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Productivity

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

11 days ago

Three Simple Daily Practices That Will Immediately Double Your Output

Most productive people are habitual.

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Early in the day, do important tasks.

In his best-selling book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy advised starting the day with your hardest, most important activity.

Most individuals work best in the morning. Energy and willpower peak then.

Mornings are also ideal for memory, focus, and problem-solving.

Thus, the morning is ideal for your hardest chores.

It makes sense to do these things during your peak performance hours.

Additionally, your morning sets the tone for the day. According to Brian Tracy, the first hour of the workday steers the remainder.

After doing your most critical chores, you may feel accomplished, confident, and motivated for the remainder of the day, which boosts productivity.

Develop Your Essentialism

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown claims that trying to be everything to everyone leads to mediocrity and tiredness.

You'll either burn out, be spread too thin, or compromise your ideals.

Greg McKeown advises Essentialism:

Clarify what’s truly important in your life and eliminate the rest.

Eliminating non-essential duties, activities, and commitments frees up time and energy for what matters most.

According to Greg McKeown, Essentialists live by design, not default.

You'll be happier and more productive if you follow your essentials.

Follow these three steps to live more essentialist.

Prioritize Your Tasks First

What matters most clarifies what matters less. List your most significant aims and values.

The clearer your priorities, the more you can focus on them.

On Essentialism, McKeown wrote, The ultimate form of effectiveness is the ability to deliberately invest our time and energy in the few things that matter most.

#2: Set Your Priorities in Order

Prioritize your priorities, not simply know them.

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Greg McKeown

Planning each day and allocating enough time for your priorities is the best method to become more purposeful.

#3: Practice saying "no"

If a request or demand conflicts with your aims or principles, you must learn to say no.

Saying no frees up space for our priorities.

Place Sleep Above All Else

Many believe they must forego sleep to be more productive. This is false.

A productive day starts with a good night's sleep.

Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep) says:

“Getting a good night’s sleep can improve cognitive performance, creativity, and overall productivity.”

Sleep helps us learn, remember, and repair.

Unfortunately, 35% of people don't receive the recommended 79 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep deprivation can cause:

  • increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity

  • Depression, stress, and anxiety risk are all on the rise.

  • decrease in general contentment

  • decline in cognitive function

To live an ideal, productive, and healthy life, you must prioritize sleep.

Follow these six sleep optimization strategies to obtain enough sleep:

  • Establish a nightly ritual to relax and prepare for sleep.

  • Avoid using screens an hour before bed because the blue light they emit disrupts the generation of melatonin, a necessary hormone for sleep.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule to control your body's biological clock (and optimizes melatonin production)

  • Create a peaceful, dark, and cool sleeping environment.

  • Limit your intake of sweets and caffeine (especially in the hours leading up to bedtime)

  • Regular exercise (but not right before you go to bed, because your body temperature will be too high)

Sleep is one of the best ways to boost productivity.

Sleep is crucial, says Matthew Walker. It's the key to good health and longevity.

Deon Ashleigh

Deon Ashleigh

27 days ago

You can dominate your daily productivity with these 9 little-known Google Calendar tips.

Calendars are great unpaid employees.

all images (and sloppy handwriting) by the author

After using Notion to organize my next three months' goals, my days were a mess.

I grew very chaotic afterward. I was overwhelmed, unsure of what to do, and wasting time attempting to plan the day after it had started.

Imagine if our skeletons were on the outside. Doesn’t work.

The goals were too big; I needed to break them into smaller chunks. But how?

Enters Google Calendar

RescueTime’s recommendations took me seven hours to make a daily planner. This epic narrative begins with a sheet of paper and concludes with a daily calendar that helps me focus and achieve more goals. Ain’t nobody got time for “what’s next?” all day.

Onward!

Return to the Paleolithic Era

Plan in writing.

handwritten time blocking. has arrows to indicate energy needed or author’s energy at that time of day

Not on the list, but it helped me plan my day. Physical writing boosts creativity and recall.

Find My Heart

i.e. prioritize

RescueTime suggested I prioritize before planning. Personal and business goals were proposed.

My top priorities are to exercise, eat healthily, spend time in nature, and avoid stress.

Priorities include writing and publishing Medium articles, conducting more freelance editing and Medium outreach, and writing/editing sci-fi books.

These eight things will help me feel accomplished every day.

Make a baby calendar.

Create daily calendar templates.

Make family, pleasure, etc. calendars.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Other calendars

  • Press the “+” button

  • Create a new calendar

  • Create recurring events for each day

My calendar, without the template:

Empty, so I can fill it with vital tasks.

With the template:

Isn’t it awesome how the other calendars overlay the template? :)

My daily skeleton corresponds with my priorities. I've been overwhelmed for years because I lack daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly structure.

Google Calendars helps me reach my goals and focus my energy.

Get your colored pencils ready

Time-block color-coding.

Color labeling lets me quickly see what's happening. Maybe you are too.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Determine which colors correspond to each time block.

  • When establishing new events, select a color.

  • Save

My calendar is color-coded as follows:

  • Yellow — passive income or other future-related activities

  • Red — important activities, like my monthly breast exam

  • Flamingo — shallow work, like emails, Twitter, etc.

  • Blue — all my favorite activities, like walking, watching comedy, napping, and sleeping. Oh, and eating.

  • Green — money-related events required for this adulting thing

  • Purple — writing-related stuff

Associating a time block with a color helps me stay focused. Less distractions mean faster work.

Open My Email

aka receive a daily email from Google Calendar.

Google Calendar sends a daily email feed of your calendars. I sent myself the template calendar in this email.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Access settings

  • Select the calendar that you want to send (left side)

  • Go down the page to see more alerts

  • Under the daily agenda area, click Email.

Get in Touch With Your Red Bull Wings — Naturally

aka audit your energy levels.

My daily planner has arrows. These indicate how much energy each activity requires or how much I have.

Rightward arrow denotes medium energy.

I do my Medium and professional editing in the morning because it's energy-intensive.

Niharikaa Sodhi recommends morning Medium editing.

I’m a morning person. As long as I go to bed at a reasonable time, 5 a.m. is super wild GO-TIME. It’s like the world was just born, and I marvel at its wonderfulness.

Freelance editing lets me do what I want. An afternoon snooze will help me finish on time.

Ditch Schedule View

aka focus on the weekly view.

RescueTime advocated utilizing the weekly view of Google Calendar, so I switched.

When you launch the phone app or desktop calendar, a red line shows where you are in the day.

I'll follow the red line's instructions. My digital supervisor is easy to follow.

In the image above, it's almost 3 p.m., therefore the red line implies it's time to snooze.

I won't forget this block ;).

Reduce the Lighting

aka dim previous days.

This is another Google Calendar feature I didn't know about. Once the allotted time passes, the time block dims. This keeps me present.

Google Calendar instructions:

  • Access settings

  • remaining general

  • To view choices, click.

  • Check Diminish the glare of the past.

Bonus

Two additional RescueTimes hacks:

Maintain a space between tasks

I left 15 minutes between each time block to transition smoothly. This relates to my goal of less stress. If I set strict start and end times, I'll be stressed.

With a buffer, I can breathe, stroll around, and start the following time block fresh.

Find a time is related to the buffer.

This option allows you conclude small meetings five minutes early and longer ones ten. Before the next meeting, relax or go wild.

Decide on a backup day.

This productivity technique is amazing.

Spend this excess day catching up on work. It helps reduce tension and clutter.

That's all I can say about Google Calendar's functionality.

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

1 month ago

How I train my brain daily for clarity and productivity.

I use a conceptual and practical system I developed decades ago as an example.

Since childhood, I've been interested in the brain-mind connection, so I developed a system using scientific breakthroughs, experiments, and the experiences of successful people in my circles.

This story provides a high-level overview of a custom system to inform and inspire readers. Creating a mind gym was one of my best personal and professional investments.

Such a complex system may not be possible for everyone or appear luxurious at first. However, the process and approach may help you find more accessible and viable solutions.

Visualizing the brain as a muscle, I learned to stimulate it with physical and mental exercises, applying a new mindset and behavioral changes.

My methods and practices may not work for others because we're all different. I focus on the approach's principles and highlights so you can create your own program.

Some create a conceptual and practical system intuitively, and others intellectually. Both worked. I see intellect and intuition as higher selves.

The mental tools I introduce are based on lifestyle changes and can be personalized by anyone, barring physical constraints or underlying health conditions.

Some people can't meditate despite wanting to due to mental constraints. This story lacks exceptions.

People's systems may vary. Many have used my tools successfully. All have scientific backing because their benefits attracted scientists. None are unethical or controversial.

My focus is cognition, which is the neocortex's ability. These practices and tools can affect the limbic and reptilian brain regions.

A previous article discussed brain health's biological aspects. This article focuses on psychology.

Thinking, learning, and remembering are cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities determine our health and performance.

Cognitive health is the ability to think, concentrate, learn, and remember. Cognitive performance boosting involves various tools and processes. My system and protocols address cognitive health and performance.

As a biological organ, the brain's abilities decline with age, especially if not used regularly. Older people have more neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.

As aging is inevitable, I focus on creating cognitive reserves to remain mentally functional as we age and face mental decline or cognitive impairment.

My protocols focus on neurogenesis, or brain growth and maintenance. Neurons and connections can grow at any age.

Metacognition refers to knowing our cognitive abilities, like thinking about thinking and learning how to learn.

In the following sections, I provide an overview of my system, mental tools, and protocols.

This system summarizes my 50-year career. Some may find it too abstract, so I give examples.

First, explain the system. Section 2 introduces activities. Third, how to measure and maintain mental growth.

1 — Developed a practical mental gym.

The mental gym is a metaphor for the physical fitness gym to improve our mental muscles.

This concept covers brain and mind functionality. Integrated biological and psychological components.

I'll describe my mental gym so my other points make sense. My mental gym has physical and mental tools.

Mindfulness, meditation, visualization, self-conversations, breathing exercises, expressive writing, working in a flow state, reading, music, dance, isometric training, barefoot walking, cold/heat exposure, CBT, and social engagements are regular tools.

Dancing, walking, and thermogenesis are body-related tools. As the brain is part of the body and houses the mind, these tools can affect mental abilities such as attention, focus, memory, task switching, and problem-solving.

Different people may like different tools. I chose these tools based on my needs, goals, and lifestyle. They're just examples. You can choose tools that fit your goals and personality.

2 — Performed tasks regularly.

These tools gave me clarity. They became daily hobbies. Some I did alone, others with others.

Some examples: I meditate daily. Even though my overactive mind made daily meditation difficult at first, I now enjoy it. Meditation three times a day sharpens my mind.

Self-talk is used for self-therapy and creativity. Self-talk was initially difficult, but neurogenesis rewired my brain to make it a habit.

Cold showers, warm baths with Epsom salts, fasting, barefoot walks on the beach or grass, dancing, calisthenics, trampoline hopping, and breathing exercises increase my mental clarity, creativity, and productivity.

These exercises can increase BDNF, which promotes nervous system growth. They improve mental capacity and performance by increasing blood flow and brain oxygenation.

I use weekly and occasional activities like dry saunas, talking with others, and community activities.

These activities stimulate the brain and mind, improving performance and cognitive capacity.

3 — Measured progress, set growth goals.

Measuring progress helps us stay on track. Without data, it's hard to stay motivated. When we face inevitable setbacks, we may abandon our dreams.

I created a daily checklist for a spreadsheet with macros. I tracked how often and long I did each activity.

I measured my progress objectively and subjectively. In the progress spreadsheet, I noted my meditation hours and subjective feelings.

In another column, I used good, moderate, and excellent to get qualitative data. It took time and effort. Later, I started benefiting from this automated structure.

Creating a page for each activity, such as meditation, self-talk, cold showers, walking, expressive writing, personal interactions, etc., gave me empirical data I could analyze, modify, and graph to show progress.

Colored charts showed each area's strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths motivate me to continue them. Identifying weaknesses helped me improve them.

As the system matured, data recording became a habit and took less time. I saw the result immediately because I automated the charts when I entered daily data. Early time investment paid off later.

Mind Gym Benefits, Effective Use, and Progress Measuring

This concept helped me move from comfort to risk. I accept things as they are.

Turnarounds were made. I stopped feeling "Fight-Flight-Freeze" and maintained self-control.

I tamed my overactive amygdala by strengthening my brain. Stress and anxiety decreased. With these shifts, I accepted criticism and turned envy into admiration. Clarity improved.

When the cognitive part of the brain became stronger and the primitive part was tamed, managing thoughts and emotions became easier. My AQ increased. I learned to tolerate people, physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.

Accessing vast information sources in my subconscious mind through an improved RAS allowed me to easily tap into my higher self and recognize flaws in my lower self.

Summary

The brain loves patterns and routines, so habits help. Observing, developing, and monitoring habits mindfully can be beneficial. Mindfulness helps us achieve this goal systematically.

As body and mind are connected, we must consider both when building habits. Consistent and joyful practices can strengthen neurons and neural connections.

Habits help us accomplish more with less effort. Regularly using mental tools and processes can improve our cognitive health and performance as we age.

Creating daily habits to improve cognitive abilities can sharpen our minds and boost our well-being.

Some apps monitor our activities and behavior to help build habits. If you can't replicate my system, try these apps. Some smartwatches and fitness devices include them.

Set aside time each day for mental activities you enjoy. Regular scheduling and practice can strengthen brain regions and form habits. Once you form habits, tasks become easy.

Improving our minds is a lifelong journey. It's easier and more sustainable to increase our efforts daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.

Despite life's ups and downs, many want to remain calm and cheerful.

This valuable skill is unrelated to wealth or fame. It's about our mindset, fueled by our biological and psychological needs.

Here are some lessons I've learned about staying calm and composed despite challenges and setbacks.

1 — Tranquillity starts with observing thoughts and feelings.

2 — Clear the mental clutter and emotional entanglements with conscious breathing and gentle movements.

3 — Accept situations and events as they are with no resistance.

4 — Self-love can lead to loving others and increasing compassion.

5 — Count your blessings and cultivate gratitude.

Clear thinking can bring joy and satisfaction. It's a privilege to wake up with a healthy body and clear mind, ready to connect with others and serve them.

Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.

wordsmithwriter

wordsmithwriter

1 month ago

2023 Will Be the Year of Evernote and Craft Notetaking Apps.

Note-taking is a vital skill. But it's mostly learned.

Photo by PNW Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-wooden-pencil-beside-a-mechanical-pencil-8250935/

Recently, innovative note-taking apps have flooded the market.

In the next few years, Evernote and Craft will be important digital note-taking companies.

Evernote is a 2008 note-taking program. It can capture ideas, track tasks, and organize information on numerous platforms.

It's one of the only note-taking app that lets users input text, audio, photos, and videos. It's great for collecting research notes, brainstorming, and remaining organized.

Craft is a popular note-taking app.

Craft is a more concentrated note-taking application than Evernote. It organizes notes into subjects, tags, and relationships, making it ideal for technical or research notes.

Craft's search engine makes it easy to find what you need.

Both Evernote and Craft are likely to be the major players in digital note-taking in the years to come.

Their concentration on gathering and organizing information lets users generate notes quickly and simply. Multimedia elements and a strong search engine make them the note-taking apps of the future.

Evernote and Craft are great note-taking tools for staying organized and tracking ideas and projects.

With their focus on acquiring and organizing information, they'll dominate digital note-taking in 2023.

Pros

  • Concentrate on gathering and compiling information

  • special features including a strong search engine and multimedia components

  • Possibility of subject, tag, and relationship structuring

  • enables users to incorporate multimedia elements

  • Excellent tool for maintaining organization, arranging research notes, and brainstorming

Cons

  • Software may be difficult for folks who are not tech-savvy to utilize.

  • Limited assistance for hardware running an outdated operating system

  • Subscriptions could be pricey.

  • Data loss risk because of security issues

Evernote and Craft both have downsides.

  1. The risk of data loss as a result of security flaws and software defects comes first.

  2. Additionally, their subscription fees could be high, and they might restrict support for hardware that isn't running the newest operating systems.

  3. Finally, folks who need to be tech-savvy may find the software difficult.

Evernote versus. Productivity Titans Evernote will make Notion more useful. medium.com

Todd Lewandowski

Todd Lewandowski

2 months ago

DWTS: How to Organize Your To-Do List Quickly

Don't overcomplicate to-do lists. DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) organizes your to-dos.

Everyone’s got a system.

How Are You Going to Manage Everything?

Modern America is busy. Work involves meetings. Anytime, Slack communications arrive. Many software solutions offer a @-mention notification capability. Emails.

Work obligations continue. At home, there are friends, family, bills, chores, and fun things.

How are you going to keep track of it all? Enter the todo list. It’s been around forever. It’s likely to stay forever in some way, shape, or form.

Everybody has their own system. You probably modified something from middle school. Post-its? Maybe it’s an app? Maybe both, another system, or none.

I suggest a format that has worked for me in 15 years of professional and personal life.

Try it out and see if it works for you. If not, no worries. You do you! Hopefully though you can learn a thing or two, and I from you too.

It is merely a Google Doc, yes.

As an example, here’s my personal todo list. Don’t worry, there’s nothing here I don’t mind sharing.

It's a giant list. One task per line. Indent subtasks on a new line. Add or move new tasks as needed.

I recommend using Google Docs. It's easy to use and flexible for structuring.

Prioritizing these tasks is key. I organize them using DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon). Chronologically is good because it implicitly provides both a priority (high, medium, low) and an ETA (now, soon, later).

Yes, I recognize the similarities to DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) TV Show. Although I'm not a fan, it's entertaining. The acronym is easy to remember and adds fun to something dull.

That feeling when you complete everything on your todo list.

What each section contains

Done

All tasks' endpoint. Finish here. Don't worry about it again.

Waiting

You're blocked and can't continue. Blocked tasks usually need someone. Write Person Task so you know who's waiting.

Blocking tasks shouldn't last long. After a while, remind them kindly. If people don't help you out of kindness, they will if you're persistent.

Top 3

Mental focus areas. These can be short- to mid-term goals or recent accomplishments. 2 to 5 is a good number to stay focused.

Top 3 reminds us to prioritize. If they don't fit your Top 3 goals, delay them.

Every 1:1 at work is a project update. Another chance to list your top 3. You should know your Top 3 well and be able to discuss them confidently.

Soon

Here's your short-term to-do list. Rank them from highest to lowest.

I usually subdivide it with empty lines. First is what I have to do today, then week, then month. Subsections can be arranged however you like.

Inventories by Concept

Tasks that aren’t in your short or medium future go into the backlog. 
Eventually you’ll complete these tasks, assign them to someone else, or mark them as “wont’ do” (like done but in another sense).

Backlog tasks don't need to be organized chronologically because their timing and priority may change. Theme-organize them. When planning/strategic, you can choose themes to focus on, so future top 3 topics.

More Tips on Todos

Decide Upon a Morning Goal

Morning routines are universal. Coffee and Wordle. My to-do list is next. Two things:

  • As needed, update the to-do list: based on the events of yesterday and any fresh priorities.

  • Pick a few jobs to complete today: Pick a few goals that you know you can complete today. Push the remainder below and move them to the top of the Soon section. I typically select a few tasks I am confident I can complete along with one stretch task that might extend into tomorrow.

Finally. By setting and achieving small goals every day, you feel accomplished and make steady progress on medium and long-term goals.

Tech companies call this a daily standup. Everyone shares what they did yesterday, what they're doing today, and any blockers. The name comes from a tradition of holding meetings while standing up to keep them short. Even though it's virtual, everyone still wants a quick meeting.

Your team may or may not need daily standups. Make a daily review a habit with your coffee.

Review Backwards & Forwards on a regular basis

While you're updating your to-do list daily, take time to review it.

Review your Done list. Remember things you're proud of and things that could have gone better. Your Done list can be long. Archive it so your main to-do list isn't overwhelming.

Future-gaze. What you considered important may no longer be. Reorder tasks. Backlog grooming is a workplace term.

Backwards-and-forwards reviews aren't required often. Every 3-6 months is fine. They help you see the forest as often as the trees.

Final Remarks

Keep your list simple. Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon. These are the necessary sections. If you like, add more subsections; otherwise, keep it simple.

I recommend a morning review. By having clear goals and an action-oriented attitude, you'll be successful.