There is nothing like the feeling of a hard day's work, where everything has been taken care of and you have nothing else to accomplish. But for many, that's the ideal day, and not the norm. If you ever feel that your productivity is lagging behind, you're going to need some new techniques and tools to get the job done. Whether you are attempting to get on track financially, or simply need to be more productive at work in general, here are three powerful tools for improving your effectiveness.
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One: The Universal Inbox
Previously, before I implemented these methods, my desk was cluttered beyond measure. Every article of paper that represented something to do was thrown in a random spot on my workspace. Not only was it difficult to find what I was looking for, but it was just plain overwhelming.
To further complicate things, I would attempt to have several inboxes representing the different areas of my life. I had a financial inbox, mail inbox, “to file” inbox, etc. These numerous piles added to the complexity and certainly didn't help organize my life.
Then I was hit with the concept of the “universal inbox.” It was nothing that I invented, it has been used by productivity giants such as David Allen. The idea is that you put everything that you must process into one giant inbox. It doesn't matter whether it's a bill you need to pay, an envelope of receipts you need to reconcile, or a note you wrote to yourself reminding you of an important meeting. Because of the “universal” nature of this inbox, it is important to process its contents as quickly as possible – never let the box go unprocessed for more than 48 hours. You'll find that having a nice, tidy universal inbox clears your mind and helps you relax.
Two: The Notepad
In today's digital age, it can be difficult to imagine carrying around an unsophisticated notebook. Put sometimes a notepad in your back pocket is just the ticket to jot down an idea or a memo that you need to store for later.
I don't know how many times that I didn't enter a thought or reminder into my phone because it just wasn't quick enough. When you're talking with someone, and a thought comes to mind, paper and pencil are sometimes the best way to capture the idea. Later, you can throw the scrap of paper into your universal inbox and appropriately process the thought.
Three: The Commitment Not To Multitask!
Too many people think that multitasking is a talent to be praised. While there are certain situations where that can be true, most tasks require clear focus and determination to get them done in an efficient manner.
It can be easy to be distracted when your phone is ringing, email is pinging, and you have something on your mind you didn't create a reminder for yet. Instead, eliminate the sources of distraction and get to work! You'll be amazed how easy it is to stay focused and get work done when you don't have the constant distraction of life reaching for your attention.
These three tools will allow you deeper focus on the task at hand. You'll become more productive and find new ways of getting things done.
What are some ways you keep yourself productive at home and in the workplace?