Today’s post is all about something my dad taught me as I was growing up to boost my productivity. Bet he didn’t know I’d be applying this to my work now. (Or maybe he did. Dads are smart like that.)
Q4 is busy. Maybe you’re planning a Black Friday sale, maybe you’re prepping for the end of the year. For a lot of us, these last few months of the year mean crunch time (and I’m not just talking about the fall leaves crunching under your boots).
That means it’s time for us to double down on our productivity. But if you’re anything like me, when you have a big project overhead, it’s easier to just … do something else.
“Doing Something Else” isn’t always truly productive, though.
Here’s what productivity is all about:
Productivity is all about time boundaries and systems—if you know exactly what you need to do and set aside time to do it, it’ll happen. 🤯 (Rocket science, I know.)
You can read more about the time boundary part here. Today, let’s tackle the system.
How to boost your productivity using a system
Before you freak out, don’t worry. This isn’t a Standard Operating Procedure 101 post. It’s just my favorite Project Management Hack that my dad taught me.
Here it is:
Write an outline.
I know I know. I hated them, too.
My dad always asked if I had an outline when I was stuck on a school paper. My answer was usually “no” (they’re boring! Feels like a waste of time! Takes too much brain power! …). He made me go back and write one, and whatta ya know?
Knowing WHAT I wanted to say helped me turn it into a paper.
Translating that to business:
Knowing where we’re going makes it a whole lot easier to know how to get there.
➡️ So, when you have a big project looming, write down the steps you need to take to complete the project. Then, put them in the order that makes the most sense and knock the first one out (setting a timer, of course).
➡️ If you have an email to write, first scribble down the basic points you want to make, then flesh them out. Start with the meat & potatoes; fill in the side-dish-details later.
➡️ If you’re feeling overwhelmed, write down everything swirling around in your mental to-do list, then sort it by importance.
Breaking things down—aka writing outlines—helps reduce overwhelm because everything is on paper.
Nothing is floating around in the air. When we can see tangible things, we can sort them out more easily.
What project do you need to make a dent in today?
What steps do you need to take to get to the finish line? No step is too small…and (pro tip) I like to break things down so I can cross things off my list faster. 😏
P.s. – want a little extra boost? Use Toggl to track your time as you knock out your tasks. You’ll see exactly where your time is going and will be able to make educated decisions for project management in the future!
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