I am running a series of experiments focused on how to increase my personal productivity, then extrapolate that to how to help others and teams increase their productivity, and reduce their personal and professional frustrations.
#1 – Headspace
To increase your productivity you need to be doing the right thing at the right time in the right way, not trying to do many things – such as trying to focus on what you are currently doing while trying to remember what you need to do next. To create this you need headspace.
Reduce your cognitive load by not trying to remember everything. Write it down and get it out! It will change but by getting it out of your head you have the opportunity to think about it from a different perspective. You can see the extent of the work/activities you need to do and then organise them.
Add some lightweight structure to your list. There are heaps of ways of doing this. One very popular one is using a bullet journal, another is to use a kanban board or other visual planning system. You can start simple by just dividing a piece of paper into 4 segments and labelling them. I use this to help me organise what I need to do at work and at home, and then to understand what I need to do for me, and for others. You can add priorities on the axes if you wanted to.
When you write it down, use the nouns and verbs approach. (more about this in a later post).
Also try and think about when it needs to be done by. I don’t do a list per day, I do a list when I need a new one. I transfer non-completed items from my existing list (so I don’t have to try and remember them) and add new ones as I find them.
By getting your activities out of your head, putting a light structure around them, and adding a degree of priority or timeline to them, you will be able to better manage them. By creating a sense of control you will create a sense of headspace too. You will be able to think more clearly.
Productivity requires the space in your head to be used well. That space needs to be not cluttered by trying to remember things.