Tuesday 3 January 2017

Getting things done: How to increase your productivity

Welcome back to my blog! I hope to start regularly posting again. For a long time I have not posted, mostly due to getting really busy; well really though I have not been making time to blog. So here goes to a long list of many useful and insightful blogs that I hope create an opportunity for people to digest information and also to create a dialogue, after all I get alot out of writing posts by being able to consolidate and exploring ideas through the writing process, as well as gaining different perspectives by people getting in contact with me and leaving comments and questions.

So let me get into what I would like to talk about. I have been planning to post an article for several weeks now (since about mid November). Coming to the end of the year, I thought it would be very relevant to talk about self improvement and the like, because it is a great opportunity  to review the year that has gone, and start planning for the year ahead.

Recently I have really started to self-analyse myself. What I found is that alot of the time I am not as productive as I would like to be. I put that down lack of executive functioning skills. I found that my main difficulties were:
  • scheduling and time management
  • moving from task to task
  • prioritising
  • keeping on task
  • poor working memory
  • monitoring my mental and physical state
  • staying organised

So getting back to why I think living more simply is the way to make life easier. Easier in the way of making goals more achievable, and life less stressful

I think people are in such a rush these days their lives are set on autopilot. They go from one thing to the next, or even worse try to do multiple things at once, but never seem to get enough done.

This is why it is important to first take time to think about what really matters to you. When looking at my health I like to conceptualise three separate, but interrelated areas. These areas are 1) physical 2) Mental/emotional/spiritual 3) Social. You may have some to add as well. My planning process involves writing a year plan first.

Find a quiet space where you can dedicate atleast 20 minutes to this exercise. Ask yourself this, if it was your last year on Earth what would YOU like to achieve. Do you feel good by helping other people? What are your passions and strengths? Do you like to travel or do you want meet new people?

Once you complete this you can set monthly goals and within that you can stategise what you can do each week. The trick is to break down tasks that seem insurmountable at first. If you break it down into daily, weekly and monthly goals you see that you need to focus on each step of the mountain you are climbing one by one. This way instead of becoming overwhelmed, your goals become attainable with hard work and dedication.

When creating a schedule there are things to keep in mind. You get the most done when a slot of time is allocated where you work exclusively on one project, free of distractions. I personally like the pomodoro technique. You allocate each goal or project a timeslot of 25 minutes, then take a break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

I find that while I work I will think of new or other things I need to do. That’s where lists come in. I personally use Google Keep because I tend to loose pieces of paper. Also google keep automatically syncs to the cloud and works with android ios and as an add on application on the chrome web browser which allows windows and mac users to use it.

This first part of this blog gives you the basics of starting to organise and take control of your life. Please let me know what you think of it and any of your own suggestions of what should be in part 2. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog.

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