All right. It’s time to write this blog post once and for all. Oh, look, a notification on my smartphone. Sweet, I got 5 likes for that Instagram photo… Ahem. Back to work. This is serious, I have to write at least a couple o’… Oh, snap. There are still unread messages in my inbox. I should probably read that article first, I received it days ago, but it’s so long! I’ll just leave it hanging there for now. Oh-kay, so the post I’m supposed to write is about, wait a second, I swear I had my notes somewhere here… What, it’s that late already?
Most of us working in an office, as well as a many others, have an issue with productivity. If you are sitting there and shaking your head in disbelief, thinking, “I most certainly do not!” well, you might as well better admit it seeing as how this is the first step towards recovery (or so they say). Let’s face it, we’re more prone to distractions and less organized than ever. That’s why the latest Non-Tech Talk here at Polidea was about, quite literally, Getting Things Done®.
Our guest speaker, Michael Sliwinski, is the founder and CPO (Chief Productivity Officer) of Nozbe, a tool used to maximize the productivity of individuals and teams. He invented it first to organize his own work better (according to the ancient proverb of, “businessman, heal thyself”), and then started helping other people in need. His talk at Polidea was inspiring to hear in its entirety judging by the amount of my notes and questions asked after the presentation. Here are some of the rules a truly productive person always abides by:
1. Learn to make decisions. This is one of the biggest issues we all face at work, hands down. Our inboxes are overflowing (a figure of speech of course; can you imagine a 30 GB Google inbox filling up to the brim, ever?) with emails people sent us daily that pile up through all these weeks, months, and years.Though we should probably make a metaphorical examination of conscience and decide whether each one is important or not, what we should do with it, and then - look out, here comes the hardest part - we should just do it. A clean inbox is a lovely sight to see, but not an easily achievable one. The worst thing is, you kinda get used to hundreds of unread messages looming over you whenever you decide to check your mail. But the satisfaction of making a couple hundred decisions and getting rid of those pesky little distractions once and for all sure is worth it.
2. Know what to do next. This doesn’t mean you should assign every little thing its fifteen minutes in your calendar, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Plans have an annoying tendency to, well, not work (you know, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that), but it’s important that you always have a task ahead of you and not sit around half the day looking around aimlessly like a lost child because there are so many things to do yet you can’t decide on the one you should start this exact moment. The outcome is quite predictable: you end up accomplishing next to nothing throughout your entire day at work.
3. Do a review sometimes. So you’ve done all the tasks assigned for today, your inbox is squeaky clean, and everything around you is screaming “Atta girl/boy!” You get this warm, fuzzy feeling that happens every time you win this battle against distractions and disorder. You might want to stay on this cloud of self-appreciation forever (I can’t blame you, it’s pretty intoxicating), but keep in mind that you can still lose the war. There will be new emails, tasks and problems to face, and if you don’t pay attention, you might one day look around and find yourself under a pile of things to do, wondering how you’d gotten there. This is why a weekly review is important: it helps you react when it’s clear things are getting out of control.
4. Cut yourself some slack. It might seem contrary to what productivity is all about, but hear me out. All of us are only human(unless there is some bot reading this right now, in that case, shoo). We make mistakes. We get tired and overwhelmed by the amount of work before us. The idea is not to stop failing, but rather, if you fail, dust yourself off and try again. You’ll get the hang of it eventually.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Michael’s productivity tips, check out his course on the Nozbe website. In the meantime, close that Facebook tab and get back to work.
- Gosia JabłońskaUI Designer