Another year has passed. You`ve crafted a list of resolutions like eating more healthily, exercising every day and getting more things done.
Perhaps, you made the same resolutions last year. In the middle of January, you abandoned that productivity system you were building with such motivation and persistence. And continued wasting time checking your email and social media messages.
But not all is lost. It`s another year starting and you`re capable of taming the chaos. Here`re some essential productivity hacks from the books that will help you get more done in the new year (and the other years coming ahead):
1. The Most Important Thing (MIT)
Ask yourself: “What`s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything will be easier or unnecessary?”
This is a vital question posed by Gary Keller`s book The One Thing.
The idea is simple: you have to find that ONE most important thing in your business/career/life in the long term. Figure that out and think of the steps you need to take to achieve it.
Apply the technique to your working schedule. Write down your MIT for the day. Schedule some uninterrupted time for completing the ONE most important task of the day. Sounds easy? Not always, but this method will definitely help you prioritize what matters most and cut through the numerous distractions.
2. Do less, but essential things
“Remember that if you don`t prioritize your life, someone else will.”, Greg McKeown.
McKeown wrote the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
The book provides a set of principles and concepts to help you become extremely selective about the essential things in your life and ruthlessly cutting out the rest.
Here`re some of the key takeaways from the book:
- Doing nothing and doing everything will leave you helpless – you can`t do everything and be everywhere. It`s practically impossible.
Choose your battles wisely. Combine this concept with the MIT concept. Ask yourself: What matters most in the long term? What small step steps can I do today to achieve it? Which is my MIT for the day?
- Master the 90% rule and become the editor of your life.
OK. You got it. You know you have to prioritize some things over others (the most important ones if we have to be specific). But how to decide what to cut out?
Use the 90% rule. For every task, item, or decision you`re unsure of, look at the most important criterion and give it a value between 0 and 100.
Here`s the best part. Everything that`s under 90 has to go. It`s not essential. As simple as that.
- Give yourself a buffer of 50%.
This concept is golden. It`ll help you plan your tasks and will leave to room to breathe.
Here`s how it works: add 50% of the time you think a task takes as a buffer. In this way, you can plan the unexpected.
Any examples? You have to write an article. You estimate it will take you 2 hours, plan 2.5 hours in your calender. Think the business meeting will take you 1 hour, plan 1.5.
And this will leave you time to refine your products and services before delivering them to your clients. Or to deliver earlier than expected. Simply genius, right?
Manage Energy, Not Time
The concepts we covered above talk about managing time, not energy. Jimmy Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote a book arguing that energy management is the secret to enduring high performance as well as health, happiness, and life balance.
So, what`s main takeaway here? Schedule time for completing your most essential tasks at the times your energy is high. For example, you feel sleepy and uninspired after lunch. Use the time for mundane tasks like answering emails. Your energy is high in the morning? Block the hours before lunch to work on your MIT.
My personal takeaways
I`ll personally experiment with the concepts until I find the optimal combination. I definitely buy the MIT concept and already set my MIT/s on a daily basis.
To choose my MITs wisely, I`ll use the 90% rule and cut out everything that`s not essential. That one would be golden for me as I find it difficult to eliminate unessential tasks, packing my schedule like crazy with vatious to-dos that are not related to each other. I already schedule a 50% buffer, and it helps me meet my deadlines while maintaining a high-quality.
When it comes to energy management, I`ll combine it with the essentialism and MIT concepts. As an early bird, the most important task (MIT) will be completed before lunch.
Over to you
What are your personal takeaways? Which productivity concepts you`ll include in your personal routine? Can you recommend any other productivity hacks that work for you? Feel free to share them in the comments below.