How to be more productive

We all want to be more productive. Whether at work, at home or on our side-hustle. We all want to achieve more and get to bed with the feeling of accomplishment.

Note that being more productive doesn’t mean being busier, working for a crazy amount of hours, getting so tired that you get burned out quickly.

Being more productive means understanding your schedule, understanding how you’re spending your hours, your minutes and ensuring that you’re taking advantage of every single second of the day.

Focus on being productive instead of busy.

Tim Ferriss

I find that most of us, at some point in our lives, start losing track of what is happening in our days.

As you get your calendar filled with meetings, you start revolving around those meetings, and the in-betweens are just for bathroom breaks, checking that news article, doing that slack call, checking messages, etc.

Those meetings and appointments fill around 70% of your calendar, leaving in-betweens of assorted time.

But remember that 70% is not 100%, and this is where we need to come in and take action.

Understanding how to take advantage of the 30% is the leap towards a highly productive day.

The solution I use is simple and effective.

It adds close to no friction to your day, and the data you get from it allow you to make a lot of informed decisions.

To me, the answer is tracking your time.

Now, before we go any further, act with caution when suggesting this to someone, even more, if that someone reports to you.

This can be seen like you want to monitor their work activity or how many hours they’re working.

That leads us to a discussion of work hours vs value delivered, but that’s a topic for another day. Just be careful.

Back to tracking your time.

What I do is simple. From the moment I wake up, I start tracking my day.

My suggestion is to create a parallel calendar and name it something like “Real Day”, “Real Week”, “Reality”.

This calendar is meant to be used alongside your daily calendar and help represent the truth about your day.

I use this solution because I always have my calendar open, so it’s an easy and seamless approach.

Usually every 15/30 min I review what I’ve done and write down a very summarised version of it.

I use a second calendar that is meant to be a complement to my regular calendar. You can see them on top of each other, and that gives you a perfect view of what happened in your day.

Using this approach, I create 15-minute events, and in the title, I add what I’ve done for that slot.

If I’ve spent my time doing what my main calendar says, then I add nothing.

Remember that this is not a dear diary. The goal is always to understand where your time went and how you devoted your energy.

What you want is a complement of your main calendar with every blank spot filled.

It can seem a bit busy at first, but you’ll get used to it.

When I reach the end of the day, it’s easier for me to understand why and how I achieved or not my goals for the day. Or even explain why I am so tired.

I found out, using this technique, that most days, I don’t take breaks. That was leaving me extremely tired physically and mentally.

At the end of the week, when I do my weekly retrospective, I get to look at how my days went and how I can fine-tune them to get closer to my goals faster — independent of what those goals are.

If you’re at a point that you don’t understand where your days are going, then this technique is going to be amazing for you.

Originally published at https://aleadersmindset.com on October 27, 2021.

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My goal is to teach every leader who is still starting their journey, what I learned late in mine. 🚀

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