We all sometimes wish that there were more hours in the day or that we could somehow clone ourselves in order to get everything that we needed or wanted to get done, done … right?
In our increasingly complex and time-constrained world, the concept of productivity takes center stage. We are left pondering questions like:
- How do you really become more productive?
- How do I measure my productivity?
- Is it even possible for me to get more done than I already do?
In his thoughtful and provocative book “The Productivity Project,” author Chris Bailey discusses some of the ideas that he found to be most successful in helping one get more done by managing time, attention, and energy. Here are some productivity tips and tricks that will hopefully enable you to conquer that task list, help you work more purposefully, and solidify your place on the path to accomplishing your goals.
On any given day, you may find yourself with what seems like a children’s Christmas list worth of tasks and to-do’s. If you allow yourself to become overwhelmed by all of the myriad things that demand your attention, you’re setting yourself for failure, or at the very least, a really rough time.
In his book, Chris Bailey re-introduces the idea of the Rule of Three as a way of combating our natural instinct to bite off more than we can chew. While not an entirely unique idea, the premise is simple, yet compelling:
- What are the three most important or meaningful things that I can or need to accomplish today? Consider the weight of the question and the potential outcome of successfully getting those three things done.
Bailey suggests mentally fast forwarding to the end of your day and asking yourself the following:
- When the day is over, what three things will I want to have accomplished? This should help you identify your three points of focus for that day.
We often get bogged down at the very start of our day just by opening up our inbox. It becomes far too easy to pin ball from one “urgent” e-mail to the next without even touching what’s really important.
It’s no secret that e-mail is a productivity killer. Before you check that digital mailbox each morning, purposefully derive your three and then approach whatever comes next through a lens focused directly on them.
Be careful though to avoid the common pitfalls of the novice rule of three-er. If you make your daily three too small, you’ll easy accomplish the lot and miss the greater purpose of the exercise.
If you try to tackle three abominable tasks, you’ll feel much less motivated throughout the day as you inevitably fall short. It may take some practice before you’re consistently able to identify realistic, achievable goals for each day, but don’t get discouraged, nothing good comes without a little work.
In practice, working each day towards accomplishing three top jobs, and consistently getting them done, will leave you with a much greater sense of satisfaction and more motivated to do it again tomorrow. Most importantly, you’ll not only feel productive, you will actually be productive; because at the end of the day, productivity is as much a mindset as it a quantifying adjective.