Simply Improving Your Productivity

Background – How to be More Productive

I’m spending a lot of time looking at tools and ways to improve my workflow – to get more done, to work smarter. Inspired by a post by Danny Schreiber of Zapier, I redid some of my workflow processes.

Zapier is a workflow tool that connects apps together as when you add a note in Nozbe it adds a note in Evernote).

I noticed the post was a write-up of Scott’s Hanselman’s talks on his Productivity. This gave it instant credibility.

Scott is a programmer on the Web Platform Team at Microsoft. He is also the is the creator of the awesome Hanselman Ultimate Tools List each year. A must read.

Scott’s talk was an integration of some tips I’ve heard of.  This time, they inspired.

Here’s what I’m doing now.

  1. Set up Chrome extension Momentum as my new page to place  3  goals for the day. Am doing the same for the week, month and year.
  2. Set up my iPhone clock to sound the alarm at 50 minutes of working. Take a 15-minute break. Repeat.  After several cycles, I take a break for lunch and a short power nap. Often I’ll take a few hours off as that’s a low energy time for me.  I’ll return to work into the evening with a dinner break, using the same cycles.  See Pomodoro Technique.  This structure, aside from the 50 minutes on/15 minutes off, vary by the urgency of my workload.
  3. Start my work day by planning what I want to do & deciding on a focus & setting 3 goals. Today they are a. to clear my psychic overhead – unsubscribing to emails I don’t need, b. cleaning out bookmarks, and c. deciding on which 5 blogs I’ll follow. Writing this post also clears an area of overhead.
  4. After  a quick review of emails for website alerts, I leave email answering until noon. I’m getting a ton more done this am.
  5. Keeping replies to 2-3 sentences.  If I want to write more, I’ll write it up a blog post somewhere and send a link. This way I’ll have it for future use. See “saving keystrokes” part of Scott’s talk.
  6. Focusing on one thing at a time.
  7. Staying in the workflow – staying interested.
  8. At the end of the day, week, month, and year: review – what three things did I get done?

Read Danny’s article for more details and links.

The future

Check back for updates. I’m always hoping to improve. I’m now using Todoist with priority flags instead of Momentum.

A challenge: distraction by all the shiny productivity toys.  I’ve not been able to keep my blogs to 5.

I’d love to hear what tools or processes helps you with your productivity.  Please discuss in comments.