building a better team and start automating things I mean in in less than 30 days it can create some pretty wild changes you can check that out at productivity dot Academy slash the foundation and I’ll see you 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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By Adam Moody

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