Are you done with feeling so overwhelmed with your out of control email inbox, and the stacks of cluttered papers and sticky notes all over your desk?
Do you end your day with more tasks on your to-do list but you worked yourself to the bone?
Have you ever wished you could start your day well prepared, clear-headed, energized, and excited to make it happen?
You know what? You CAN.
Here's the secret keys.
5 Keys to Overcome Productivity Overwhelm
By following the 5 key steps in our Productivity Mastery series, you WILL....
- Create a vision for your life that you will be so excited for it will make you want to jump out of bed in the morning!
- Know exactly what you are busy about....and get it done.
- Take total control of the only thing we each have the exact same amount of every single day....time.
- Get your email inbox to zero and keep it that way so your email isn't running you, you are running your email.
- Unlock the secret potential of your future hidden in your daily habits.
Productivity Mastery Key Two - TASK MANAGEMENT
Task Management Key Concept - One-Track Mind
It is technically impossible for your brain to multi-task so don't even try. Trust me, it doesn't work and it causes more issues than it solves.
Use one task management system for all areas of your life - work, life, kids, home projects and so on.
Trying to keep a handle on all of your various tasks when they are scattered around everywhere or from memory is just not effective.
That being said, you should take breaks and switch the project or content you are working on occasionally to keep your brain active.
What is is not recommended is to try and do two or three or six things at once. You will not be effective, productive or accurate with any of them.
You need one master action/task list to draw from when planning your weekly and daily tasks and blocking your calendar covered in our blog Productivity Mastery Key Three - Commitments.
ONE well thought out, comprehensive and powerfully crafted master list driving your day-to-day work is what will move the needle on your goals, outcomes and your success!
Task Management - List Types
In our first blog, Productivity Mastery Key One - Prioritize, you went through the effort of identifying, listing, prioritizing and "big picture" categorizing all of your tasks.
Continuing on with the great work you did under key one, let's finish defining and polishing your master action list so you can start putting it into action!
A project is something that has more that 3-4 tasks involved to complete it so it is these specific items that go on your project list.
A separate project list is important because it shows you the scale of exactly what’s on your plate.
It also helps with scheduling your calendar as you can determine if you have 5 hours in your calendar to work on projects or 5 minutes to knock off some quick to do's.
When it comes to naming your projects, name them something inspirational or what you would like the end result to be.
Keep the items on your project list high level. Don’t get too detailed as you will flesh out all of the finer details over time when you sit down to plan your week.
If you get too detailed with your lists, things will change over the coming days, weeks and months so adding too much detail at this point is a waste of time.
Think bigger picture here.
Master Task List
Your master task list is all of your other tasks not related to a project and need more than 2-5 minutes to complete. There should be one action per line but again, resist the urge to be too detailed.
You can categorize your master task list even further such as location, people, attention level needed, calls to make, etc.
There are many ways to categorize tasks - it depends on your tasks and what works best for your life and work style.
Do not include recurring or repeating tasks, deadlines, reminders, doctor appointments or special occasions on your master task list. These get set up in your calendar and a reminder will automatically pop up.
The only caveat to this rule is for example, when a family members birthday is coming up. You can list on you master task list "Birthday card for mom", "make dinner reservations", etc. when the appropriate time comes.
Pending or Holding List
A pending or holding list is your list tracking all of the things you have delegated or are waiting for an answer on.
It could be a response or a decision you are waiting for or you need to follow up on a sales call or an outstanding payment from a client.
Watch/Read/Listen To List
An optional list I find handy is a watch/read/listen to list.
A friend might suggest a great Netflix series, your mentor recommends a business book to read or you hear a song on the radio and want to download it to your playlist.
Idea Parking Lot
An idea parking lot is where you put all those great ideas you have whose time has not come so you don't lose them.
Good lists will keep you focused on the right things at the right time.
Expert tip - makes notes on the go by sending yourself a voice note, jot it down on the notepad on your phone, send yourself an email or use an idea capture app like Braintoss (I use this app daily). Then when you get back to your desk, act on your note or put it in your task list to do later.
Task Management Concept - Eat the Frog
This is a concept I use myself when I procrastinate on a project or task.
Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a frog, you can go through the rest of your day knowing the worst is behind you.
Your "frog" is that task you are putting off. When you "eat the frog" first thing, you are actually retraining your brain over time to beat procrastination.
Overcoming procrastination is important because when you tackle those ugly projects every single day, you WILL accomplish your goals and ultimately realize your vision for your life.
My business coach, mentor and dear friend, Shane Fielder, Founder of Samurai Innovation always says "Small steps, done imperfectly, lead to monumental results." So true, Shane, so true.
Eventually your ugly frogs will start to taste like chicken.
Task Management Killer - Distractions
Distractions will knock you off your productivity game every single time. It is critical to your productivity to ruthlessly eliminate and manage distractions.
Social media, YouTube and Google are all designed to keep you hooked and going down rabbit hole after rabbit hole.
While it's fine to check your Instagram or watch a how-to video on YouTube in your leisure/break time, if you need to focus on getting your important work done, these distractions are huge time wasters.
All those incessant dings, pings, pop-ups and notifications are another way we squirrel. Turn them off.
Work in a dedicated space. If you don't have a separate office, that's ok. All you really need is a flat work surface, a bit of storage space, access to an electrical plug, task lighting and a good chair. Set yourself up in a your bedroom, the basement or in any corner of your house that is away from the hustle and bustle.
Put your phone on airplane mode (it's okay to let calls go to voicemail). Block your calendar. Disable all pop-up notifications. Close the 23 open browser windows on your computer. Shut your office door. Make sure the kids are busy or looked after.
- Every project and task from all of your various sources is on one list.
- All of your tasks are categorized and prioritized.
- You have organized your tasks into 3 - 5 different list types.
- Next step is to put these killer lists to work for you by setting up your calendar and focusing on your planning routines!
- Read the next posts in this blog series to master your productivity!
Productivity Mastery Key Three - COMMITMENTS
Read our next blog in our 5-part series Productivity Mastery Key Three - Commitments as we discuss the third key to overcome your productivity overwhelm.
Commitments.....your time isn't the main thing, it's the only thing.
Claim Your Exclusive Productivity Mastery E-Book
I truly hope you found the information in this blog useful, helpful and transformational.
I want you to experience the freedom and success that getting organizing and more productive brings.
The whole reason my company exists is to support you to move from frustration and overwhelm to confident and in total control of your work.
To claim your copy of my exclusive Productivity Mastery 5 Keys to Overcome Productivity Overwhelm e-book (valued at $49), use the link below to download your copy of this valuable resource.
You are ready for this!
Additional Resources & Links
Productivity Mastery Key 1 - PRIORITIZE
Productivity Mastery Key 2 - TASK MANAGEMENT
Productivity Mastery Key 3 - COMMITMENTS
Productivity Mastery Key 4 - EMAIL INBOX CONTROL
Productivity Mastery Key 5 - ROUTINES
Top 10 Productivity Secrets
Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity
FREE GUIDE: Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season
It's True You Can be Productive While Working From Home and Here's How
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