3 Steps to Being More Productive

We are all busy. Well, at least we all think we are busy. I recently read an article about getting 26 hours out of your 24 hour day, and it got me thinking. How can I be more productive?

Three suggestions I’ve found helpful below.

Stack activities

I’ve recently started doing this with Audible, and boy has it changed my life. I was one of those people who never thought audio books were worth my time. But, since October, I’ve made it through 9 books. Now, audio books aren’t great for books with detailed concepts, but they’re great for the light read. Whether it is fiction or just a biography, I’ve found it very helpful.

Stacking activities allows you to get two things done at once. Audio books are just one example of something you can do while driving or working out, but there are many other ways to stack. In the article above, he mentions stacking workouts with family or spouse time. The possibilities are endless. I know my wife has started listening to podcasts and audio books while doing chores around the house. Within each of our lives we can find these pockets, and it will help us be more productive.

Limit my transition

Let’s be real: that afternoon run to the store takes more than the hour you’re gone. You spend 30 minutes before and after thinking, planning, and then getting back into the groove. It’s never just the time you’re gone, but also the time it takes to refocus.

By limiting these transitions, you’ll naturally be more productive. It’s found time! Now, sometimes breaking up the day is good to increase productivity. Maybe that lunch workout energizes you for the afternoon. Shoot, even that lunch will do the same.

I’ve been debating these transitions in my life. The mornings I work out I go to the gym and come back home. Could I decrease my wasted time by getting ready for work at the gym? I haven’t reached that point yet, because I enjoy the down time I currently have between the gym and office, but it would certainly help decrease the flux time I have if I removed it.

So food for thought: should I run that errand in the middle of the day, or extend a transition or two? Sometimes the busyness of the grocery store in the evening still makes that afternoon run the better choice, but by evaluating these transitions you’re headed in the right direction.

Schedule my time

We always say we will schedule our time, but we fail to do so. I’m a serial app downloader and have over 100 apps on my phone. And this is my paired down version. My bare minimum. If you looked through my download history, I really don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I’ve tried over 1,000 apps. I’d bet 99 of these have to do with better list making or schedules. I’ve tried many calendar apps, many to do apps, everything. Reality is, we just stink at managing our time.

I’ve started “journaling” a lot more and found I do better when I don’t use technology to schedule. Your basic calendar is good, and shared calendars with those close to you make sure you never miscommunicate on an event. But when it comes to day-to-day activities at work or home, a handwritten list is still my go-to solution. I’m not sure why, but it’s the one thing I stick with. So most times, I’ve either got my trusty schedule with me or I’m emailing myself to add it to my schedule. Emailing myself while out and about means when I get back home with the pen and paper, the item is still waiting on me.

Frankly, there are no hard and fast best ways. Everyone is going to have a different best way, so do something you’ll stick with. And if you’re constantly moving from one app to the next, or one solution to the next, that’s better than not trying. But the ability to consistently use your time productively is what sets apart the successful from the unsuccessful. Eventually, if you fail to stack and schedule, the stress is going to catch up.

What are some ways you try and be more productive? Answer in the comments! I’d love to hear/try something new! Or even download a new app.