Boosting your productivity (by my definition, getting more of the right things done), doesn’t have to be a big, complex, or lengthy process. Rather, you’re better off doing a few small things, one at a time, that all add up to a big result. Here’s a few easy ways to get started on the road towards major productivity gains:
Get rid of what you don’t use. Since your desk is your “home base” of operations, keeping it clutter free and organized is essential to your productivity. You want to keep on your desk and within easy reach only those things that you need or use regularly. Next Monday, get a package of red dot stickers and keep them handy at your desk. Each time you use something, put a red dot on it. At the end of the week, you can remove any items that didn’t get a dot and discard them or put them in storage. If you’re not using something regularly, it’s simply getting in your way (and in the way of your productivity) – and it should go.
Please, get that paper under control! No matter what you do, if your paper isn’t managed, it’s hard to feel like you’re productive and in control. Disorganized stacks and piles of paper just don’t lend themselves to helping you stay productive. Develop a filing system and a paper management strategy that works well for you, and stick with it. For instance, set up a spot dedicated for working on your papers that need actions, and archive or file any papers that are completed. Doing this can clear up your desk and help you focus on what you need to work on. Your archives can live in a file cabinet, in boxes in your storage space, or digitally on your computer. They should be out of your way so you can give your attention to what you need to do next.
Use the right tech tools. I know the array of tech tools and apps out there can sometimes be overwhelming and bewildering, and with thousands and thousands of apps to choose from it can be hard to know where to get started. Begin by defining a particular challenge are that you’re having – maybe it’s keeping track of your notes and articles – and find a tool that can help manage it (in this case, Evernote would be a great bet). Maybe you’d like to be better able to manage your family’s activities – so find an online calendar that you can all share. Don’t go app-crazy and just sign up for the latest, coolest web service or mobile app – instead, start with a problem, and then look for a tool that can help. You can find a huge list of my top picks for productivity tools at www.CustomLivingSolutions.com/Productivity-Toolbox.
What are some of your favorite ways to boost your productivity – at home or at work?