I’ve been working hard on being productive. It ultimately comes down to just doing things. But organization and keeping track of things is incredibly important. Here are some things I do to help. I’ll also add while I’m not super productive (I can procrastinate like no other) I still feel good when I get things done.
Remember The Future
Often I think of something that I should do and immediately forget it. For example, I should text my friend to let them know I’m thinking about them, or I need to replace the air filter in the furnace. But after I have that thought it will immediately leave me as I move on to the next thing. Then ultimately I’ll remember again, then forget, and the cycle continues. It’s for this reason that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s perfect for short bursts of thought unloading. And now that Evernote has a reminder feature it’s almost priceless in the utility it brings.
I’ve heard that some have a difficult time using Evernote effectively. I think people confuse it with a service like Google Drive where you can store things and write things keep them in sync. They are similar in that aspect, but the difference lies in the amount of time you should spend in each. Evernote is for quick reference and quick jotting down ideas or tasks. I equate Google Drive for writing longer passages and more of a collaboration tool.
Nag Yourself Bro!
Another service that I use is called Remember The Milk. It’s a tasklist service that’s been around for a while. It can remind you when a task is due through mail, text, push notification, and even your calendar. Remember The Milk is good for tasks that need to be done with some sort of recurrence. It’s also good for keeping a more in-depth set of priority. RTM also ties in to almost every service imaginable like GMail, Evernote, Google Calendar, and more. The latest integration with Evernote allows me to set a reminder on Evernote and automatically show up in RTM as a task. You can do the same with GMail messages. I’ve been using RTM less lately, but I still find it useful for tasks I need to complete on a schedule.
Put It On The Calendar
Setting a date is important for me. As much as I say I’m spontaneous, I’m also forgetful. Dates can set a target to aim for, and when I meet those goals it can help me feel accomplished. When a friend suggests that we should do something together, I will almost immediately say “put it on the calendar”. Sometimes my life can go lazy to busy in moments, and before you know it I’ll forget about hanging out with friends, doing regular maintenance on the car, or other things that are just as important as big projects. When I block out time for a task or just casual time with a friend it will help other things fall together.
Go Easy On Yourself
The first thing I think a lot of people do when making a list is to write down all the big things they want to accomplish, then they take another look at it and get overwhelmed and exclaim, “NOPE!” The key is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and to put things on list that are necessarily tasks such as watching a movie.
I’m also a big fan of the To-Done list. Occasionally I’ll complete something that wasn’t on my list at all, but I’ll write it down so it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing nothing. It can help me realize I’m being productive even though I haven’t felt like it.
All of these things help me get things done even if it’s something as simple as taking the trash out, but overall it also makes me feel better than a lazy slug.