Don’t Just Be Busy: Be Productive! A Simple Tool for Increasing Daily Productivity
Guest post By Alissa M. Trumbull
Sometimes I have these mornings where I’m paralyzed in bed. I can’t move. I won’t move. I’ve spent the night mulling over what seems like 100 things that need to get done the second my feet hit the floor. Instead of getting up and running, my head feels busy and not productive, and I spend the day running circles around myself like a dog chasing its tail.
I know that I, like many others, continually look for ways to increase productivity. Some days are hard: I might have writing to do, errands to run, a vast number of emails to read and reply higher than a preschooler can count, and a job or two outside the house that require me to be dark on social.
A few weeks ago as a guest on #H2HChat, Brian Moran shared what he does to be more productive every day. Brian broke it down for us and showed how tasks on packed days – and the easy ones, too – can be grouped into four categories:
Urgent – It has to get done today. Don’t go to sleep until it’s finished.
Important – It really needs to get done today. Don’t get in trouble for not doing it.
Everyday – The daily routine. Muscle memory items.
Nonessential – If it doesn’t get done today, it can happen tomorrow. It’s okay to sleep on it.
This blew my mind. Such a simple categorization would allow me to provide better structure and more meaningful organization to my day. As a big fan of post-its, I’ve taken to laying out each day since then in these quadrants.
In the same chat, Brian noted, “Today is for execution; planning happens the night before.” So, now I wake up in the morning with today laid out from the previous evening. As my day goes on, I am able to remove items from my digital list. Ideally, I’ve done everything in the first three categories by the end of each day (and god forbid I forget to feed the cats!).
It’s amazing how my overall stress level has decreased and my productivity has increased during the past few weeks as I’ve utilized this new system. I no longer wake up fearing a lengthy to-do list. Instead, the visual division positively impacts my day, allowing me to be more organized, less busy, and more fruitful in my day-to-day activities.
I feel better. My relationships are better. My work is better. My life is better.
Alissa is a Community Gardener for BTC Revolutions. Her purpose in life is to help people find their aha moments. She lives in Denver with her husband and their two cats, and gets to see the mountains every day.