Stephen Benjamin @ The Instigator Blog has started a group writing project called The Ultimate Guide to Productivity. Char @ Essential Keystrokes has tagged me with this. Never having been one to turn down a fun game of “TAG! You’re IT!” – I present you with one of my own productivity secrets, which really isn’t all that secret, but they are things I rely on every day to keep me motivated and moving forward.
First, my own personal arsenal of “MUSTS” when I sit down to work . . of course your mileage may vary, include: 1. Coffee, 2. Bottled Water and 3. My Phone. They may not be real productivity secrets – but I find if I sit down to work and I have my little creature comforts around me, I have less of a reason to get up and be distracted by my ‘wants’.
I would say the biggest thing that keeps me focused and motivated are my lists. I’m a big list person, and that dates way back to when I was a kid and my mother used to put a list of my chores on the fridge door telling me exactly what I needed to do before I could go out and play.
Even in this world of technology and automation – I still keep paper lists. There is something about writing it down and then crossing it off that gives me that sense of accomplishment. I have tried moving to spreadsheets, or electronic project management software and the like – – but I always, inevitably revert back to paper, pen and my favorite yellow highlighter. which I use to cross a project off my list as a final “TADA!” – it gives me extreme satisfaction. Everything I do – no matter how large or how small, gets a place on my list. I guess I don’t use an electronic solution because my paper list is always with me. It’s always, always on my desk – – right in front of my face, staring at me with that “Well? What’cha gonna do now?” look. Having my projects complied in a spreadsheet or other electronic project management program is just too easy for me to minimize the window, or worse yet — CLOSE the window and leave my mind.
It’s no secret that I am very easily distracted – so having the list right smack in front of my face is essential for keeping myself on track. Not that I don’t use electronic solutions, however – – I will put very important reminders in my Outlook calendar so that it pops up a window to remind me of the things I need reminding for.
Simply put, if its not in front of my face — it runs the very real risk of being put out of my mind.
Lists are just one of my productivity secrets. I have others, and also found some of the secrets from other participants in this project interesting and ones I can really relate to:
- Char (the lady to initially tagged me with this) says her secret is doing what you love to do and learning the power of saying “No”. I have to give a wholehearted “Hear Ye!” on this one. Although, my own ability to say “no” has been a difficult point to reach. At first it was because I was taking on any new project that came my way because I need to in order to really grow my business. These days, I have reached a point where I am able to pick and choose the project I really want to be involved in, but my nature of wanting to help people is sometimes a barrier to my real ability to say no. However, I have gotten MUCH better and abuse myself far less today than I used to
- Lorraine Pirihi’s number one tip is to do the most important thing first and don’t let anyone distract you. Easier said than done for me!
- Wendy @ eMoms uses a reverse reward system…ince we always will do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, I have found that leverage is the one thing that will absolutely guarantee that I will meet my own deadlines..
- Chris Garrett explains his productivity flow. He gets himself in the zone over there!