How To Be MORE Productive In Your Every Day Life (8 Tools)
The battle between achieving goals and finding the time to achieve them is a battle as old as any. The amount of time our family, job, hobbies and other responsibilities take feels never ending. However, it's our responsibility to manage our time wisely. If any one of these areas began to lack it may seem as though our world is crumbling. Instead of download the latest app that promises to solve your productivity problems, solve them with tools that you already have or use.
Here are 8 tools or productivity hacks to be more productive in every day life:
The word, clutter, is typically used when a space becomes unorganized and/or overcrowded. This doesn't just mean an office or bedroom, it also includes a phone/computer or more importantly, a brain. The goal here is to declutter these spaces which in turn removes distractions and allows better focus. This is often why people get more accomplished if they work at a coffee shop for the day. Clutter is the enemy!
My advice would be to start with your office and other working spaces, then move to your phone and computer and finish with your brain. The way to declutter your brain is by first discovering your purpose then developing a plan to living out said purpose. It's much more difficult than it sounds but has the power to implement a large amount of personal growth and productivity.
2. Uninterrupted Time Blocks
The goal here is simple: to cut out all distractions for a set period of time. I often do this for 2 hour stretches at the end of the day. I shut my phone off and lock myself in a space to be productive. Right now, for example, my phone is off and I am sitting at my desk writing this article. There isn't any music or tv on in the background. No one else is here. The focus is to write this article until it's 100% finished. Once it's done, I'll turn my phone back on. This is one of my favorite tools as it has allowed me to accomplish tasks much quicker than normal.
**It's OK to shut your phone off. Don't let your mind convince you that you NEED it on. This is very hard for people, in todays age, and it was for me too. I now look forward to it. It's liberating.**
3. Saying NO
This is the most difficult tool to acquire on this list. It's hard saying no to invites from friends, family, coworkers and others. The feeling of missing out is real! Again, don't let your mind convince you that you NEED to be part of these activities. For example, I was recently invited to a gathering by a very close friend of mine. I could have re-scheduled my plans for the night and made it. However, it was not the right thing to do as it went against my goals. I said no and focused on the tasks that needed to be done. I can't say that I always make this choice but I can say that when I do, there is a large amount of momentum and time gained. Say No!
4. Planner / Online Calendar
Since high school, I have been using one of these Cambridge calendars. I would be absolutely lost without it. I use it for remembering events, tasks, birthdays, notes and so much more. You might be saying "It's 2021 dude! Use an online calendar" and you'd be right. There is that option as well. Use whichever one is best for you. I'll keep doing it old school because that's what works for me. Either way, use something to keep your days organized.
Take your planner skills to the next level by planning the following day each night within your planner. Being disciplined is sticking to your plans even when your attitude changes. Evaluate how much you veer from your plans each day and you will see how disciplined you really are.
Another tool you can use is "time-blocking". Set time limits for tasks to better utilize your time. People often say that they don't have enough time to do something. However, how much time are they wasting each day? Only you can answer that question for yourself. If you really want to do something, use this tool and make the time.
5. Audible (or alternative)
Reading is essential to personal growth. Videos, podcasts and people are great tools for learning but there's nothing better than books to learn from. I can write an article or make a video in matter of days. People often dump years of information into a book. This is why it will always be the number one source for knowledge.
Like most people, I have a busy schedule. Audible allows me to listen to books while I'm driving and sometimes at the gym. I typically finish a book every week by doing this. It has been essential to my personal growth. Find my book recommendations HERE.
6. Google Drive (Docs, Spreedsheets)
Having access to documents, no matter where you are, is essential. For example, I track my diet and fitness in a Google Doc. When I'm at work, I log in and access it from my work computer. When I'm at the gym, I access it using my phone. When I'm home, I access it from my laptop. This makes my life easier and more organized which in turn, allows for more productivity. If you're not using Google Drive, you should be!
Most people take notes. Whether it be reminders on sticky notes or thoughts in a journal, most people jot down notes at different times in their lives. However, the number of people who do this on a daily basis is much less. Theres even less people organizing those daily notes and using them to become more productive. That's the goal here. There are many ways to do this. Use trial and error to find what works for you. For me, texting myself reminders, thoughts or anything else works best. A couple times a week, I will transfer the notes, texted to myself, either to my planner or a Google doc.
Taking notes are important because you don't want to forget important thoughts that come to your mind. They came to your mind for a reason and it's your responsibility to siphon thought them. Practice doing this often. That's the difference maker.
8. Entertainment Time Limits
Set time limits on the entertainment activities that interrupt you from your tasks. Personally, YouTube takes up too much of my time. So, every time I open YouTube there is usually a maximum amount of time I will let myself waste. It's important to understand the difference between entertainment and happiness. I could sit and watch YouTube videos for the rest of my life and accomplish nothing. I would be entertained yet I wouldn't be happy. Entertainment avenues often distract people from ever pursuing true happiness. It's important to find out which activities you spend doing are entertainment and which ones are passions.
Let me know if this helped you in any way. Thanks for reading!
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Greg is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native with a passion for personal growth.