I regularly get asked for my number one productivity tip, what one thing made the biggest impact on my productivity and my life in general. It is a difficult question to answer as there are so many tips that I share regularly, things that I have changed in my life, things that I stopped doing, others I started doing. I decided to ask the other productivity geeks, experts or as Mike Vardy managing editor of Lifehack would call us “Productivityists”, what is your #1 Productivity tip?
And here are their replies:
Lauren Rothlisberger blogs and consults over at www.getmegeeky.com. A Mom of 3 girls, 5 and under, she loves focusing on technology and productivity. Lauren also recently published and ebook called, A Mom’s Guide to Evernote and a new video manual:A Non geeks guide to Evernote
Lauren’s #1 Tip: Remove all Distractions
“Alright so your probably thinking, duh, this is pretty obvious. But I don’t think we actually apply this to our day. Sometimes it means turning off the WIFI connection or email client. But my favorite distraction to focus on is television. I so often hear people say they don’t have enough time in their day to start a blog or test out their small business idea. But they seem to still have time to post on Facebook about the latest Bachlorette episode. Just try a personal experiment. Cut out all television for a month and see what happens. Chances are you have more time than you think. Another idea is recording your must-see TV and watching it while folding laundry or some other small task. I hope this helps carve out more time in your day so you can focus on what is most important.”
Jeremy Roberts is a technology and productivity blogger at Cloud Productivity. He writes to help you find the most effective tips, tricks and tech to be a more productive and efficient human. He has authored Wunderbook: Life Organized with Wunderkit, an ebook that guides you to take advantage of Wunderkit to get your life back under control.
Jeremy’s #1 Tip: Manage your calendar
“When you don’t know what your day holds, you end up doing nothing productive. Take some time at the end of each day, or each week, and block out chunks of time in your calendar (even just on your phone) for the next couple of days, or even the next week if you can. It makes a huge difference when you’re ready to get to work and you know exactly what needs to be done and when. If you’re not sure how long a particular task will take, block out 1.5 to 2 hours. I find that after this time either the task is done, or you’ve had enough of it. Then, if it’s not complete, review it again at the end of the day or week, then repeat. Starting the day with an agenda will have a huge impact on your productivity, stress levels, focus and your procrastination.”
Brett Kelly is a writer from Southern California. He works as the Developer Education Manager for Evernote and likes his family and his friends. He makes a great cup of coffee. Brett is also author of Evernote Essentials The Definitive Guide to Getting Started with Evernote
Brett’s #1 Tip: Write it down
“Always have a way to record ideas, tasks, whatever, no matter what you’re doing. And then, obviously, do something with what you’ve written down. Be honest with yourself about what you have time for, If you’ve had a project on your list for three months and it’s not moving, get rid of it and don’t feel bad. You’re only one person and all of your work will suffer if all you do is agree to take on more stuff.”
Neen James, MBA CSP, is the President/CEO of Neen James Communications, LLC.An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, Neen delivers engaging keynotes that have educated, and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life. Neen also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics. Find out more about Neen, visit her at www.neenjames.com.
Neen’s #1 Tip: Conquer the world in 15 minutes
“You can achieve an amazing amount of highly productive, focused activity in just 15 minutes. The ’15 minute rule’ as I call it, is the secret to super-productivity. In 15 minutes you can call a client, write a thank you note, exercise, meditate, make a healthy meal, have a real conversation with someone you adore. No one has an hour anymore but people will invest 15 minutes with you. Break tasks into 15 minutes, set the timer, ready, set go!”
Chris Smith is a technologist, writer, and husband. He holds a degree in MIS and CMPSC from Penn State. Chris is also interested in personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done. Check out his writing at devburner.net
Chris’ #1 Productivity Tip:Have a Productivity System
“Having a productivity system (whether it’s a GTD one or just a simple todo list) is important, but it’s only as good as the information we put into it as well as how often we review it. A process including a weekly review is vital to my own productivity. I find the times that I’m the least productive is when I don’t center myself with my trustworthy productivity system and let it help guide my work through the day. Having a system that is used and useful is the most important thing to keep me productive and creative day-in and day-out.”
Tracey Foulkes is a keynote conference speaker and productivity specialist at Get Organised . She is passionate about organisation & inspires businesses, teams & individuals to maximise & maintain productivity. You can see her in action here or you can check out her blog www.getorganised.co/blog here.
Tracey’s #1 Productivity Tip: Accountability
“If you are struggling to shift from doing high focus, high reward tasks over what is quick, fast and easy; find one or more accountability buddy to help you stay focused and on track. A daily/weekly/monthly/annual check-in might be just what you need to shift gears into taking productive action.”
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD super dad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar over at his blog.
Timo’s #1 productivity tip: Wake up early
“Especially in the family environment, this tip guarantees that I get work done. I wake up every morning between 05 – 5.30 AM and start working on the most important task of the day. Also, this tip ensures that I’m not spending too much of our common family time later in the by day working.”
Rafal Moryson runs a personal productivity blog thinkinprojects.com. Rafal says “I’m passionate about personal productivity and technology that lets us achieve more. I love making things work and I’m always on the lookout for more effective ways of doing things from managing email to projects to reading and learning. Becoming familiar with different productivity techniques and tools allowed me to be engage in a lot of different areas that interest me. I am able to merge work, family, triathlon and endurance training with running as well as reading and learning about productivity, business and technology. It’s a lot of things to juggle but I really enjoy it.”
Rafal’s #1 Productivity Tip: Plan
“Plan – plan your day, week, month and year. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been realizing how powerful the technique of planning is. It provides clarity, direction and focus. It lets you make decisions that fit into your long term goals and strategies. It’s also a basis of effective action taking when all steps have been laid out. Planning sounds complex and lengthy but only if you allow for that. Really on individual level it’s very simple. Define what you need/want to accomplish and make a list of necessary steps. I’m trying to make it as simple as possible so I mainly use paper or digital tool like Evernote. There is this quote that no plan survives a battlefield but without one your are better off not stepping on to it. So plan, do and adapt the plan.”
Daniel Gold is a productivity & presentation design consultant, keynote speaker, and author of the internationally acclaimed Evernote eBook on how to leverage both Evernote and the Getting Things Done time management system and the Official Springpad eBook!
Daniel’s #1 Productivity Tip:Focus on the process and not the tool
“All too often we get bogged down with which app to use and end up tinkering or “hacking” for so long that suddenly, we’ve spent more time playing and not enough time doing. To truly achieve a sense of balance in your productivity workflow, focus in on what system you’re going to use and how you want to get things done. What few things must absolutely go right in order for you to be successful in your productivity system? If you didn’t have an app, how would you do it in the physical world? Master your workflow and soon you’ll realize what tool or app to use!”
Mike Vardy is the Managing Editor at Lifehack. An independent writer, speaker, podcaster and “productivityist”, you can read more of his writing at Vardy.me He is @mikevardy on Twitter.
Mike’s #1 Productivity Tip: Create space for yourself
“Take the time to create space for yourself and you’ll create the space to make time for yourself. Basically this boils down to planning. Set yourself up so that you have the space (mental, emotional, environmental, etc.) so that you can make the best of the time you have. Do that, and you’ll be able to take the time away from everything and simply enjoy life.”
My advice to you is to chose one tip and implement it in your daily life, change can be daunting when there are so many things that need to change but making one small change can make a big difference in your personal and professional life.
But remember “Productivity is worthless if you don’t enjoy the journey.” It doesn’t matter how much or little you achieve today, tomorrow or this week as long as you had fun while doing it.
Add a comment below and let us know what your number one tip is.