#LeadandLift | Episode 51
What do you do when you suddenly get free time? Do you foresee that you’ll be spending it frantically looking for something to do or reading your inbox in order to pass the time?
How can we make that free time more fruitful?
Even if you consider yourself to be highly productive and organized, we always have something that we could improve on. The journey of constantly striving to improve never ends!
That’s why when I was in the library, the book called “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen caught my attention. I applied some of the tips I’ve learned from the book and I saw progress. In this post, I’m going to share with you three tips that will improve your productivity.
Whenever you receive an email or a potential task, remember that this is a moment that you need to make a decision. Deciding to not decide drains your psychological tank. That’s why, it’s important to have a system in place so that you don’t unnecessarily spend any willpower or time in making a decision.
“You’ve been thinking about your inbox the wrong way. It’s a processing station, not a filing station.” - Chabidaye Jaglal Ramnath
Do you believe that your inbox is a storage? That idea might be the reason why your messages are piling up. To counter this, you have to apply the two-minute rule. Here’s how it works:
First, read an email and see if there is an actionable step that you could do in two minutes. If the action would take two long, file it away in the action folder and do it whenever you get free time. If the email is basically junk, then you must immediately discard it so that it doesn’t take space in your inbox.
The two-minute rule is also applicable to many other aspects of life. Having a place to put things so that they’re not in the way really makes a difference. Think of the things in your life that are out of place in the house or in your office. Create a processing system for them so that you could make a decision on where it goes and that you could get it off of your mind.
If you are already a very well organized and highly productive person, chances are high that you already have a system in place. Therefore, whenever we delegate tasks to others, we unconsciously assume that they too have a system in place. When things don’t get accomplished or if they pass their work too late, it may be that they don’t have a system.
What do you do then? You have to help them remember and you don’t have to nag them or annoy them in order to do that. You can help them with one little change to how you send your email.
In the subject line of the email, put first a due date so that when that person scans their email quickly, they’ll see the deadline and know that they need to get something done by a certain time.
Also, put the action that you need them to do in the subject line so that they can quickly see what’s required of them.
By putting in the due date and the action required of them, you’ll be helping them see what tasks they need to do.
Have you ever attended a meeting, spent one hour talking about important things yet when the meeting ends you feel like you completely wasted your time? We can avoid that by asking one simple question: “What’s the next step?”
Many times, meetings end and there’s no clarity on who’s going to do what. Asking the question of “what’s the next step” or “what’s the next action” creates clarity on what we have to do next. It helps the owner of the task to identify and take accountability for that item.
People get more than a thousand thoughts daily and some of those thoughts come up, are ignored, and aren’t resolved or taken note of. When ideas and thoughts come up and they are ignored, they will keep coming up throughout the day or even after.
"By writing down those things out of your mind, you capture it in a safe place and it allows your mind to let it go." — Chabidaye Jaglal Ramnath
Those thoughts are open loops and what you have to do is to get a place where you can capture those thoughts. Collect those open loops and put it down on your journal, schedule an action related to those that are important and put them in your calendar.
Pick one tip that resonates with you. Implement it and I promise you, you’ll see your productivity increase. Not only that, you’ll also see your confidence increase because you can look at yourself and see that you are able to keep your everyday items under control. Also, you’ll be able to take on more things because you’re organized.
Which of these tips resonate with you? Which one are you going to implement today in your life?
Do you feel you’re being as productive, influential and successful as you want to? Are you struggling to stay focused, to get ahead, or to better influence your team or customers? Have you reached a plateau in your progress and struggled to breakthrough to the next level of joy, power and achievement? I can help!
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