We live in a busy world. Distractions abound. It’s challenging to stay focused on the most important things. We have big plans and big dreams but are halted by never-ending to-do lists. My wife often reminds me to just do the next thing. Turns out simplicity is the answer. Truly we can WIN.
News flash, you get distracted. We battle distraction daily, hourly, in extreme cases, even minute by minute. By definition distractors are attention thieves which steal our focus from our tasks at hand. In some cases distractions can be avoided. In others, those thieves deserve our attention – just not right now.
Mark Twain said, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” Thus spurred self-development expert Brian Tracy’s book entitled Eat That Frog. He and many experts help us answer the age old question, “Should I tackle the easy tasks or difficult tasks first?”
If you’re like me, deciding what to tackle first can slow down your productivity before you even get started on your work. That’s why I typically recommend planning tomorrow’s tasks today.
If your tasks and projects seem to run right up to the final deadline, you aren’t alone. Parkinson’s Law states that your work expands to fill the time allotted for it. “How long will that report take?” your boss asks. “How long do I have?” you might respond. Bingo. Parkinson’s Law is a nemesis of productivity.
In our efforts to increase productivity, we find the strangest places to get work done. A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that he was working from the back of his SUV in the parking lot of a big box store while others did the shopping. I’ve written a blog post while zipping across Scotland by rail. Another friend of mine works in an open office space where nothing separates her desk from her coworkers’. Yet, every environment isn’t suited for productivity.
I tell everybody I know about Evernote. Please accept my apologies for not raving about it to you yet. Michael Hyatt refers to Evernote as his digital brain. I couldn’t agree more. Any piece of information I want to keep, have access to, or might need again goes into Evernote.
We are sedentary for 21 hours a day, according to juststand.org. The Washington Post wrote that the average office worker sits for about 10 hours a day, a combination of work and at-home chair-surfing. It’s a no-brainer that all this sitting is bad for your health. Yet many of us are unknowingly putting ourselves at risk for major health problems.
Staying organized and managing your to-do list is a challenge. There are a ton of systems and tools that claim to help you get more done. You can spend so much time shopping for a tool you don’t get anything done. What really matters is finding a strategy that works for you.
I’ve tried a lot of different methods to keep track of all that I have to get done: sticky notes, to-do lists, outlook tasks, white boards, note pads, and apps (lots of apps). Many of these were suitable options. All had their limitations.
“Do more with less” has become the mantra of today’s businesses. Sixty hour workweeks seem to be taking over. We complain about lack of time and manpower while more items stack up on our task lists. However, I remind you that necessity is the mother of invention. Allow me to introduce you to Parkinson’s Law and how we can embrace the pursuit of efficiency.