COD — The Simple, Easy To Use Productivity System Anyone Can Learn.

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Over the years I have been practising better productivity I have studied many of the ‘systems’ available. Most are quite complex, many involve a lot of hours of setting up and all involve a disproportionate amount of time to maintain. For a lot of people this is not too much of a challenge, but for most people, a productivity system that allows them to just get on with their work and disappears into the background is the nirvana.

After much studying, I came up with my own system that focuses on simplicity, ease of use and disappears into the background and only requires around ten minutes at the end of the day to maintain. Now, if you cannot find ten minutes at the end of the day, then you have far bigger problems than time management and productivity. Everyone can find ten minutes each day to organise their stuff if they are serious about becoming better organised and more productive.

Let me introduce you to COD — Collect, Organise and Do.

COD is based on the basic fundamentals of all great productivity systems. That is you need to collect everything that means something to you. That could be a commitment or an event. It could be an idea or something you would like to look into at some point in the future. Once you have collected everything, you need to organise what you collected in a place you trust you will be able to find what you collected later. That could be a notes application, it could be a digital cloud drive or it could be a simple paper-based notebook or folder. And finally, you need to be doing your work and the things you want to do at the right time.

So how does all this work?

Throughout the day you collect and do. This means the tools you use to collect your commitments, appointments and ideas should be easily accessible and are with you everywhere you go — after all, great ideas can come to us at any time in any place. Today, those tools are most likely to be your mobile phone or computer, but it could just as easily be a small pocket notebook. Your collection method needs to be as fast as possible and this means the applications you use should be optimised for speed of capture. This is the reason why I use Todoist for my commitments and todos and Evernote for my ideas and notes. You might prefer another method or application, there are a lot of choices out there. Choose carefully and make sure that whatever tool you use, whether it is digital or paper-based, it is easy and fast to collect.

Organise.

Next comes the organising. Now, this is a very personal subject and you should be organising your stuff in a way that works for you. A mistake I find a lot of people making is copying someone else’s organisation structure. The chances are someone else’s system will not work for you. Our brains are wired differently. I grew up in an analogue world with physical filing cabinets and plastic in-trays, which means my brain is wired to organise alphabetically. I have tested other ways to organise, but nothing works as well as a simple alphabetical system. My notes are tagged with the subject the note is related to. For example, for my Korean study programme, I have a Notebook in Evernote called “Korean” and I tag notes I collect related to Korean with the subject. It could be “Korean vocabulary — eating out” or “Korean vocabulary — questions”. I know those tags are long, but they work for me.

Once you have decided on how you want to organise things you should test it for speed. If you have an organisational structure that fits the way your brain works, organising your stuff should be very fast. To start with, you may find you have to do a bit more thinking about where something goes, but after a few days or weeks, you will find you can organise everything you collected almost without thinking.

Organise your todos by project or areas of focus?

This question is a difficult one to answer. For some people, projects is how they think. Each project they have is organised with its title and deadline and the tasks required to complete that project are listed within that project. For others, their areas of focus is how they like to organise things. Areas like family, hobbies, health and fitness for their personal life and marketing, sales, personal development for their professional life. Again, this is really up to you and how your brain works. If you are a beginner to productivity and time management, then experiment for a few weeks. I use a combination of both these. My areas of focus help to keep me organised with my various roles as a husband and a business owner. It also helps me to stay focused on my health and fitness and hobbies. I like to have project work like writing books, developing courses and holiday plans as separate projects. Choose what works best for you. You may find you need to experiment a little to discover what works.

When to do your organising.

Organising is best done daily. I have found if you try and organise all your collected stuff at the end of the week, the job of organising becomes too much. Once it becomes too much you will resist doing it and you will soon find yourself back to being a disorganised mess. Instead, spend ten minutes at the end of the day organising everything you collected that day. I organise every day Sunday through Thursday and allow myself a break on a Friday and Saturday. This is because I find I don’t collect very much on those days and the things I collect can be organised when I do my weekly review on a Sunday afternoon. If you are organising every day, and you have developed a system that works seamlessly and is fast, then all you will need is ten minutes each day to organise. At first, it will take a little longer than ten minutes. But once you have developed the habit and are comfortable with the way you have organised your stuff, then ten minutes is all it should take. I call this my “Golden Ten” minutes.

The rest of the time you are doing. Doing the work you have assigned for yourself. COD is simple, fast and is designed to work the way you think. When you build a system around the way you think and naturally organise stuff, you will find being better organised and more productive is easy.

The COD workflow.

To help you better understand the flow of COD, below is a workflow diagram that although looks complex, is actually simple to use. I have also put it in ‘dark mode’ for you because it seems very trendy to have a dark-mode option these days. If you prefer a ‘light mode’ version you can download a PDF copy from my downloads page on my website.


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You can also enrol in my FREE Beginners Guide To Productivity where I take you through the principles of COD and how to get it set up using a todo list manager, a notes app and a calendar.

Good luck and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to give you some guidance if you need it.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit that like button below. 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.


How To Not Get Caught Up In Unimportant Busy Work.

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One of the things that has always struck me about amazingly productive people is their ability to quickly decide whether something is important or not. These incredibly productive people seem to be able to eliminate the unimportant and only focus on tasks that will move them closer towards their goals.

A better way of making sure you get the important things done.

In my book, Your Digital Life 2.0, I explained this by recommending you establish what routine tasks you have to do each day, week and month and then separate them into their own project. What this does is help to remove tasks that need doing, but do not improve the quality of your life or take you closer towards achieving your goals. Those things just have to be done. Taking the garbage out, doing the weekly sales report or cleaning your house. These are tasks that will not take you further forward to achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Essentially what you are doing is demoting their importance to you so you can focus on the higher quality tasks.

We naturally move towards the easy tasks.

The problem is when you have a to-do list full of important and unimportant tasks you are naturally going to navigate towards doing the easy tasks. Doing the quick easy tasks gives you the dopamine hit we all crave and we feel our to-do list is shrinking. The problem is we also feel we are accomplishing something, yet if you took a step back you would release you are accomplishing nothing important. The harder, longer tasks get pushed back and those are tasks left to do when we are tired or about to finish for the day. The problem here is those more difficult, harder tasks are the important tasks. The tasks that would accelerate you towards achieving the things you want to achieve.

A far better way to manage your to-do list is to relegate those easy routine tasks to the end of the day. And this is why moving your routine tasks into a separate list helps to stop you from being tempted into doing them at the expense of the more important tasks.

The question is how do you do that?

The first thing you can do is sit down and take a look at your to-do list from the last week. Look at the tasks you completed and find the tasks that you have to do every day or week and write them down on a list. Once you have collected all those tasks onto a list, find the ones that have to be done regularly either daily, weekly or monthly and decide whether they are tasks that improve you as a person and take you closer towards achieving your goals. If they don’t they are likely to be routine tasks and you can move those tasks into a separate list called “routines”.

Tasks such as “go for a run” may be routines, but they improve the quality of your life. These are important tasks. Tasks such as these do not go on your routines list. However, a task such as “prepare weekly grocery list”, is a routine task. It just has to be done. Those kinds of tasks go on your routines list.

I have a weekly task to write this blog post. It comes up on my daily to-do list every Monday. This task is a task that contributes towards my goal of helping one million people to become better organised and more productive by 2020. I do not consider writing this post a routine. It contributes towards a goal. Yet, cleaning up my folders, project lists and calendar does not contribute towards any of my goals and so a task like that would be on my routines list.

Becoming better organised and more productive is not just about starting a to-do list. There is much more involved. It’s a great start to write everything down that needs doing, but you also need to attack that list with laser-like focus to establish which of those tasks are important and will contribute towards your overall goals and which ones will not. What you want to do is apply Pareto’s Rule to your list by asking yourself which twenty per cent will contribute to eighty per cent of my goals? Those are the tasks you should focus on completing. The other eighty per cent of your tasks you do when you can, if you have time.

This is why doing the Golden Ten daily planning works so well. Those ten minutes at the end of the day when you sit down and plan out the next day not only leaves you feeling less stressed, but it also helps you to stay focused on the important work, the work that will turn you into a productivity master. During those ten minutes, you can see what needs doing and make sure the important tasks get done first so that when you are feeling tired towards the end of the day you can be safe in the knowledge you have done your twenty per cent important tasks.




Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit that like button👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Should Be Focused On Simplicity Not More Features And Complexity.

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The biggest reason so many people fail to maintain a robust, workable productivity system is their desire for complexity. This desire seems to be human nature. We begin simply enough, but then we add more and more levels of complexity until eventually, we have a system that takes far too long to maintain.

First the analogue world

When I began building my own productivity systems years ago it was simple. I had a list of things I needed to do that day and I carried a diary where I wrote my appointments. Notes and ideas were put in a little notebook or in my diary. It was simple. Each item had its place and there were no grey areas.

Then the digital world.

Then along came the digital world. It began with a calendar app on my computer which then became a calendar app on my phone and a to-do list and a notes app. Then app stores opened up a world of business to software developers and we soon got deluged with productivity apps. These wonderful developers devised fantastic features to add to our apps so they could differentiate themselves from the competition. Some of these apps succeeded — OmniFocus, Todoist and Trello. Others failed. Unfortunately, for us consumers, this has given us far too much choice, which has led to constant switching and trying out new apps, which destroys our productivity.

Find a problem and solve it is not great entrepreneurial advice.

I understand why so many apps have become feature bloated. The generic advice for all aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a problem that needs solving and solve it. In the productivity world, that means trying to find a way for an app to do the work for us. Of course, this is not going to happen, so the next best idea is to add features.

A classic example of this is a feature called “start dates”. Start dates as far as I can tell is a feature unique to OmniFocus. What it does is allows the user to add a start date to a project or task so it ‘disappears’ until the start date. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. The problem here is now we have “start dates” and “due dates”. So when we are processing the things we have collected, we have two dates to think about. If I added a start date and a due date to a task or project, and I got the start date wrong (something I often did) even though I had a due date added, if the start date was after the due date, I would end up not seeing the task. The start date overrode the due date. Fortunately, I saw the ridiculousness of this feature and stopped using start dates. I went back to keeping everything as simple as possible. I dated projects and tasks for when they needed doing and made sure I did a full weekly review every Sunday. No more missed deadlines.

Even email apps are not immune.

We are now seeing this with email apps. Each new email app has so many features it has become almost impossible to keep up. We have “snoozing”, scheduled sending, read/receipts, smart mailboxes and so on. But if you stop and think for a moment, email should be simple. A person sends you an email, you see it, you make a decision about what to do with it (reply, file or delete) and move on to the next one. Operating at this simple level makes email easy, stress-free and manageable. When we add in snoozing, smart filtering, VIPs and all the other stuff that’s now added to our email apps, we end up with far too many decisions to make and that just slows us down.

What we need is different to what we think we want

What we need are apps that focus on simplicity, not features. To-do lists need to be built around collecting, organising and doing. We collect stuff throughout the day, we organise that stuff into projects and then we get on and do the stuff. When we are doing, the app should disappear. Email apps should make it very easy to reply, file or delete emails without having us to make decisions about whether we want to snooze an email, or flag it or schedule a response. Notes apps should be making it easy for us to capture notes and then find them again when we need them. None of this is difficult. Simplicity and speed. That’s what is needed.

The secret to success is simplicity.

I’m not a developer, I’m a consumer. One of the reasons I moved away from OmniFocus to Todoist was a need to return to simplicity. OmniFocus is great! It has so many features, but I realised those features, designed to make my life easier, were actually making me less productive. My move to the simpler Todoist gave me a huge boost in productivity and that was down to Todoist’s focus on simplicity. I’ve used one note taking app for nine years now, Evernote. Evernote comes in for a lot of criticism because they are not adding new features. The truth is, one of the reasons Evernote has endured for over ten years is because it has not been adding more and more features. There are just enough features for power users, but it has remained simple enough for anyone to use.

The majority of consumers do not need, nor want, all this complexity. What consumers want is a product that is fast, simple to use and works without crashing, freezing or causing confusion by having so many choices.

If you want to boost your productivity, if you want to get more amazing work done and if you want an easier, stress-free life, then go back to basics. Focus on simplicity and use apps that have fewer features. Apps with fewer features are less likely to go wrong, have a much easier learning curve and will allow you to spend more time doing your work. And that is what being productive is all about.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

You Will Fall Off The Productivity Wagon. Here’s What To Do When You Do.

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No matter how strong your intentions are, there will always be days, weeks or even months when you will lose your productivity habit. It happens to us all from time to time. I’ve gone through it so many times myself when I have become a disorganised mess and yet, I’ve always found a way to get back into my productivity stride by following a few simple strategies.

Here are a few of those strategies you can use to get back into your productivity habits quickly when it happens to you.

1 Learn to recognise the trigger points.

As they say, “prevention is better than cure” If you find yourself regularly falling off the productivity wagon ask yourself why. There are multiple reasons why a person may frequently fall off the wagon. It could be having an overly complex collection system to not having your collection tools with you at all times. Problems can also occur when you do not have clearly defined projects and areas of focus or you continue to ‘trust’ your brain to remember things. Find the triggers or the bottlenecks to your system and discover ways to remove them now before your habits fail.

2 Keep your system as simple as possible.

One of the biggest causes of falling off the productivity wagon is over complexity. If you create a productivity system that is so complex, that when you find yourself inundated with work and imminent project deadlines, it’s easy to stop collecting and organising. The way to avoid this is to build as simple a system as possible. Focus on active projects, areas of focus and have a someday | maybe folder for all inactive or ‘would like to do’ projects. Creating a system involving complex project and task hierarchies may appear great at first but it will become a drag on your effectiveness eventually. Reduce the complexity.

3 Focus on the basics of COD

When you do find yourself in a productivity mess get back to the basic principles of COD — Collect, Organise, Do. These basic principles will always get you back on track. Collect everything that has your attention and is on your mind into one list. It does not matter whether it is a digital list or pen and paper list. All you need do is get everything into one list. Then organise the items you have collected into their right place — projects go into your project list, ideas into your notes app and appointments and deadlines onto your calendar.

Starting from this position will always get you back into a state of organisation and it returns clarity and control into your life.

4 take some time out to gather everything together.

Whenever I have fallen off the wagon, I set aside an afternoon or an evening to get things back under control. Usually, this would be a Friday or Sunday afternoon, but it really doesn’t matter when you do it. Once you recognise you have stopped being productive and you feel everything around you is a mess, that’s the time to take a step back and take some time off to get things back under control. Do a quick review of where your system is and what’s overdue and needs urgent attention, then go through the process of COD. I’ve always found this one step lifts a huge weight off my shoulders and fills me with optimism and energy to get things back on track.

5 Have a backup collection system on standby.

There are going to be times when there is so much going on at work and in your personal life that it becomes difficult to keep up with everything going on. These situations are rare, but they do happen. If you find you are unable to maintain your system, stop worrying. A great trick is to switch to a piece of paper on your desk to capture everything, or a simple note open on your computer where you can just drop ideas, commitments and tasks when they come up. You can then “organise” these collected items later. There have been many times when I have been working at a client’s office and have not had easy access to my regular collection tools when I have resorted to using a single page in my notebook (I carry a notebook in my work bag everywhere I go). Once I get back to my own desk, I transfer the relevant items into Todoist or Evernote later.

Don’t be too hard on yourself — nobody’s perfect. Situations change and things will break. The important thing is you have a system in place that makes it easy to jump back on the productivity track quickly and without too much effort when you do fall off. It happens to us all at times but the key is to have a way to quickly get back on the productivity wagon when you do fall off.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

4 Simple Habits To Become Better Organised And More Productive.

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Over the twenty-five years of having a seemingly unhealthy fascination with all things to do with productivity and time management the biggest lesson I have learnt is to become better organised and more productive is not something that happens by accident or overnight.

It’s an interesting idea that if you could just find the perfect app or the perfect system somehow a miracle will happen and without doing anything you become amazingly productive and all your stuff will organise itself. Of course, this is not going to happen. No app or system is ever going to do that for you. Even the growth of artificial intelligence won’t help you. AI will still require you to input data in some form or another and you will still have to make decisions on how best to organise your work before any machine will be able to do anything with it.

If you are serious about becoming better organised and more productive you are going to have to do your work and change your habits.

The biggest reason you find yourself disorganised and unproductive are the habits you practice every day. When you are asked to do something and you rely on your memory to remember it, you should not be surprised when you forget to do it. Likewise, if you have no idea what work is important and what is not, you will gravitate towards doing the easy, non-important work. These habits destroy productivity and unless you identify them and change them, you are not going to become more productive.

There are a number of best practices you can follow that have been tested by millions of incredibly productive people and proven to work and many of these best practices have been backed up by science. You are never going to change the laws of physics or the laws of human nature. That being the case once you are aware of them you can develop habits that will counter these human deficiencies.

Here are a few to get you started:

Don’t trust your brain to remember things.

Our brains are not great at reminding us to do the things that need doing at the right time. This is why when you use the last of the milk for your morning cup of coffee on your return from work at the end of the day, your brain is not going to remind you to buy milk as you pass the convenience store. Your brain recognises patterns very well and notices when things are different. That is why you always remember you need milk when you go to get the milk from the fridge and you discover there’s no milk. Your regular pattern of having milk in the fridge has changed and now your brain recognises something is wrong and you get an alert. Unfortunately at 7 am, desperate for that morning caffeine hit, is not when you want the alert.

Get into the habit of writing everything down on a list. It does not have to be a complex list either. A simple list on your phone will do. Before you leave work at the end of the day, have a look at the list to see if there is anything you need to do on your way home. Simple but incredibly effective.

Putting things away in their right place.

This one I see with my wife all the time. She wears glasses at home (and contact lenses when going out). My wife leaves her glasses all over the house. Sometimes in the bathroom, sometimes the bedroom or living room. When she wants her glasses she can never find them. Now we don’t live in a huge house, so it usually only takes a few minutes to find them, but over time those few minutes spent looking for her glasses add up. For a more stress-free, easier life I discovered that if I put my glasses in the same place every evening when I go to bed, I know exactly where they will be the next day and never have to waste time searching for them. You can use the same method with keys, your work bag and other items you need to take with you when you go to work. Always put things away in the same place and you will save yourself a lot of time.

Create a morning and evening routine.

Our brains love routines. Regular routines don’t need a lot of energy to maintain or think about. Simple routines like looking at your calendar before you go to bed to see where you have to be and when the next day or doing the dishes before you sit down and relax after dinner. All these little things, once a routine save energy and allows your brain to use its energy to think of other, more important things. Routines also help you to make sure you have everything you need for the day. Make it a routine to charge your phone at the same time each day, to exercise or to make and pack your lunch. All these little things once routine help you to become better organised.

Do a weekly review and identify the things you want to complete next week.

One of the most effective ways to create amazing momentum in your life is to spend an hour each week reviewing what you have done and what you want to get done the following week. This is a habit that changes lives because it focuses you on what is important.

It is very easy to drift through life not achieving much of anything. Even if you never set goals, a weekly review will give you some indication where you are going and where you are right now. If you are not excited by the destination, your weekly review will give you time to think more clearly about where you want to go, what you want to achieve and what you want to accomplish in the following week. It helps you to identify the important things and tells you if you are spending too much time on unimportant things.

These are just a few things you can do to help you become better organised and more productive. By adopting these tiny best practices you will see an immediate improvement in what you achieve. You will have a clearer picture of what is important to you and you will be able to take steps to eliminate those things that are not important and are wasting your time. Your brain is hard-wired to take the easy road and to drift. It is easy to change that by adopting a few simple best practices and habits. Once these have become ingrained you will find your productivity and organisation improve and there will be nothing to stop you from achieving amazing things.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Be Focused On Your Outcomes Not Your Tasks.

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There’s a common misconception about being productive — that productivity is about completing a lot of tasks each day and to become more productive all you have to do is complete more tasks. Of course, this is not true.

Becoming more productive is about doing work that matters so your measurable output increases. Completing two tasks that move a project or goal further forward is going to produce far better long-term results than completing a hundred tasks that have no impact on any of your important projects or goals.

Stop picking the low hanging fruit.

We have a natural tendency to go after the low hanging fruit. To check off the easy tasks because doing so makes us feel good. We get that dopamine hit and that puts a smile on our face and has us wanting more. So we populate our to-do lists with even more easy, non-important tasks just so we can check them off and get that dopamine hit. It becomes a vicious circle we put more and more unimportant tasks on our to-do lists hoping for more dopamine hits.

Of course, we tell ourselves we are completing important tasks. After all, we must have a clean desk so we can focus better on our work and we need to make sure we have enough staples in our top draw just in case we run out while stapling important documents. Oh, and we should check our email just one more time in case something important has come in.

Begin the day with a simple plan.

We all have a good mix of easy routine and hard project work to complete each day. Difficulties start when you are not clear about what work is important. Prioritising your work is a big part of becoming more productive. This is why beginning the day with a plan based on what current projects are important is vital. However, the routine work can very easily take over the day if you are not careful.

Assign time each day/week for your routine admin work.

There are a couple of ways you can make sure the less important routine work does not take over your day. One way is to assign one day each week for admin work. This could be Friday afternoon for example. Friday’s are famously difficult to focus on important work because we are often thinking about our plans for the weekend. If that is the case, you could assign Friday as your admin and clean up day (you could even make sure you have enough staples in your top drawer). This means you only have easy tasks to do on Friday and you don’t need a lot of focus to get them done. Another way is to allocate a time slot each day to do your admin and routine tasks. Giving yourself one hour a day to just get the routine, easy tasks complete will help you to stay focused on the important, project work for the other seven or eight hours each day. I assign one hour a day for all my routine admin work. I usually assign the end of the day to do this because I don’t need a lot of concentration to do it. But you can choose any time of the day or week to do it.

Focus on your desired outcome.

The key to better productivity is to focus on the outcome you want, not the tasks that will get you there. We often add unnecessary tasks when we are planning out a project. For example, “send email to get 2019 planning template”. Nine times out of ten, a phone call would get the desired result faster. You might also find you have tasks such as “talk to John about the presentation order” and lower down your list have a task saying “ask John for the 2019 sales forecast”. These two tasks could be completed either by one phone call or walking down the hall to talk to John, but because the tasks are not grouped together you miss the second one. That means now you have to communicate with John twice instead of once.

When you set up a project, you need to be very clear on what it is you are trying to achieve. What’s the desired outcome for the project? David Allen, in Getting Things Done, writes about this and Tony Robbins in his Time Of Your Life course puts a lot of stress on outcome thinking. The tasks help, they are signposts along the way, but more often than not the shortest distance between where you are now and successfully completing the project is not through completing all your tasks in the right order, more often than not the fastest way to completing the project is a simple phone call or going out to see the client or customer.

I use Evernote to plan out my projects and not Todoist. I can add tasks and steps I think will be needed to complete the project in a list at the bottom of my project note and once I am satisfied I have everything needed to get the project completed, I go through the list removing tasks I feel are not necessary. What I end up with is a list of absolutely essential tasks. This often reduces the number of tasks required to complete the project down by half.

If you are serious about becoming more productive, focus less on your tasks and more on what it is you are trying to achieve. The goal, the completed project and the outcome you desire are what you are looking for, not completing ten tasks so you feel like you have accomplished something. As Jim Rohn said, “Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what?”

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit the life button below. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

The Secret To Happiness Is In What You Create Not What You Buy.

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For many, having the latest gadget, the nicest car in the street or the best job in your community is everything. Yet these do not lead to a happy, fulfilled life. Sure you get a short-lived buzz, a little smile on your face for a few days. But the lustre and shine soon disappear and then what are you left with?

To really experience the feeling of joy and happiness every day — that long-lasting contentment with your life — you need to pursue more than material things. You need a goal, a purpose. Something to drive and inspire you each day. Something that lights up your fire and brings a smile to your face every morning. It needs to be the reason you wake up every morning with energy, enthusiasm and a desire to make progress. Those material things won’t do that in the long-term. Those will just leave you feeling empty.

To discover your purpose and the things that will bring you long-term joy and happiness, you need to take some time to think about what it is you enjoy doing. Life is about our experiences, our accomplishments, our creations and the people we meet along the way. Unless you take some time to figure out what it is you want to do with your life — this amazing gift you have — you are going to waste it.

Here are a few things that will bring you long-term happiness:

  • writing a book about something you love
  • striving each day to be better than you were yesterday
  • building your own business
  • raising a family
  • working on a side project that will potentially change the world
  • building huge levels of health and fitness
  • making the world a little better than you found it

What you will find is these things are journeys. None of them will bring you instant gratification. They take a long time, a lot of effort and persistence and that is where the joy and happiness come from. The feeling you are making progress on something. Something you created, something you built. Something you can feel proud of. That is where your happiness can be found.

Throughout these journeys, you will experience hardship, knock-backs and frustration. It’s all part of the journey. The harder you find the journey the greater the joy and happiness you will feel in the long-term. It’s the feeling of making progress that brings the joy and happiness.

If you seek happiness in things you buy you will never find it. If you seek happiness in things you create you will have a life of pure joy and happiness. Of course, there will be a side helping of frustration and disappointment, but then that’s all part of the journey. Happiness comes from overcoming setbacks and disappointments and creating something you are proud of.

That’s it. The secret to everlasting happiness. Now go out there and start creating, building, developing and growing and you too will soon discover the simple joys and happiness life brings each day.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit that like button It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

 

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

In Defence Of InBox Zero And Why You Should Be Using It.

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Inbox Zero is an email management system created by Merlin Mann around 2006. The basic concept is there are only four things you can do with an email when it comes in: Reply, delete, defer or delegate it. This means when you are working on an email you do one of these four things with it and move it from your inbox. The idea is that by the end of the day, your inbox will be zeroed out and all emails will have been dealt with appropriately. Merlin did a great talk at Google Talks that is well worth watching for a full breakdown of how the system works.

These days, inbox zero appears to be out of fashion and I find it hard to understand why. I have seen articles and comments likening inbox zero to being Sisyphus forever rolling a rock up a hill, suggesting inbox zero is a waste of time and not a practical way to handle email because it’s a never-ending task. And yet, since I adopted the principles of inbox zero around 2009, I have never had any problems with email. No overwhelm, no difficulty finding anything and I generally reply to email in a timely manner.

Being Organised and productive will always be never-ending

The same, of course, can be said with anything related to becoming better organised and more productive. Many things in life will feel like Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a hill. Putting clothes away at the end of the day is a never-ending task. Doing the dishes after eating a meal, or writing the weekly sales report. These are all never-ending tasks. If you don’t do these tasks, things will mount up and become a huge mess. Never putting clothes away after you have worn them will eventually make it difficult to find the clothes you want to wear when you want to wear them. Not doing the dishes at the end of the day will result in you not being able to find a clean cup in the morning for that life-giving first cup of coffee.

This also is the case with email. If you are not dealing with email as it comes in, it is going to mount up and become a cesspit of overwhelm and disorganisation. Finding that important email, sent to you last month, will take up a disproportionate amount of time because you cannot remember the correct spelling of the name of the person who sent it to you. And your suppliers, and in many cases, your customers will feel you don’t care because you didn’t take the two minutes it would take to respond to their message.

The importance of good email etiquette.

Any email that requires a reply has been sent by a human being. It is simply polite to reply in a timely manner! It shocks me the number of times I have answered a complete stranger’s question and not received a simple thank you reply. I don’t mind, but if I reach out to a stranger for an answer to a question, I always have the courtesy and good manners to thank them for their answer.

If your email is a mess, you cannot claim to be a productive person.

However, the deeper issue here is how can anyone claim to be a productive, organised individual if their email organisation is non-existent? Maybe their to-do list is beautifully set up, their notes app has a sophisticated structure that manages their notes in a complex hierarchical structure and yet their email inbox has thousands of opened and unopened emails. That is not the character of a well organised, productive individual. It’s a sign of laziness. If you are striving to become a better organised and productive person, you cannot do it by half measures. It’s an either all in or not at all way of life. It’s like someone running 10km every morning for their health but smoking twenty cigarettes a day, eating burgers, pizza and cookies and downing eight pints at the end of the day. You’re not living a healthy life.

Two questions: “What is it?” And “what’s the next action?”

Of all the email organisation systems I have come across over the years, inbox zero is by far the best system. As soon as an email comes in, I ask the questions: “what is it?” And “what is the next action?” Whatever the next action is I do it. There are only four things I can do with an email. Deal with it if it will take me less than two minutes. Defer it if I need more than two minutes. Delete it if it has no value to me or forward it on to a person who could handle it better than I could. This is not on a level with quantum physics. It is simple and with practice, you get incredibly fast at it.

Email is one of the best communication methods ever developed. It allows us to communicate with people on the other side of the world in an instant. It allows us to send documents, confirm reservations and receive important information. It is a fundamental part of any system, just as important as your to-do list and notes. If you want to become a more productive, organised person you need to treat email in the same way you treat your to-do list manager and notes app. Have a system in place that organises your mail so they are easy to find when you need them and always remember that when another human being sends you an email, they have taken valuable time to write to you and so the least you could do is reply with a simple thank you.


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Find out more about my 2018 Email Productivity Mastery course right here. Learn how to implement the system described in this post and become an master of email productivity.


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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why Time And Life Mastery Matters.

It is a very busy world. A world where anything that might be interesting is broadcasted to the world instantly. A world where everyone appears to have an opinion on everything from the size of Donald Trump’s hands to the latest famous celebrity misdeed.

We also live in a world where our boss, colleagues, friends and customers expect us to reply to their demands within seconds. It is a challenging world.

While in many ways this world is exciting, fun and awe-inspiring it also means we have very little time left for the things we want to do. Many people don’t have any time to even discover what it is they want to do so they drift from one demand to the next without stopping for a moment to think about what it is they want to do and achieve.

This is why last year I created the Time And Life Mastery course. A course designed to help people discover what they wanted to do with their lives. To establish some goals and to have a clear vision about the future they wanted to create for themselves. A future where goals and ambitions take centre stage and the demands of others are assessed before being acted upon.

Taking control is a vital skill

Taking control of your own life and time is a crucial skill today. Being able to assess an interruption or demand and it’s value in our lives so we remain in control and not allow it to be pulled into places we have no interest or desire to go in. It’s hard, particularly when our always-on digital devices demand our attention. But it is possible.

It’s possible to wake up in the morning and begin the day working on yourself. To exercise and take care of your health. To be able to begin the day with a plan that involves working on yourself and not other people. To have a plan for the day that is flexible enough to take care of the demands the day throws up and be able to work on your life so each day you become a better, more effective person crystal clear about what you want to achieve and how you want to live your life. It is not easy, but it is possible.

Time And Life Mastery has been created to help you get your life and time back. To guide you towards discovering the goals and things you want In your life. To give you the tools to develop those goals and ambitions into achievable plans and to show you how to manage your time so your goals and ambitions are built upon every day.

This year’s Time And Life Mastery is even better. There are ten new video classes and new worksheets to help you develop your plans. From finding the fifty things you want to do and achieve over the next ten years to understanding what your majors and minors are so you can put in place the 2+8 Prioritisation system.

Build your own framework where the important takes centre-stage.

Time And Life Mastery will give you the framework on which to build a fantastic life and a life of no regrets. It will give you the skills and know-how to take back control of your life so you become the director of your own life story and not your boss, family, customer or society.

This year’s course goes live on Friday 3 August and I would love to see you there. I want to help you build a life you want to live. To be able to help you achieve your goals and dreams and be your life and productivity guide through this time demanding, but exciting world.

If you are already enrolled in Time And Life Mastery this is a free upgrade. If you are new to Time And Life Mastery there will be a limited time early bird discount on offer. You can visit the course page right here to see what’s new and over on my YouTube channel I will be posting a few videos giving you more details about this fantastic course throughout the week.

I hope you can join me in this course so you can start building the life you have always wanted.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why Drifting Through Life Will Result In A Lifetime Of Regret.

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It so easy to allow ourselves to be seduced into following the prevailing currents. To allow life to push and pull us in any direction it so chooses. To follow the latest trends, to get upset by the things the faux outrage crowd are outraged about that day and to just settle for whatever life has served up for us.

The problem with this approach is that one day you are going to wake up and look back over your life and feel a huge sense of regret for not having done anything about the things you wanted to do. To have missed out on a chance to see the amazing things the world has to offer. From the canals of Venice to the Northern Lights in Norway. To have missed out on the chance to develop new skills and to have achieved something remarkable.

Sometimes, it feels like the world is against you. All the things we like are bad for us, chocolate cake, vodka cocktails and sitting down and binge-watching episodes of our favourite drama on Netflix — too much of a good thing…

Life has never been fair.

However, this is how it is meant to be. The world is not fair, Life is not fair. If you want to make an impact on the world you have to take action. You can’t write something on Facebook or Twitter and sit back and expect the world to change. It does not work like that. It takes years of writing, making your point over and over again and building a community of followers. It means consistently crafting your message and becoming better and better at what you do through deliberate practice. That’s the way life works and that is why we live in such a wonderful world and at such a wonderful time.

Find your own path.

A fulfilled life is not created by following other people. A fulfilled life is created by following your own path. It is about trying new things, no matter how crazy they may seem to other people. If you want to take a year off work and travel through the Amazonian jungle in an old 1970s Land Rover, then do it. Save the money, buy the Land Rover and just go do it. The adventure, the memories and the experience will last a lifetime and the skills you will learn along the way will make you an even better person than you already are. People will tell you if you buy an old 1970s Land Rover you will spend most of your time under the bonnet fixing something (probably true) and if you go to the Amazon you will get bitten by dangerous snakes or eaten by cannibals. They will tell you anything to stop you. Not because they care about you, but because they don’t have the courage to follow through with their dreams and they envy you.

Society wants you to live to the standard blueprint. It wants you to be ‘normal’, whatever that means in the society you live in. When you are “normal” you are predictable and you follow the rules. Most people yearn for something more than that. They want adventure, they want to be able to work from wherever they feel like working that day and they want opportunities to pursue unusual hobbies and interests without the fear of being negatively judged.

People will always judge you negatively because they envy you.

The thing is you will always be negatively judged if you veer from the norm. People will tell you-you can’t do something, or that other people have tried that and have failed (those other people are not you. Always remember that). You should just shut up and settle down to a nice Job and a quiet family life. But that might not be what you want. And if that is the case don’t let these people stop you from pursuing your dreams and ideas. If you do you will soon find you have no time left to pursue them and you will be filled with regret and disappointment.

We only get one shot. Life is not a rehearsal. It is your duty to create a remarkable life. To seek out adventure, to try new things and to leave the world a little bit better than you found it. That should be the goal. Not to live a life someone else wants you to live.

Live life with no regrets.

I’ve always liked the quote: “live life with no regrets”. That is a great way to live your life. It suggests you live life on your terms and not someone else’s and it invokes a sense of joy and happiness. Regret is poison to the soul. It erodes your confidence and it leads to misery. Don’t let it happen to you. Take some time to decide what it is you want to do with your life. What you want to achieve and what you want to learn. Then make a plan to achieve it. Once you have decided what it is you want to do and you have a plan, start doing. Start ticking off those things. Go see the sunrise in the east and the sunset in the west. Learn how to dismantle a car and rebuild it. Start learning Portuguese. Whatever it is you want to do start doing. Decide, plan, do. It’s that simple.

I have a complete course, Time And Life Mastery, that will help you achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. The whole course is designed to help you discover what you want to achieve in your life — for you to live your life how you want to live it and show you how you can achieve it. You can check out the course details here.

So whatever it is you yearn to do with your life, don’t let anyone tell you-you cannot do it. You can and even if you fail, at least you will have no regrets because you tried. “It’s better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all”

Not trying will lead to a lifetime of regret and that is not the way to live your life.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit the like button. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.