If there was an award for purchasing the largest variety of productivity tools, I would be in solid medal contention. I have tried dozens of different notebooks, iPhone/iPad applications, and other productivity methods and tools. I thought I’d find the magic tool or application to bring me the organization and productivity I needed to plan my business success.
All I did was confuse myself even more.
Why do we struggle with productivity?
Organization and productivity are a great deal like exercise. There are countless ways to achieve and maintain physical fitness. The key is to find the process and system that works best for you. Regardless of the tools or system you use, you must develop a method to prioritize and organize your work. Your organization must be consistent with your overall business planning process to make the most of your time, energy, and money. I tried to develop this system in my last corporate job, but I ultimately gave up as I usually did not get to my desk before facing the usual fires in corporate life. I resolved I would create and implement a system to control my work instead of letting it control me. There are three tips to developing this system.
1. Limit the number of tools and devices you use - I have learned this lesson the hard way. I used to carry a large notebook, a pocket-sized notebook, my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone. I overwhelmed myself. When I am mobile, I now only carry my laptop, my iPhone, and the Ecosystem mid-sized notebook (affiliate link). I use my phone to record voice notes into Evernote. I write notes in my notebook and scan those pages into Evernote. I avoid the confusion of using multiple devices.
2. Schedule time each day for grounding yourself - I listened to Peter Bregman’s book 18 Minutes (affiliate link) on Audible. Bregman urges taking 18 minutes every day (five at the start of the day, one minute each hour you work, and five minutes at the end of the day) to focus your thought on what you must be doing. I work intensely for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break. I take one minute during a break each hour to ensure I am working on what is really important that day.
3. Link your current work to your business plan - You should have a business planning process highlighting your objectives, strategies, and projects. At least once per week, schedule time to review your projects and ensure they align with your business plan.
You will not perform great work without focusing on your most important work. Linking your business planning and your productivity tools gives you the best chance to do the right work at the right time to make your business happen. What is your biggest hurdle to overcome to become more productive? Share your thoughts below!