Delete these 4 things from your routine to be more productive #blindpost

by Jeff Hilimire on February 4, 2014

This is a blindpost from another article but for some reason I can’t remember where the article came from…

Delete these 4 things from your routine to be more productive

#1 – Stop checking email all the time. Email is the silent productivity killer. You can spend hours inside of email and even come out of it thinking you got a lot done, but that’s usually not the case. Email is like this ever-flowing distraction faucet that never seems to stop. What I’ve started doing is blocking out time on my calendar for checking and responding to email. I try hard not to check email other than those pre-selected times.

#2 – Observe the 80/20 rule. Most likely, 20% of your effort will get 80% of the results. Look at your calendar and think about the things that you’re doing that are moving the needle the most. Try to do more of those things and less of the things that are not driving much value. I’ve started color coding my calendar based on the different activities I do during the week. That’s helped me see where my time is being spent and how I can be more productive.

#3 – Don’t keep a to-do list. This probably sounds counter-intuitive. However, I have become a believer that a to-do list is like that closet in your house where you keep sticking junk that you want to use later, but never do. Most people I know have a hard time really knocking their to-do list down effectively and instead it just continues to grow and adds stress as it does.

Here is my new to-do system that so far has made me much more productive.

#4 – Stop trying to multitask. There’s really no such thing as multitasking. If you’re watching a show AND working on a presentation, your mind can’t effectively be doing a good job with either. Or if you’re someone that checks their phone a lot while talking to someone in person – please tell me that you’re not one of those people – then how can you really be focusing on the person you’re talking to? You can’t. Focus on what you’re doing and compartmentalize your activities more. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can juggle multiple things at once and still be productive.

What did I miss? Are there things you do that help you be more productive?

~ if you liked this blindpost, here are more you can check out. And a handful of my friends will suggest blindposts for me to write from time to time, please feel free to do that too!

  • jdcmorgan

    #5 Stop having Meetings

    I can’t believe that wasn’t in your list. Must be nice to work in a small group again :)

  • Drew Hawkins

    Removing push notifications from your phone is huge as well. I only get texts and phone calls – way less distractions.

  • David Felfoldi

    Amen to #1! I just blogged about this too, andy secret weapon to ensure I don’t get distracted with the busy work of checking emails over the productive work of completing tasks.

  • TS

    #0 Don’t answer the work phone, along with also suggesting that callers don’t leave you voicemail. As mentioned in 4HWW – it’s time consuming to listen to the message and impossible to track once you’ve heard it (without transferring it to something else for tracking purposes).

  • Jeff Hilimire

    For a while I didn’t turn my voicemail on for that reason, so when people got to it there was no way to leave a message. Then there was a really important message that I never received and I figured I better turn it on. I’ve slowly been training everyone that knows me to text or email if they need me. And I don’t have a “work phone” anymore so that’s probably why I didn’t think to put “turn the ringer off on your work phone” which is what I did at Engauge.

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t put “stop having meetings” in this list! That’s a huge miss, thanks for catching it for me!

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Jeez, another awesome one. I did turn email push notifications off but I still rely on the other push notifications. But I guess when I’m working, like really focusing, I don’t have my phone handy so I’m not seeing them. I also detest notifications on the laptop so I always have those turned off.

  • Vlad Gorenshteyn

    I actually took it a step further. I put my phone on silent and if someone calls me, I take the call on the computer via google talk.

  • Vlad Gorenshteyn

    – stop being productive and start being effective (related to #2).

    – stop going to work/leaving work during traffic (time killer!)

    – stop compensating lack of sleep with caffeine…it’s a never-ending cycle. get proper sleep and supplement with naps (this one’s hard).

    – stop being sedentary, get a stand-up desk (see Jeff’s post about standup desk)

    – stop listening to your negative thoughts, they’re not real

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Great list, VG, appreciate the additional considerations! Standup desks do seem to help, and I’m afraid I’m not ambitious enough to attempt less caffeine ;)

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