Given that when printing my set of 2019 workout calendars I realized I was a solid year into a new tracking habit, I thought it was a good time to share again how I use these simple pages. Last January Nic and I started posting the current month’s blank calendar on the fridge to track how often we were working out.Read More
It’s a joy and a challenge to work with a whip smart client who has tried it all and looks to me for some out-of-the-ordinary advice. I knew she and I would be working on her email last week. She didn’t want someone else to tell her to create more email folders and just reply to things on time.Read More
My clients aren’t as interested in what’s new in the world of productivity as they are in what actually works. The dilemma of where to focus in a world of information overload feels like a modern dilemma, though the quest for working more efficiently isn’t a new one. I’ve been re-reading the 80 year old book Think And Grow Rich.Read More
On Monday I listened to an eye-opening interview with “Deep Work” author, Cal Newport on the Asian Efficiency Podcast. A fan of Cal’s based on his relatively radical stances on focus and work flow, I teach his work in my talks on productivity. Warning: nothing he suggests is easy, but based on trials with myself and my clients, I’m thoroughly convinced his ultra-strict methods WORK.Read More
You set a timer to work on a very specific project. You immediately dive into deep focus and concentration, effortlessly producing your best work within minutes. At the end of your prescribed period of focus, you realize you have eliminated your to do list and/or written the next great American novel.
You sit down to write your newsletter. Three sentences in, a Messages text pop-up sends you into a peripheral conversation that has nothing to do with writing said newsletter.Read More
The folks at Gmail have put quite a bit of effort into corralling data on email styles and replies.Their findings cover everything from subject lines, questions, send times, email length, and even emotion in emails - all to teach us how to receive quicker and better replies.Read More
Joshua Millburn, half of the famous duo, "The Minimalists" guest posted A Day in the Life of a Minimalist on Leo Baubata's Zen Habits blog. You’ll agree that Joshua has absolutely earned the label “minimalist,” not just by buying less, but also scouring his days for superfluities, thus, finding true breathing space in his life. This is one of the most unique and inspiring “day in the life” posts I have ever read, stressing habits over routines.Read More
Maria Popova reads the greatest works of literature and non-fiction (and blogs about them) so we don’t have to! In her recent post The Difference Between Routine and Ritual she essentially provides elegant Cliff’s Notes on Anne Lamott’s book Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair. Popova, fascinated by routines and rituals, illuminates the important difference between the two in her reflection on Lamott’s Stitches...Read More
When I teach time management and productivity to groups I always poll the room to see when throughout the day people think they operate at their peak. On average, 9 out of 10 say morning. I’d choose morning, too, but have always wondered a few things about this: - Do I think my magic hours are in the morning because this is what the studies show?Read More
Speaking of Chrome extensions, the same client who used the Jot app also shared with me the Pomodone App, also a productivity Chrome extension. Subscribers and clients know that the Pomodoro Technique is my lifesaver productivity technique, focusing your work into 25 minute spurts. Pomodone works in any browser, but the Chrome extension allows you to create tasks directly from your browser.
I noticed my client’s productivity inspired home page, and had to ask. She was using Jot, a Chrome extension that keeps your to dos front and center, creating a simple default home page with a short to do list atop a calm image. She admits that the to dos aren’t exactly getting done any quicker, but hey, any amount of effort is a step in the right direction! Knowing that this would be the case with my clients (and me), I think Jot would work well for listing daily chores, rituals, and good habit reminders! Learn more about Jot here.
Do you also proclaim yourself to be the world’s slowest reader? If so, we need to have a slow-reading-off, then get friendly with the Sprint speed reading app. Access articles and pdfs via the app, and it flashes words on the screen at a pre-set words per minute rate, helping you to up your rate. You have to take it for a quick test run on their site to see how well it works. Raise your hand and share in the comments below if you’re going to try this, or if you have any other tips for speed reading.
The creators of my beloved Five-Minute Journal have created a beautiful Productivity Planner. If it’s designed anything like the Five-Minute Journal, this is going to be a journal you can’t wait to fill-out - that actually works. The new planner claims to guide your focus on the three to five most important tasks of the day - the same technique used by Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and others. Projected delivery date is January 2016. Pre-order yours via Kickstarter here. (I bought 4 - 1 for me and 3 for gifts.)
Watch the video below to get the whole tour and learn exactly why it works.
The book I’ve gifted more than any other is Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work. He teaches creatives how to share their creative process to generate interest in their work, as well as tocontinually generate ideas. I’m so happy that Austin has just released his “Steal Like an Artist” Journal. Nothing makes me happier than seeing artists and other creatives rewarded and recognized for their talents. He leads by example in such a beautifully useful way, so I can only imagine how much fun my most eclectic and creative readers will have with this gem! Austin says:
"Think of it as a daily course in creativity: a portable workshop and course book, jammed full of inspiration, prompts, quotes, and exercises designed to turn you into a creative kleptomaniac."
Order your journal here (and subscribe to his newsletter on the same page)!
It’s not that complicated: I took the Facebook app off my iPhone a couple of weeks ago and haven’t looked back. I was also shocked at the lack of reflex to check Facebook once it was gone. Perhaps like you, every time I check Facebook (but particularly when I check it on my phone) my first reaction is “What am I doing here?” Repeat 25x/day, then you really start to disappoint yourself in the face of such a silly addiction. This was a knee-jerk reaction to a friend’s post on why she was deleting her Facebook app. Nope, not going to be so cutthroat with Instagram... Who’s in? Who’s done this already? Share your comments below!
Did you know that (according to Noisli.com) the wrong sound environment makes you 66% less productive? That’s why I’ve pulled together this list of resources for soundtracks that encourage focus and productivity. Unless your office windows open to a mountain stream, you’re working amidst more noise pollution than you realize.Read More
Everybody loves a good personality test. Amy Lynn Andrews' Useletter just posted a helpful article which led me to one. The 4 Types of Productivity Styles is the first article of its kind that I've read that actually feels useful. For each of the 4 styles, author Carson Tate recommends 4 - 5 apps and tools, most that are brand new to me! I couldn't pin down my style just from the article which is why I was thrilled to see that Carson has a very thorough assessment on her site. I'm a "Visualizer," meaning I "see the big picture and have the ability to work very quickly." Spot-on. Read the article here. Take Carson's productivity style assessment here.
Artists have some of the most creative ways of organizing their thoughts and projects. Thanks to Austin Kleon, author of Show Your Work, for recently sharing in his blog these two creatives and how they creatively use space to produce art. They're not necessarily space-saving solutions, but contain some out-of-the-box inspiration: Click here to see how artist & author Twyla Tharp uses bankers boxes like you've never seen before. http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/58625662398
Click here to see how film editors and writers are using the trusty, analog index card to layout their ideas.
You may remember that after the new year, inspired by Chris Brogan's post, I chose three words to shape my 2015. (Click here to read my original post on this style of new year's resolutions). They were Green, Reach, and Offline.
Let's revisit mine:
Green – This is twofold: I want to eat more green foods and spend more time outdoors.
Reach – I want to get creative in reaching more people with my work.
Offline – I won’t be taking a year off the internet, heck, probably not even a weekend, but I want to choose offline as much as I choose online.
Green – B
Reach – C
Offline – D (though I'd give myself a B+ just looking at the last month or so)
Looks like I have some refocusing to do… I need to ask myself what it would take to bump those grades up, as these three words still resonate as they did back in January. Resolutions need revisiting if they stand a chance at making a difference in your life.
Did you choose 3 words with me back in January?
If so, what were they and how are they shaping your year (if at all)? We still have 5 months in 2015. It's not too late to pick your words! Please share in the comments below.