Tag Archive: Productivity

Dec 28

Limit Your Input to Increase Productivity

Chris over at the productivity blog The Art of Non-Comformity wants you to say no. Frequently. So frequently in fact that the quality of the things you say yes to rises exponentially.

Chris advocates radical exclusion as a solution for overwhelming demands and new inputs. Rather than stretch yourself thin saying yes to everything and ultimately failing to deliver you should focus on the commitments and projects you really want to make something of:

I may or may not have a good excuse for why I failed to honor the commitment, but one thing?s for sure: if I make a habit of it, I will soon lose the trust of the person who had relied on me.

To prevent this from happening, I sometimes practice the fine art of radical exclusion. This is where I deliberately ignore or decline any number of inputs, messages, or requests for my attention in order to focus on what I decide is more important.

By using his limited reserve to energy and attention to tend to the things most important, the quality of the time he spends on things in turn rises and creates a superior widget—whatever that widget may be: a product, a design, time spent with family. Having spent most of my caffeine fueled 20s taking on mountains of projects, I found I too have embraced his notion of radical exclusion. How do you deal with tactfully declining some commitments and negotiating others to be more manageable? Photo by Dave Parker.

Sep 15

How to Kickstart a Low-Productivity Day

Editor: Welcome guest author Jason Womack who’s got some advice on how to get back to work on a slow day.
You just don?t want to do it anymore. No more task folders, no more email labeling, no more index cards in your back pocket. You just don?t have the energy today; the power of your productivity is at a low ebb. What do you do now? How do you flip that switch to get going again? Photo by Stewf.

Here are five simple things you can do, not related to making lists or reworking your system (again), which will inspire you to get back on the right track.

  • Walk around. Anywhere will do. You can walk around your office. Visit a floor you haven?t been to before. Or maybe you have time to go around the block or visit that park down the street. It?s all about looking for something positive you have never seen. Taking time is smell the roses may be just a clich?, but those roses could be anything. A restaurant you?ve never seen. A friend?s cubicle. Some kids playing ball. Life is going on in the world around you. You just need to notice.
  • Set an alarm and work on just one thing for that period of time. Maybe it?s just 5, 10 or 20 minutes. Maybe it?s two minutes. But at the end of the time, you will notice what?s it?s like to experience real focus. And if you complete the task, you have something to anchor your day around. You?ve gotten at least one thing really done.
  • Open up a best-selling business book to a random page and read for five minutes. Let you mind apply whatever your reading to whatever you are working on. There is bound to be inspiration for a great idea or a new way of doing things.
  • Contact someone you admire. If the internet has done anything, it has flattened the world and enabled us to contact people we respect in many different areas—your business, entertainment, politics or writing. Like an author? Find their web site and drop them an email. Make a list of all the people you want to meet someday and see how many of them you can find on the web. You?d be surprised how many respond.
  • Send postcards to two friends you know you live out-of-state. It will make you appreciate where you live more than ever.

In short, here are some things that will get you going again:

  • Appreciation of your surroundings.
  • The accomplishment of a job done well.
  • Connection with others.

That formula may not take a long time to finish, but at the end, you?ll feel brand new and be able to tackle the toughest tasks you have around you with more energy.

What are the switches that flip your energy back on on an unproductive day? Let us know in the comments.

Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA shares productivity tips that make it possible to do more without the added stress of working harder. For more productivity ideas and up-to-date posts, visit www.JasonWomackBlog.com.

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