We know how difficult it can be to stay on task all day and to accomplish everything you have to finish. So for your ease, we’ve compiled a quick and effective list of our top unconventional productivity tips. Keep reading for tips on how to quit procrastinating and get back to work.
“Getting Things Done”
David Allen is one of the world’s leading experts on personal and organizational productivity. He was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top five executive coaches in the United States, and lucky for us he’s written a book. In 2002, Allen released a book titled “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” and this book is nothing short of divine intervention for the massively over-whelmed. The book is substantial with nearly 300 pages of productivity tips and tricks, but Merlin Mann has summarized it in this brief article. The key to getting more done, is to rid your mind of all the excess “stuff” that’s preventing you from doing productive work.
Mann supplied easy-to-follow bullet points on how to do just that:
- Identify all the stuff in your life that isn’t in the right place (stuff can mean anything from physical stuff to items on a to-do list)
- Get rid of the stuff that isn’t yours or you don’t need right now (delegate projects and tasks)
- Create a right place that you trust and that supports your working style and values (find a location where you can get work done)
- Put your stuff in the right place, consistently (categorize your to do list and daily tasks)
- Do your stuff in a way that honors your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment (don’t work on emails during meetings, use delegated times for the tasks at hand)
- Iterate and restructure mercilessly (always tweak your system to find the one that works best for you)
Pen and Paper
The Guardian wrote an article last year about the growing tension between those fighting to eliminate cursive lessons from schools and those who wish to keep it. In the article they remark that “pens and keyboards bring into play very different cognitive processes. ‘Handwriting is a complex task which requires various skills – feeling the pen and paper, moving the writing implement, and directing movement by thought.’”
There’s also the argument that typing is too standardized. Sure you can change font size, color, and spacing, but it’s virtually eliminated mindless doodling and the creative freedom available when working with pen and paper. Everyone knows the story of Einstein working as a patent clerk to provide the menial activity his brain needed to thrive. Working with pen and paper, letting yourself doodle, to feel the connection between your mind and body can be the lightning bolt of inspiration or motivation you need.
If you’re struggling to complete a task, shut off your computer, your cell phone and tablet and try writing down what you need to do, and how you plan on doing it.
Visualize Your Tasks
If you’re a fan of the show Silicon Valley you’ve probably relished in the idea of creating a grid of sticky notes. If you’re struggling to prioritize certain tasks, or to see something through this method could be particularly helpful.
Write everything you need to do on individual sticky notes. Align them vertically on a white board, wall, or window. Build a grid of three columns: Tasks, in progress, and complete. Move the sticky notes as their associated tasks progress. This is an easy way to help your mind connect physically to the task at hand. As was mentioned in the previous section, visualization or a physical connection to your to do list fires up different parts of your mind and can help you process information in a different way.
Take A Break
If you’re finding your daily to-do list more excruciating than usual it may be time to take a break and refocus. Go for a walk around the block, as we’ve mentioned before seeing nature can do a lot for your cognitive functioning. Take a coffee break, a lunch break, a reading break, just make sure you shut off your screens and try and utilize a different part of your brain. Doing a few sit-ups or pushups by your desk, or taking a lap around the building will help you focus more when you sit back down to your desk. According to WebMD, “when you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which helps with attention and clear thinking.”
We know that staying focused and productive can be a challenge. What are your unconventional productivity tips? Let us know by commenting below or on our Facebook page. As always, stay up to date with all Wishlist news by following us here or on any of the social media outlets.