Can I Really Be Productive?

You have heard it time and time again. You have bought books on Amazon, read a ton of blog posts, downloaded more apps than you care to admit but still for some reason, you don’t seem to nail this productivity thing. Just like you, I have been there before. In that place where you know you need to get stuff done but for some reason by 8 PM, you barely made a dent on your unending to-do list and by bedtime, you feel defeated and tempted to give up on the whole productivity thing.

We have all heard the numerous benefits of being productivity and after so many trial and errors, I finally found a way to mold a version that works for me and helps me achieve the things I want to by bedtime. Today I want to share these things with you. So here are my top 2 ways of nailing my day by bedtime. Yes, just 2!


The Rule of 3


Before I discovered a more realistic way to handle my day,  I used to have a running list in my head of the things I wanted to do either for the day or the week (p.s. very bad idea). I would log all these things in my mind like a super computer but at some point during the day, I was bound to either forget to do something or keep pushing it back because it didn’t feel as real when it stayed floating around in my mind. Over time, as I did more digging into getting more out of my day, I graduated into writing out these things on paper. It was a step in the right direction but I wasn’t quite there yet. I realized that things got done but most times it was the things that could have waited or weren’t as important as some other things on the list. Then I discovered the rule of 3! The rule of 3 is basically picking out your top 3 must-do of the day. These things are usually your most important activities. So how does this work?

Get a clean sheet of paper, and do a mind dump of all the things you want to accomplish that day. It doesn’t really matter what it is. It could be as simple as washing your car or as important as finishing up that proposal. Whatever it is, write it all down ignoring spelling mistakes and holding nothing back. Remember this is just a mind dump, nothing is off limits.
Now go through the list and strike out anything that isn’t
        1. urgent,
        2. important for the day
        3. can be delegated to someone else either for free or for a fee
STEP 3: From whatever is left on the list, look through it and ask yourself this question, “what is the one thing I would be most proud of if I achieved today?” Make sure it is just one thing (usually it is the hardest thing or the one thing you have been avoiding). After you figure out that one important thing, put a nice star next to it.

Step 4:
Now ask yourself, from this list, what are two other things that would make my day awesome if I accomplished today? Add stars to these tasks too.

Step 5: Throw away the rest of your list!


These top 3 things are the things you should focus on alone. The secret to nailing these things is to focus all your energies on your top task and DO NOT begin task 2 & 3 until you have completed task 1.

This system has worked wonderfully well for me. By the end of the day, I more often than not have achieved something I was dreading or the biggest goal for the day or week. Seeing these tasks checked off creates a feeling of progress, satisfaction, and, content in the day overall. I am happier, more upbeat in general and have the positive energy I need to keep going throughout the week.


Keep A Journal

Keeping a journal helps really well with the rule of 3 (this is my favorite journal at the moment. I love it because it has no dates and is filled with inspirational quotes that keep me going. If you are vehemently anti-paper & pen, this iOS app can help you achieve the same result). Writing out your thoughts and having a visible list of your top 3 goals for the day helps you keep your focus and increases your chance of actually achieving your goals. It serves as a great confidence booster and fuels your energy to keep going. It also makes it easier on your mind to accomplish your goals when you have a visual way of viewing your progress over the day and over the week. You are better at organizing your thoughts and more clear about your time wasters. You know exactly what tasks (or ahem favors) to say no to, to make sure you are really doing the things you promised yourself you were going to accomplish.

These techniques have worked really great for me. With these methods, I can really say yea! I can be really productive. They have given me more moments of content when I look back at my year on December 31st and I believe they can do the same for you.

So will you be trying out these techniques?


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