Getting Productive

Many people will be starting out this new year with a resolution to be more productive or start blogging more regularly (both of which are on my list of things I want to do!) and a fair subset of this group will have found copious quantities of research on the topics of productivity and writing – but, if you’re anything like me, I all too often find myself in a sea of fascinating productivity methods to waste time on! This year, I wanted to try something different, based on a lot of posts I’ve been trying to “meta-parse” from Ramit Sethi over on “I will Teach you to be Rich“- I really like Ramit’s writing style and approach to productivity and earning as he deploys a “scientific” or experimentation method to determine what works for you – because, as we probably all know by now, no one thing will work for everyone. I don’t want to turn my own blog into a productivity site – but I did want to capture some of the tools and methods that a geek can be deploy to enhance the strategy of getting productive through testing what works:

  • Notes Applications: Between Evernote, SimpleNote, Notepad and OneNote (to name but a few!) we’ve never had a better range of tools to help us to take notes – and, just as scientists of old (Da Vinci springs particularly to mind) would jot down observations as they test a hypothesis, so should you – with online notebooks your notebook can be available whenever you need it and can be searched and referenced even easier than a traditional notebook (although I do still love a nice Moleskine book!).
  • Timers – Pomodoro timers, stop watches, RescueTime, etc all offer you the chance to time or set target times to your productivity hours- some people require targets to get going, others like measuring productivity success – fortunately, again, you’re spoilt for choice with applications galore for tracking and targeting your work efforts!
  • Social Networking – Peer pressure can be a powerful force which you can leverage to motivate your efforts – from posting your productivity stats, to making sure others know what your up to and help you reach your goals (there’s plenty of sites out there that use this “group coach” method now too to make it even easier).
  • The Web: The web is full of “past research” which you can tap into for productivity (and round ups of round-up sites are readily available – e.g. so don’t be afraid to do a bit of digging- just make sure you apply a cap (time, depth of links, etc!) to this too otherwise you run the risk of losing your productive hours.

And that last one brings me to one final point – be wary of tool OVER USE – don’t just use a tool for the sake of using a tool and be careful – there are hundreds of tools out there but that means there’s plenty of scope for you to exhaust your time testing them all! So work out your assessment criteria and evaluation criteria before working out your best toolset!

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