Are you as productive as you want to be?
Do you normally start the week with a long list of things you want to accomplish…only to push them off to the next week? Are you constantly ‘too busy’ to do the things that you want, like hang out with your friends or family, workout or to your favorite hobby?
There is a lot of truth to that quote that has gone viral on the Internet…“Someone busier than you is working out right now”.
It’s true. Everyone thinks they are incredibly busy, and you may be. But once you realize busy is NOT productive, you can actually start to make some strides in the right direction.
At End of Three Fitness we are about becoming better versions of ourself – better than yesterday. We are about doing the work and putting in the time…
That’s when we are talking about fitness. Today, we are talking about productivity and efficiency. Getting things done quickly to be able to have the time to do the work and put in the gym time.
When we are talking about productivity….It’s about hacking, cheating and taking as many short roads as possible to become a efficiently productive machine that grants you the ability to do whatever you want!
Are you in?
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Beef Up (or slim down) Your Productivity Toolbox
There are no tools out there that can physically force/make you produce more work, unless you’re under duress. However, there are a lot of tools out there that can save you time and get your organized, to free up your time where you can produce more or use your time how you want.
In today’s world, and how digital everything is, you really can’t afford to say “I’ll stick to handwritten everything“. That’s great if you like to write things down…I do too, but you have to become efficient. You have to find the tools that work for you and make you more productive.
At the same time, having 31 different productivity tools is going to end up counterproductive…but we’ll talk about that in step 4.
So if you have NO productivity tools it’s time to get around 1-3 solid tools to help you out.
If you have too many productivity tools…it’s time to slim it down a bit.
Let me start my tool suggestions off with…I do not work for Evernote, I get no money if you purchase any of their services and Evernote is primarily free anyway. I just want to clarify, because this is not the first, and perhaps not the last, time I have talked about Evernote at End of Three Fitness i.e. “How to Use Evernote to Dominate Your Fitness” – there is no agenda, it’s just awesome. I’ve even recently moved all my Eo3Fit athletes from using Basecamp to Evernote, because it is just so easy for everyone.
Evernote – Take Control of Your Time and Organization
Take control of your time – Evernote Web Clipper (for any browser)
- Save what you want…and get to it WHEN you want.
- Stop wasting time reading EVERYTHING you see on the internet, as soon as you see it. Tools and apps like Pocket do a great job at this, but evernote does it as well.
- Clip workouts from your favorite sites, interesting articles you want to read and save PDFs all into Evernote.
Get Organized and Focused – Evernote Reminders
- Take a picture of something, make a to-do list and organize your schedule…then
- Set reminders for when you want to do it. Great feature!
There are about 1,000 other uses for Evernote. But I don’t want to turn this entire post in an Evernote post – but those are two quick ways to take control of your time and to get organized. I use it for basically everything from researching projects, writing blog posts and tracking my workouts. You can find your own way, as there is not way to use Evernote wrong. But when used correctly it can make you organized and productive.
IFTTT – Automate as much of Life as Possible
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. Basically, you can setup an endless amount of triggers, they call them recipes, to automate some of your processes. Check out their site here.
It’s freaking awesome!
In light of our conversation about Evernote I have created a recipe just for you:
IF End of Three Fitness posts a new blog post THEN Send the article to my Evernote.
View the recipe here: https://ifttt.com/recipes/109972 – and add it to your phone and IFTTT Account 🙂
That’s just a fun one. There are a lot of useless/hilarious recipes out there that will not make you more productive, but there are also a lot of great ones.
It’s kind of hard to say what a good recipe is for YOU because only you know how it could work in your life.
- Get news updates sent to your phone
- Auto Create to-do lists in Evernote
- Get weather updates sent pretty much anywhere
- Automate email organization
- The options are endless!!
Go browse the IFTTT website and check it out. It may be just what you need. It’s been around for awhile, but it is newly introduced to iPhone users.
Mailbox – Conquer Your Email
Ahh – email…Most of us are slave to these electronically transmitted messages. Either we want to know as soon as we get an email or we end up buried in email and you feel as if you will never get out.
Email is great…When you control it, not when it controls you.
There are a lot of suggestions out there for email. Get this app, label and categorize this way or that way. In my opinion, you will get your own system down. If you haven’t yet don’t worry about it.
I get A LOT of email. I’m afraid to count. But I have done a pretty good job of staying on top of it. Granted you may get a response a few days later, but that is just because I control my email…it doesn’t control me.
But the Mailbox app has been instrumental in saving my sanity when it comes to email.
- Easily and quickly decide when you want to respond
- Immediately archive emails
- Quickly label and organize
Unfortunately, it only works for iPhone and iPad and Gmail accounts. If you don’t have gmail – I’d make the switch for this app alone. If you don’t have an iPhone…I’m sure it’s coming.
For you apple and gmail haters…
Very easy. Categorize you email into two folders.
- For Action.
- Not now.
Categorize your emails into the folders, one that may need to be answered today and others that can wait. That is as simple as I can make it.
Alright we got the big chunk out of the way. Get the right tools, use them correctly to SAVE time FOR productivity. Now let’s find out how productive you aren’t.
STEP 2: Find Out Where Your Time is Going
The Internet and our computers are a dangerous place to be, and I am not talking about online predators, hackers and identity thieves.
I’m talking about as a time-suck and time-waster. You can get online to check your bank accounts and end up on YouTube watching cats singing a song…then three hours later…you forgot what you set out to do, and you are surprised at how long you can actually watch cats on the Internet.
The Art of Manliness did an AMAZING post on this in 2011 and it is GREAT advice.
Check out their article here for details – I’m going to give you the brief version.
Step 1 – Download Rescue Time
- Rescue Time will let you know how you are spending your time on your computer and will let you know how productive you are, when you are productive and show you a breakdown.
- You can use it to limit time in certain programs and websites (i.e. Facebook on 10 minutes a day).
Step 2 – Find out where you need to make changes
- Based off of your time audit…what needs to change?
- Spending too much time online shopping, YouTube or twitter?
Step 3 – Save yourself…from yourself
- Use Leechblock, StayFocused or Concentrate to decide how you want to spend your time on the internet.
Alright, moving on!
STEP 3: Productivity Tactics
Now, let’s get into a few tactics that may help you get stuff DONE.
Stop the notifications!
- Do you have a notification setup for everything? Perhaps your phone or computer notifies you about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email, Text messages, etc…
- Stop them. Stop them all.
- Respond to social media when YOU want to. Respond to email when YOU want to.
- Stay focused on getting crap done that is important like work or working out THEN move on to checking tweets.
Set your rules…and stick to them
- What are your priorities? Goals? Core Values?
- If you don’t know…find out here.
- Now everything you do should abide by your values and work towards your goals.
- As simple litmus test: Is what I am doing today making me better for tomorrow?
Set your schedule…and stick to it
- Chances are you pretty much do the same things every single week i.e do the dishes, workout, go to work, [inset hobby here].
- Set times, exact times, of when you want to get these things done each day of the week.
- Setup reminders and stick to your schedule.
- Eventually, you will become a well oiled productivity machine.
Always, Keep Moving
- Staying focused and productive can be challenging…
- Always keep moving. However slow it may be, always keep moving toward your goal.
STEP 4 & 5: The Trap & Enjoying Life
First, don’t fall into the productivity trap. You get so focused on being productive that you use all sorts of apps and programs that you never get anything done.
Don’t be the guy who constantly chalks his hands at the gym, but never really a.) needs it or b.) does anything with it.
BE PRODUCTIVE – Don’t prepare for it.
The other part of the trap…
You are not a indentured servant. Being productive, organized and routined is great. It helps you accomplish A LOT in the same amount of time we all have. But don’t sacrifice your life for the sake of ‘being productive’.
Figuring out a good productivity system has helped me manage coaching athletes, writing for End of Three Fitness, posting WODs at End of Three Fit, working out A LOT, managing a full-time job, research and creating new Eo3 projects, completing household chores, being a Dad and a husband, among many other roles and activities.
I HAVE to do these things to move forward each day.
But you still have to have fun. Enjoy life. Do new things. Adventure. Explore. Live in the moment.
Don’t become a productivity monster.
Become insanely efficient and productive where you have time to do whatever you WANT!!
How about you??
Got any productivity tips, apps, systems you would like to share??
Add it to the comments, would love to heart about it.