Here’s How You Can Become More Productive.

Understanding attention and prioritization are key to beating procrastination.

And it starts by understanding two very important things.


Believe it or not, but there are a million things that want your attention right now. From those autoplaying facebook videos to friends to candy crush notifications — all are in need of your attention.

Successful people — or people who can afford it — employ layers of people whose job it is to narrow the attention filter.

That is, corporate heads, political leaders, movie stars, and others whose time and attention are especially valuable have a staff of people around them who are effectively extensions of their own brains, replicating and refining the functions of the pre-frontal cortex’s attention filter.

Your attention is extremely valuable so the first step to start being productive is to manage it wisely. Your attention is a currency. Don’t go around giving it to anyone and everything.


Once you have figured out where you are going to spend your attention on, you need to break the complexities of your work down into smart tasks/goals and then prioritize stuff.

Not everything needs action in your life right away but there are certain things in immediate need of your check. These are your Most Important Tasks or MIT’s.

Understand prioritization with this:


If you have ever put oil in a car then you know what a funnel is. A funnel has a wide opening at the top and as oil runs down it.

The opening becomes smaller and smaller until the oil reaches the engine, which is the ultimate goal.

Now, your funnel has n layers from top to bottom where n are the number of tasks you have.

The top 3 layers of your funnel consist of your 3 MIT’s. Now you can’t move to the bottom of the funnel (which is your goal) until and unless you have cleared the 3 layers.

You have to have to start from the top and move to to the bottom. As they say — eat the frog first so that the rest of your day becomes less chaotic!

Techniques

If you are with me till here, I am sure you want a better control over your time. Here’s how:

2 Minute Rule


In his popular book “Getting Things Done,” David Allen outlines this technique, which is simply this: When a task arises that you know you can complete in two minutes or less, do it immediately.

“I love it,” said Christian Sutardi, cofounder of Lolabox, “because it’s not a groundbreaking rule. It’s no fancy app or software. It doesn’t even require learning or dedication, and you can start doing it today.”

Workstation Popcorn


This technique works like this: You take n number of tasks (let’s say your most important tasks or MIT’s for the day) and assign them n different locations.

These locations can be your usual work desk, your favorite coffee shop, your garden or anywhere else.

The only constraint is this: your chosen spots should be such that during the shift from one task to another, you physically move to the new spot.

You can use this time to practice your zen, take a break from your screen, and get some movement into your day. Keep your phone in your pocket, and move.

Take a break away from work for at least thirty minutes. Whatever you do, don’t go back to the same place you just left!

Pomodoro


In the pomodoro technique you choose a task and break it down into tasks of 25 minutes each.

Now that 25 minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato.

This is a really helpful technique if you use it correctly and sincerely.

The idea is this:
-You decide on the task to be done.
-Set the pomodoro timer (try not using your phone for this because it will distract you) to 25 minutes.
-Work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x.
-Take a short break of 5 minutes.
-After four pomodori, take a longer break (15–30 minutes)

You can get a lot of stuff done by using Pomodoro. Chris Winfield has written an excellent piece on it — How to Work 40 Hours in 16.7.

So what are you waiting for? Get up and get shit done.

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