Productivity is You! It comes about because of your vision, your habits, your workflow, your review systems, and lastly your tools. Only you can be as productive as you want to be. Only you can learn to say no to those demands on your time that distract you. And lastly, only you can learn to ignore all those thoughts you have that slow you down, make you move like your crawling through a river of molasses. All of this you can overcome. You are in charge of you.
Build into your life good habits. Some habits you want to ingrain are;
Get enough sleep.
Always do the most important thing first.
Make it a habit to review your open tasks at the end of each day and pick the three most important to work on first.
Ignore distractions. When you are working on a task work on it until it is done or the status changes to pending.
Build into your schedule time for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reviews. These will keep you on track and enable you to get those things done that must be done.
Meditate: In the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza he talks meditation as being a synonym for self-observation and self-development. He asks how can you change from an old mode of operation to a new one unless you can see what old and new look like. Another way of looking at this is if you want to improve you have to understand where you are starting your journey.
Workflow is all about clarity, concentration, and focus. Clarity means that when you sit down to do work your mind is not thinking of three other things. This happens when you know that what you working on is what needs to be done today. Concentration means simply that when you start a task that is what you concentrate on. You ignore the notifications from your email and other distractions and do the task at hand. And lastly, your focus is inherent in everything we do when we are being productive or want to be more productive. If you allow all of the distractions to interfere with completing the task at hand you will waste a lot of time and energy stopping and restarting the task.
This probably should be just systems. You need a way of capturing your tasks, meetings, and commitments- neither in an analog way on paper or in a digital way (more on this under tools.) Then you need a system that shows you all of this information in a meaningful way. And finally, we get to the review systems part. Those people I know who are very productive build in time to review what is going on daily, weekly, and at least monthly. Some whose lives are complicated add in quarterly and annual reviews. The purpose of these reviews is simply to keep you on track. To keep you doing the most important next step in your life.
There are many tools to help you. They can be characterized as either analog (paper and pencil) to digital (kept on your computer.) Here are four analog planners and a link to the best of planners’ articles. These are only a few of those available. Throughout my working life, I have bought and tried all of them except the Bullet journal. None of the ones I tried resonated with me so I moved on to a digital system.
Bullet Journal by Ryder Carrol http://bulletjournal.com
Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt http://fullfocusplanner.com
There are as many varieties of digital systems as there are analog systems. I am only going to list the three general life operating systems for you. None of these come pre-formatted like the analog planners, so they require some thought and planning on your part. What you get for that time spent planning is a custom system that fits you. The digital systems that can be used to build your life operating system are generally categorized as note-taking applications.
Obsidian is described as a powerful knowledge base that works on local Markdown files. The idea of local files may appeal to those who are concerned about the security of certain information they store in their notes. The three fundamental values of Obsidian:
Local-first, markdown plain text;
Link as first citizen
As extensible as possible
Obsidian is the newest Application to enter the note-taking and personal knowledge base arena.
RoamResearch is described as a note-taking and personal knowledge Manager that links the notes, words, and pages in a bi-directional manner. It works much as our brain works in that sense. It is older than Obsidian and has already built quite a following. I find it extremely useful for my personal knowledge base of notes that I can refer to when I am writing a blog article. Many people are using it as a more general life operating system but I think it has a ways to go yet for this use. A life Operating System is an application that allows you to include all of your systems related to your living in one place.
Notion is the oldest note-taking personal knowledge management applications. It has been around and used by a wide audience to build many systems including life operating systems.
Notion provides a more hierarchical approach to storing your information.
Right now I use Notion for building all of my Life Operating systems that I mentioned above, except for storing and relating my notes. This means I have two tools that I use on a daily basis, but as RoamResearch matures I may someday revert to using only one.
You can be productive! I will focus on a blog a week on each of the above steps to help you along the way. Then in a month or two, I will open my Notion course for Novices and if you are interested to help you build your life Operating System.