How to become more productive

Effective, Efficient and Productive.

Think about those words for a second. Do they all mean the same thing to you?

(It’s okay if it does.)

Here are the simple definitions

Efficient: You are Speedy Gonzales when it comes to doing something.

Effective: You prioritize what is important and not

Productive: You are efficient AND effective, because you get more of what is important done in a shorter amount of time.

What is your Goal?

The Goal is to be productive. That’s the big picture. The big Kahuna everyone should be tackling.

There is no point in being fast if you are spinning in a circle, getting sucked into a vacuum of time wasting tasks that are not on anyone’s priority list by a long shot.

So what do you do? You have to get organized first to make the rest of the tasks easier to accomplish.

1. Getting Organized

Scenario: You have 3 major projects on tight deadlines with many components

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Instead of jumping in and just working blindly, do a brain dump and make a To Do list for each project. Then mark each To Do item in the order it must get finished.

After you’re done, work on each project separately, focusing on the first two top priority items for the day. If you have time left over, then continue on what is considered to be the next priority item on each list.

Writing a To Do list for each project, and then prioritizing them may be akin to your wanting to stab a needle into your brain, but getting organized takes work.

No one may admire your To Do lists, but you must get organized if you are ever going to do actual, meaningful work without wasting time or forgetting an important component.

The next step is to observe what you are constantly getting hung up on, and set a process in place to deal with what you know are time-wasters.

2. Setting a process in place

Scenario: You have all of your mail stacked in one corner. But you’re getting side tracked yet again, because you are getting instant messaged, or Twittering while trying to make sense of what came across your desk for you.

You have to set a process for the major tasks that you do.

If every morning, going through your mail is important to you, then you need to turn off the computer monitor to give yourself a quick 15 minutes to a half hour to open everything and file them.

Repeat to yourself.

Ignore emails.

Ignore Twitter.

Ignore donuts in the hall.

Open mail.

When you touch a piece of mail, immediately open it, read it and then, sort them into three sections:

  1. Must reply to immediately: Put a sticker or a post-it with what action needs to be done so you don’t have to waste time re-reading the letter again
  2. Not Urgent, reply to later: You have to reply to it, but it doesn’t need a response today, or this week.
  3. Not Urgent, no reply needed: Make a quick note in your calendar if required, and if you don’t need to file it, then trash & shred it

Keep your processes simple.

Don’t over complicate things by making up new categories like: Must reply to immediately, but only at end of day after drinks.

Or how about Not Urgent, no reply needed, no need to file, but don’t trash until end of day.

Your process will certainly fail and you will get more frustrated than is necessary.

Now that you have two simple steps to help get yourself focused, and then being able to replicate that productivity, you will be able to tackle anything.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.