Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Productivity

I think most people would say that they'd like to be more productive. I know it's true for me. Being that I don't have anyone that I report to, and neither do I have set office hours, this is even more important to me. I serve as my own accountability, which is nice at times, but I’m always tweaking things in order to be a better steward of my time. So here are five things that I'm learning when it comes to productivity:

  1. We're most productive when in a place of rest. Stress never leads to increased productivity (see this post for more)
  2. Know what fills you. It's important to work hard, but it's equally important to play hard. I’ve learned that being at home with my family fills me, though it’s also nice to be away at times (not talking about you so much, Mandy – just the little people)
  3. Know what time of day you do your best work. Mornings for me are the time to do study or writing. Admin tasks, which come pretty easily for me, can happen in the afternoon, when the energy level is a bit lower
  4. Multi-tasking on some things is great. For example, when I get into admin mode, multi-tasking is a friend. However, multi-tasking as a primary method of work is a bad idea (see this article, which I've linked to before). When I really need to get work done, I shut down email and web browsers.
  5. Technology can be a help or a hindrance. Here is some technology that is currently helping me be more productive:
  • iPhone - it is amazing just how much work I can do with just this one gadget
  • Evernote - I use the desktop software on my laptop as well as the iPhone app (both free). I take notes there. I have a reminder list for our upcoming trip to Cancun there. I paste web pages there. Really great piece of software.
  • Toodledo - This is the best To-Do list that I've found (and I've tried several). Once again, there's a web version that syncs with the iPhone app ($3 I believe). I have three folders set up (Home, Neighborhood Church, & Real Estate). I set up tasks with due dates within the respective folders, and can even set up short-term and long-term goals.
  • Kindle - I've written a lot about Kindle in the past, but here are two ways it makes me more productive. First, it's great to be able to order a book and have it instantly show up on the iPhone. No waiting for shipping. Second, since I always have my iPhone, I'm never without a book. I get a lot more read this way.
  • ReQall – This became my replacement for Jott once it ceased to be free. I have a ReQall phone number programmed into my favorites list. When I’m driving and remember something important I need to do, I call the number, then say “Add” after hearing the lovely lady’s voice. I hear a beep, then remind myself of whatever just entered my brain. When I get back to my computer I have an email with the transcription and recording.

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