Today is World Productivity Day, a day to be recognized as a good time to take a moment and reflect upon how productive or unproductive you actually are. Lately, I have been VERY unproductive. While I have been living a juicy life, full of new opportunities, there have been days when I feel like I am drowning, attempting to keep up with this thing called life. Between the play, work (summer reading…yo!), the move, and school, I just feel like I want to take a rest on the couch while Netflix streams.
In my e-mail today there were some tips from productivity expert Johan Gunnars that I am hoping to incorporate into my life.
Don’t say yes to everything. While many people set high productivity standards for themselves, it’s necessary to be realistic about your time limitations. It’s okay to say no to requests from others—or even from yourself—and not feel bad about it. Instead, be proud of what you have accomplished and confident in the tasks you’ve chosen to prioritize.
This summer I realized that the summer program at the library is NOT a camp. The Library does not have the resources nor the space to be everything to all people. Instead of trying to be a Jack of all trades and mastering none, I chose a few programs to implement and concentrated on quality over quantity.
Use your commute for less intensive tasks. Many people consider the daily commute as valuable productivity time. While that’s true, this time doesn’t have to be spent taking care of your most stressful tasks. Instead of answering work emails or crunching numbers, use the commute to check off less intensive tasks that still make you productive, such as brainstorming play-date ideas for your child, calling your mother to say hi, listening to a podcast you’ve been wanting to tune into, or even using this time to relieve some stress by singing along with the radio!
My commute is all of 12 minutes but I have decided that these 12 minutes will be spent catching up on a few podcasts. My newest favorite one to listen to is NPR’s Code Switch. It’s new and only three episodes in but so far everything they’ve said has been on point.
Live by your organized calendar. There’s nothing that helps you stay productive better than an organized, beautiful, and functional calendar. Seek out a calendar app that reflects your personality, doesn’t bore you with a grey and lackluster interface, adapts to your life, and allows you to easily move appointments, send meeting invites, link your emails or Facebook events, and see your list of reminders all in one place. The right calendar app will ensure that you’ll never miss an event and can take pride in your completed tasks.
Writing stuff down has been a life saver! Last month during my Art Sanc class, one of the artists said he writes out how he imagines his classes will go and creates his plans from that. I tried this for summer and it works. I was able to write a step by step plan for my volunteers, have planned programs for the rest of the summer program and even started planning for fall. Home…another story. The Bee and I are sloooowly packing, decluttering and clearing which brings me to:
Evaluate and eliminate time and money wasting relationships. Ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of marketing emails, texts or calls you receive? How about the acquaintances whose invitations you keep declining? By assessing your email inbox, friendships, and commitments, you can easily declutter your life by unsubscribing. Remove yourself from any pesky or irrelevant retail mailing lists and focus on spending your time with those you truly want to spend your time with.
You know, some of the things that I am holding on to just are not worth it. Yes, I may have paid a certain dollar amount for a thing but if it’s sitting and collecting clutter, serve only for the cats to attack, or just get in the way, it is time for these things to be released. Clearing the clutter is a great way to see what is actually being used, what you have and gets rid of the need to have to get extras that you have to replace because you can’t find the two others you bought. (Wait…is that just me?)
Quit multi-tasking. It’s difficult in this day and age to tune out all of the distractions and focus on the task at hand. Social media, a buzzing phone, happy children begging to play, emails constantly arriving, a never-ending to-do list, or even “worker’s block” all make it tempting to jump from task to task. By putting your phone in the other room on silent, taking your email offline, or pre-arranging play dates, nannies, or a convenient nap time, you can convince yourself to quit multi-tasking and focus on one task at a time. In the end, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish!
I swear that my attempts to do more than one thing usually results in NOTHING getting done. At first I thought that I was a failure but nope, multi-tasking is not my thing. I have made peace with not being a multi-tasking individual and life goes on.
Want some more information about productivity? Check out Johan Gunnars, ‘s free iOS app Simpliday—Meetings, Reminders & Email in One. This new iPhone calendar app allowing users to achieve a more organized and efficient life by bringing together meetings, reminders and email in one customizable, beautiful, user-friendly app.
Johan Gunnars is an entrepreneur and CEO and co-founder of , a Gunnars experience in productivity, software, e-commerce, consumer electronics, among others, leads him to focus on how companies and products can make a difference while connecting to the overall vision and strategy. Gunnars is based in Malmo, Sweden. For more information about Gunnars and Simpliday, visit Simpliday.