How To Stop Procrastinating Once And For All.

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Many of you, I am sure, have big dreams. Things you want to accomplish in your life, goals to achieve and a lifestyle you want to create. Yet, despite having these dreams and aspirations, you never seem to be able to get round to doing anything about making them happen.

One of the biggest reasons for this is procrastination. We think about what we want, begin to give some thought about how we will achieve it and then get pulled away by another blog post on motivation or productivity or a video by Mel Robbins or Robin Sharma. It becomes a never-ending cycle. We sit down with the intention of finally doing something about what we want and get dragged off in directions we had not intended to go.

So how do you overcome this?

Be specific

Nine times out of ten the reason you never actually start doing what you need to do is that you have not clearly defined what it is you actually want. You may have a vague idea — to build a solid financial foundation for your future, for example — but it is only a vague idea and every time you sit down to develop a plan you begin to feel overwhelmed, so a Ray Dalio video on investing seems close enough to make you feel like you are doing g something.

To avoid this kind of procrastination you need to get very specific. What do you define as being financially secure? How much money do you need? What investments will you need to make? How will you grow your investments? Unless you answer these specific questions, you will always struggle to get started. The task will always feel too big. The solution is the break things down into bite-sized chunks so you can begin moving forward and building momentum.

Be intentional.

Whatever it is you want to achieve unless you are intentional about doing what you need to do to make it happen it will never happen. Knowing you need to start exercising is very different from intentionally starting to exercise. As Tony Robbins says, you need to “turn your shoulds into musts” “I should start exercising” is never going to happen. “I must start exercising” has a much greater chance of becoming reality.

To do this use your calendar. Whatever it is you want to change or begin doing, schedule time on your calendar to do it. Often to make something happen consistently, you need to have a regular time to do the activity. If that is exercise, get it on your calendar. If you want to master a new language, get your study time on your calendar. If you want to save more money, get putting money into your savings account on your calendar.

Whatever it is you want to do, be intentional. Set a day and a time when you will do what needs to be done and stick to it. You don’t accidentally roll out of bed at 5 AM in the morning and go out for a run. You go out running when you intend to wake up early and go out running.

Be consistent

Consistency is the key component of any person’s success. Without consistency, nothing will change. Saving $100 in January and then not saving anything else until July is not going to give you the results you want. Likewise, if your goal is to wake up early and you only get up early once a week, you are not achieving anything.

When you consistently schedule your activity on your calendar, when the time comes to do whatever you need to do arrives, you don’t need to think about what to do next, you will know exactly what you need to do and you will do it. I set my exercise time at 2 PM every Sunday to Thursday. I know exactly what I need to be doing at 2 PM on those days. It’s on my calendar and I know exactly what I want to do. There is no procrastination, no matter how tired I am or how cold or wet it is outside. If my calendar says I am going running at 2 PM today, that is exactly what I will do.

Be Aware.

Being aware of what you do when you procrastinate helps you to stop yourself from doing it. If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram frequently, don’t let yourself go near Instagram until you have completed the task you want to complete. In extreme cases delete the app from your phone. Although this is not necessary if you cannot resist the urge, delete it. Alternatively, hide it on a screen you rarely go to so the temptation is not there.

Knowing what your procrastination habits are goes a long way to helping you avoid situations where you procrastinate. In the past, I have found following the political machinations in the UK one of my bad procrastinating habits. I ended up deleting all news feeds that contained UK political news and now only allow a limited amount through into my RSS reader, Reeder. That way, I am not distracted whenever I am doing research for courses or articles, but I still get to know about the antics of the politicians in Parliament when I catch up on the news later in the day.

Be disciplined.

Discipline, along with consistency, are two of the most powerful traits of highly successful people. Without discipline, you will never get yourself out exercising or sit down to study applied economics. You need discipline and the good news about discipline is it is like a muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger it becomes.

To develop your discipline all you need to do is start small. Begin by limiting your social media time to lunchtimes and evenings for thirty minutes, for example. Learn how to say “no” to yourself. When you find yourself procrastinating, say “no” to yourself and stop doing whatever it is you were procrastinating with. Go for a short walk, or get up off the sofa and do the dishes. Do something other than what it was you were procrastinating with.

Over time you will find yourself being stronger mentally and that will set you up to be much better at preventing yourself from procrastinating.

Procrastination is not all bad. There are times when your brain needs a distraction to be creative. Procrastination is bad when it is stopping you from doing your important work or is not allowing you to get on with achieving your goals. When that happens you need to take steps to stop yourself. Be specific about what you want to achieve, be intentional with your time consistently and be aware of your procrastination triggers These habits will allow you to develop the necessary discipline to be more focused on what you want and will take you further towards achieving the success you are capable of.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like 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 I Use My Apple Watch To Maximise My Productivity.

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One of the surprising things in my life is my Apple Watch has been the biggest influence on my personal productivity since I first got an Apple Watch in 2015. Surprising because what I first saw as a device to monitor my exercise very quickly became the centrepiece of my productivity collection process.

The integration of Siri with the Apple Watch a couple of years ago was the catalyst for the productivity gain. If I need to collect an idea or a task or just add an item to my shopping list, all I have to do is raise my wrist and add the task or item to my list. It could not be any simpler. No typing, no opening of apps, just raise and speak.

Whenever I am coaching people, I always stress the importance of making sure collecting your ideas, tasks and events has the least amount of resistance. Whether you are using a pen and piece of paper or your phone, you should be optimising your collecting process so it is fast and easy. When your collection process is fast and easy you are much more likely to collect everything and not ‘trust’ your brain to remember it. For me, the Apple Watch has made the collection process so much easier.

It is true I now collect a lot of things I later decide has no importance to me, but if you want a productivity system to really work for you, collecting everything is what matters. Later, when you do your processing you can decide, in a cool, reflective way, whether it is relevant to you or not. Deleting a task or idea is simple and only takes a split second. Not collecting that task or idea could cost you a lot of time and money later. So, an increased volume in my inbox is not something I worry about.

So, how do I use my Apple Watch to improve my overall productivity?

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Watch face.

On my watch face, I use a customised Infograph. At the top I have today’s weather by temperature — a useful piece of information in South Korea as the temperature can vary quite significantly — and my exercise app so when I begin my exercise the Workout app is easily accessed.

In the centre of the face, I have the calendar complication at the top. This gives me today’s date by number as well as my next appointment. This feature is fantastic as it means with just a glance I know exactly what I should be doing next and when. I have my deep work sessions on my calendar with a clear description of what I want to work on during that session so with a glance at my watch I can see exactly what I will be working on next.

Also, in the middle of the face, I have the times in LA and London. I work with clients in Europe and the US, so knowing what time it is in those times zones is a very useful piece of information to have at hand. I also have my activity tracker in the centre to let me know how I am doing on my activity metrics for the day — this helps me decide whether to get off the bus a few stops earlier to ensure I close all my activity rings for the day.

Finally, at the bottom of the face, I have the timer and Drafts Apple Watch app. I use the timer for when I am meditating and cooking. I like to do a fifteen-minute session of meditation in the morning after I have finished my studying and the timer means I do not need to looking at my watch to see how long I have been doing. Instead, I get a vibration from the watch to tell me fifteens minutes are up.

Drafts Apple Watch App.

Drafts is the hub of my collection process. I use Drafts to collect everything I want to collect. Even on my phone, I prefer opening up Drafts, typing or dictating whatever it is I want to collect and sending it off to its rightful place. On my watch its one tap and dictate. It’s incredibly fast and it maintains a discreet number on the watch face to tell me what is in my Drafts inbox. That helps me to know if there is anything in there that needs processing.

Optimisation.

Optimising the way you collect your stuff is how you continue to grow and develop your productivity system. Often it is the small adjustments to how you collect or how you organise your stuff that can bring you big improvements to your system. If you have a complicated array of systems to collect your stuff, you will resist collecting. If you are not collecting into a trusted place, you will resist organising and if you don’t know where anything is you will not be working on the work that matters.

Using the best tools you have available to collect and organise your life and work and making sure these tools are set up so they work best for you is one of the fastest ways you can improve your overall productivity system. If you have a few quiet days this month, take a look at your system and see where you can make some small improvements. Look at how you collect your tasks, events and ideas. Can you make that collection faster? How are you organising what you collected at the end of the day? Can you improve your Golden Ten time? After all, the goal with any productivity system is being able to spend more time doing so you can spend more time doing the things you love doing with the people you love doing them with.



Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the 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.

Why You Should Build Your Productivity Around Your System, Not Your App.

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Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of the best books around for developing a productivity system. It provides a framework in which you can develop a tailor-made system. Unfortunately, as with all books that become a bible in an industry it gets interpreted in many competing ways.

We have the capture everything and spend an inordinate amount of time classifying and adding contexts to what you captured. Then we have the capture anything related to a project and add the task to the appropriate project and then we have the purists who add a context to everything and use contextual lists as their daily to-do list.

A lesson well learned

I’ve been a GTD aficionado for coming up to ten years now and I admit I have travelled through all interpretations. In the last few years though, I learnt when I spend time in my to-do list organising my projects and contexts, I am not doing work. I used to have the most wonderfully organised To-do list manager. Every task was meticulously labelled and each task was assigned to a project. It was an obsession with me. But around three years ago I realised spending two hours or so in my to-do list manager every day organising and reorganising wasn’t actually getting any work done. I felt I was doing work, but I was not. I got myself stuck in organising and planning mode and I never got a lot done each day.

And that is the problem when you spend so much time in your to-do list manager, or any productivity app organising and reorganising, you fall into the trap of believing you are being productive when you are not being productive at all. You are just being organising.

The difference between being organised and being productive.

Being organised and being productive are two very different things. Knowing where everything is is being organised, getting the important work done as efficiently and effectively as possible is being productive.

Now, being organised is a good thing. It can save you a lot of time because you are not wasting time looking for what you need to do your work. But just knowing where everything is does not make you productive. Having a to-do list manager that is meticulously organised with dates, labels, links and projects is good. But it does not necessarily mean any work is getting done. If no work is getting done then there is no productivity.

What you really need is a system that works for you.

What you need instead is a to-do list that contains your important tasks and shows them when you need them. A quick glance in the evening before you go to bed should show you what needs to be done the next day, and when the next day begins you get straight on doing the work that matters. A to-do list manager should filter out the unimportant tasks so what you see are the important tasks. When you create a to-do list that does that, you dramatically increase your productivity.

No app will do that for you, only the system you build will do that. It does not matter whether you are using Todoist, Things 3, OmniFocus, Trello or Notion, the app is only as good as the system you have in place. If the system you create involves a lot of maintenance, you are not going to be productive. You need to create a system that collects everything quickly and easily, where organising what you collect can be done in twenty minutes or less at the end of the day and the rest of the time it stays in the background only showing up when you have done your one or two most important tasks for the day.

What really matters.

What matters is you are doing work that takes you forward every day. To do that you need to be able to see what tasks will have the biggest impact on your important projects and goals. When you fill your to-do list manager with unimportant tasks they quickly drown out the tasks that would move you closer towards completing the project or achieving the goal and gives you a false sense of being productive when in reality you are just running round in circles. When you couple that with spending too much time maintaining your system, you are simply not getting enough done against the amount of time it takes to organise everything. The ratio you should be aiming for is 90% doing and 10% organising. That equates to 7 hours 40 minutes of doing work and 20 minutes organising in any given 8 hour working day.

This is why apps that have a large feature set fail in the long-run. While the developers are doing their best, feature-creep is a real problem for people who want to be more productive. More features mean more things to adjust and play around with. That requires time, time that would be better spent on doing work.

If you want to become more productive, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy doing, focus on your system and not the app. Streamline your system so it is focused on collecting and doing and make the organising as simple and as easy as possible. Aim for a 90% doing and 10% organising ratio and when you get there, you know your system is well on it’s way to working for you.

If you have the right system in place, a system that works for you, it will not matter what app you use. Your system will just work and that should be what you are aiming to build. Build your productivity around your system, not your app.


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.

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.

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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.

Where’s Your Anchor?

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Having a place you can go when all around you is in chaos.

Many years ago, whenever I went on holiday I always felt safe and secure once I was booked into the hotel or, if I was camping, had erected my tent. This was my anchor, everything I did while on holiday, or a business trip, was centred around that anchor. It was my temporary home. A place I could always come back to, regroup and plan what I would do the next day.

I’ve used This ‘anchor’ idea in my productivity system for many years. Rather than being a physical place though, my productivity anchor has always been either my journal or my Franklin Planner, when I used a Franklin Planner. It is a place where I have a list of all my plans, goals and dreams and in times of overwhelm, stress and drama, I can go there and it brings me calm and refocus.

Other people’s demands will drag you away from what’s important.

It is very easy to get waylaid by the stresses and dramas of the day. Other people’s emergencies, demanding bosses, upset customers and angry partners. These things can very easily distract us from our goals and purpose. We may start the day with the best of intentions, but one hour in our workplace on a Monday morning can destroy our intentions for the day and we find ourselves dealing with other people’s agendas and we lose track of our own goals and objectives for the day. When the day ends, we look back at the day and wonder where all the time went and why we did not do anything we wanted to get done.

This is why having a place, either a digital place or a paper-based notebook, is a vital tool in your productivity toolkit. It is a place you can always come back to and review your intentions, your goals, your plans and refocus you on what is important to you. It is the reason why all the best advice about planning, goal setting and productivity always say “write it down”.

Our brains are attracted to distractions.

Our brains are very easily distracted. Anything unusual, loud or new will get our attention and our brain will then try and make sense of it. That is how our brains are wired. It goes back millions of years and it is a defence mechanism our brains developed back when we were on the lunch menu for animals that had a taste for human meat.

Today, we live in very different times, of course. We are no longer on the menu of roaming wild animals. Instead, we are now on the menu of people who want us to take responsibility for their problems. While that may be a good and noble thing to do, it also means we lose focus on our goals and intentions and this means we spend all our time serving the interests of others at the expense of our own interests and that is not a very good place to be.

Having an anchor gives you a place to refocus.

The way to avoid this and take control of our lives is to have in place an anchor. A place where your goals and aspirations are written down so you can read through them and remind yourself of what you want. What your goals are and where you want to go in your life.

Although I am very much in the digital space — my to-do list manager and notes app are all digital — I still use a paper-based anchor. My journal acts as my anchor and it is where I write down my goals, my life’s purpose and my daily objectives. Throughout the day, whenever I am doing work at my desk, my journal is there next to me, reminding me of my objectives for the day. It’s where I keep track of the work I have done for the day and allows me to see what I am working on. If I find my list of things done is filling up with other people’s problems, I know it is time to take a few minutes to read through my own objectives for the day to make sure I am addressing them, and not spending all my time dealing with other people’s crises.

Work on yourself you can help the people who matter to you.

It is important to be there to help your friends, family and colleagues, but you also need to be working on yourself. It is you who is more important, and while that may sound selfish, it is not. Remember the last time you took a flight somewhere? When the flight attendant did the safety instructions, whose oxygen mask did they tell you to put on first? Your’s or your young child’s? Your’s. And the reason for that is if you do not take care of yourself first you will not be in a position to help others. And that lesson is true in life too. For you to be in a position to help others you need to make sure your life is in order. If you neglect your life and your goals and spend all your time working on other people’s problems, in time you will become a burden to other people and those other people are usually the people you most care about.

No matter how you do this, having a place where you have your own goals, plans and life outcomes written down will bring you incredible peace of mind. It will allow you to refocus your energies on what is important to you so you are in a position of strength to help those people you most care about. It brings clarity, purpose and it is a way to check you are making progress in the right direction. And more importantly, it becomes a joy to do.

The world we live in is a very distracting place. The demands for our attention not only come from people we interact with, but we are also inundated with adverts, notifications and ‘breaking news’. Having an anchor in place that brings you back to what you want, a place no matter how chaotic life around you brings you peace and focus is a great way to stay on track, and maintain your momentum towards achieving all the things you want to achieve in your life.

Start planning 2019 now!

If you don’t know what you want or are struggling to set goals and plans, then take a look at my Ultimate Goal Planning course. It is a course designed to take you on a journey of discovery and will help you to establish what you want to achieve and show you how to turn those into achievable goals on a realistic timeline. Now is a perfect time to take this course with 2019 just around the corner and at just $59.99 is a fantastic investment in your amazing future. More details can be found here.

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.

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 Your Daily Activities Should Be Taking You Towards Your Goals.

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Last weekend, I had a discussion with some of my students about their purpose, their goals and their objectives for life. They told me it is too hard to think about what they want to achieve in life, so they don’t bother. I wasn’t surprised by this answer and it saddens me that I was not surprised. Knowing what you want, your purpose or mission gives your daily activities a sense of purpose and direction. If you don’t know what you want, have no goals, no mission or purpose, then your daily activities will become a conveyor belt of checking off unimportant tasks and repeating the same meaningless activities the next day. A life I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy.

The sad truth is most people never spend time exploring and thinking about what they would like to do in their lives. They’ll spend hours planning what they will do at the weekend but spend no time thinking about what they will do with their lives. It’s as if they believe everything will work out exactly how they imagine it. They’ll have a fantastic career, a great family and social life and a long and happy retirement with an abundance of money to see them through.

Life is not an Instagram feed.

No, you won’t. Life doesn’t work like that. Life is not an Instagram feed. Life needs to be worked on. It needs to be harnessed, nourished and developed. It needs to be crafted every day. The books and articles you read, the work you do, the hobbies you have. These should all be taking you towards your goals, purpose and your objectives. That is living life. That is living with a purpose. Anything less is living irresponsibly. You will blame the government, your company, your family or your boss for your circumstances when in reality your lack of purpose, progress and happiness is a result of you not knowing what it is you want.

Positive things happen once you know what you want.

The most positive thing that happens once you discover your purpose or mission is daily trivialities, that are big dramas for most people, become tiny inconveniences to you. They no longer bother you. If they have no bearing on your mission or purpose you don’t let them worry you. You just deal with them as quickly as you can and you move on to what really matters — moving a step closer towards achieving your goals.

Ever since I can remember I have always enjoyed helping and teaching people. It’s what wakes me up in the morning and it’s what puts a smile on my face every day. It’s the reason I give away 90% of the content I produce each week. My dreams and goals are all connected in some way to helping more people. It’s why I have set myself the challenge to help one million people to become better organised and more productive by 2020. It’s the reason I read the books I read, it’s the reason I give up my Friday afternoons to record YouTube videos and it’s the reason I subscribe to the blogs and newsletters I do. It’s also the reason I exercise every day. I understand that to help, teach and influence more people I have to live a healthy life. I have to be in a ‘peak’ state every day and the only way I can do that is to eat healthily, exercise, read and learn and get enough sleep. Everything I do is run through the prism of; will this help people? That is my purpose.

The thing is, I never really knew my purpose until I was in my early thirties. I had always enjoyed training new people when they joined the company I was employed by. I had always enjoyed coaching athletes when I was a competitive runner, but my purpose — to help and teach people — was not obvious to me. It was only when I began pondering what I wanted to do with my life did I realise that the one thing that always brought enjoyment to me was when I was teaching or coaching. That’s when I quit being a lawyer in the UK and came to Korea to teach English. That was when my life changed and I have never looked back or had a moment of regret since.

Now would be a good time to start thinking about what you want.

We are now only a couple of months away from the end of 2018 and the beginning of a new year. Now would be the perfect time for you to take some time out of your busy life and begin pondering what you want to do with your amazing life. You too may find that you get the greatest joy from helping people achieve their potential. You may discover that you get the greatest pleasure from developing your skills so you can achieve a better position in your career. No matter what it is, there will be something that brings joy to your life. All you need do is begin with a piece of paper or a note in your notes app on your phone and start collecting ideas. Whatever comes to mind. As your list grows you will start to see patterns, things that are connected. When you see that pattern and those connections, you will be seeing what it is you want to do with your life. When you begin developing those connections and patterns and discovering ways you can turn them into goals and objectives you are well on your way to living a life of purpose.

If you want to learn how to turn your ideas and dreams into actionable goals and to make time to achieve those goals then my Time And Life Mastery online course is designed to do just that. The course helps you to find the things you want to achieve in life and takes you on a journey to develop those ideas into daily activities so as each day comes you move a little closer towards achieving them.

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.

Why You Should Stop Using Tools For Jobs They Were Not Designed To Do.

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Over the weekend I foolishly got myself into a discussion about why a certain app didn’t have the ability to print. Being a long time user of that particular app, I knew the reason was because the vision the app’s developers had was to give their users the freedom to go paperless. Being able to print out notes, would contradict their founding purpose.

I often see people complaining that this app doesn’t do this or that app makes it difficult to do that function, and in all cases I find it is because the person complaining is trying to get the app to do something it was not designed to do. In the case of the discussion I had over the weekend, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages would have done the job far better as those tools were designed for the job he was trying to do.

Over the years I’ve seen this happen time and again. People trying to get Evernote to be a to-do list manager and then complaining because it doesn’t do the job very well. Trying to get Google Docs to be a note-taking app and using their email inbox as a to-do list manager And then claiming being productive is hard. None of these tools were designed to do the jobs these people were trying to get them to do. of course it is hard. It means you have to hack the app and create workarounds and all that does is add complexity and an increased likelihood there will be a productivity system breakdown.

The goal of building your own productivity system should always be a seamless, simple system that is fast to collect, easy to organise and shows you what you need to see when you need to see it. You don’t need to be hacking anything to achieve that. There are thousands of free apps that will do the job for you. Even if you do not want to dive into the ocean of productivity apps available, Microsoft, Google and Apple provide specific apps for specific jobs built into your device for free. A simple system, using the tools that were designed to do the specific job you want to do will keep things simple and easy.

Here’s a short list of apps I use with the jobs they do for me:

Todoist — to-do list manager

Evernote — note taking and ideas

Apple Numbers — financial reports and attendance sheets

Apple Pages — one or two page documents that need to look good printed.

Adobe Photoshop — creating thumbnails, blog images and banners

Adobe InDesign — for professional production of workbooks and PDF help guides.

Adobe Premiere Pro — video editing

Scrivener — for book writing

Ulysses — for all other form of writing.

(A full list of apps I use can be viewed here.)

As you can see, there could easily be some overlap between apps. Pages and InDesign for example can produce very professional looking documents, but Pages does not have the professional print shop options that InDesign has. Page bleed for example, which is essential for printed documents. On the other hand, InDesign takes quite a Lot of setting up, where as Pages can be set up on the fly. So for short, one or two page documents that do not need printing, I would use Pages.

Evernote could be used for writing blog posts and books as you can write the text and add images. But, in order to get an Evernote note to look professional when printed would take a lot of steps and I would have to trade a lot of functionality for blog posts when exporting to my blog just to get Evernote to work. It is far easier, and better, to use Ulysses, which allows me to use Markdown which formats my documents as I write them and publishes directly to my blog from the app.

Simplicity does not always mean less. Simplicity means using the best tool to get the job done. I could use a trowel to dig a garden wall’s foundations, but it would take a long time and a spade would do the job faster and better. Just because the trowel is the best tool to dig up weeds in my garden, does not make it the best tool to dig the foundations. There are better tools.

Part of the process of becoming better organised and more productive is finding ways to do your work better and more effectively. Part of that process is finding the right tools to do the right jobs. Many of the tools you need are free, others, such as Ulysses and Todoist, cost as little as $30 per year and the time and effort these apps will save you makes that cost an investment worth making.

If you want to become better organised and more productive stop trying to hack apps to do jobs they were not designed to do. You have a lot of choice today, but a simple system based on having a set of tools to do specific types work will give you the best results in less time and with less stress. And that will do more for your productivity than trying to hack apps to do types of work they were not designed to do.

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If you are ready to become better organised and more productive then take a look at my latest course, From Disorganised To Productivity Mastery in 3 Days! — A course designed to take you to productivity mastery in three days through a step by step approach over three days. Hurry, the early bird discount ends on tomorrow! (Thursday 18 October 2018). This course will change your life!

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the 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.

Productivity is not about doing more work.

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There’s a perception that to become more productive means doing more work. Yet that is not the purpose of becoming more productive at all. Becoming more productive is about becoming more effective at getting your work done so you can spend more time doing the things you want to do with the people you love being with.

The world we live in today is an amazing place. We can do things, visit places and experience events our grandparents could only have dreamed of, yet our work seems to fill up our time leaving little left to enjoy life. When you become more productive, you free up time and mental energy by getting your work done more efficiently and you experience less stress because you know exactly what needs doing, by when and how.

Living a life of less stress and more fun!

When you know what needs doing, by when and how you are going to do it, you feel more relaxed about what you face. When you collect everything into a trusted place and you have everything organised in places you instantly know where to find later, it creates a sense of calm. It frees up your mind to become more creative, more at one with your surroundings and to enjoy time spent with people you care about without worrying about the workload facing you on Monday morning. It allows you to leave the office at the office so you can be fully engaged with your family and your friends at home.

The consequences of not being productive.

I work with many people who have allowed their work to take control of their lives. Bosses, shareholders, clients and suppliers are constantly demanding time, leaving them stressed and worried about what they haven’t done. Their minds are constantly trying to remember if they have forgotten something, they never have time to relax and it’s not a nice place to be. It leads to anxiousness, dangerous levels of stress and when they are not at work, their mind is still working, worrying about the presentation they haven’t finished, the report they haven’t written yet and the meeting with the important client on Thursday afternoon.

The good news Is making a few simple changes to the way you manage your day is all you need do. Taking a few seconds to collect your commitments, ideas and events into a digital to-do list or writing them down into a notebook when they happen. Spending around ten minutes at the end of the day organising what you collected in a way you will see them when you need to see them is all you need. It’s simple, not necessarily easy, but it is simple.

Practice and patience.

With practice, a little patience and some time, collecting your ‘stuff’ becomes a habit. When it becomes a habit the whole process becomes automatic and when that happens you will find yourself more productive, less stressed and more in charge of your time.

When you become more productive, the first thing you will notice is your stress levels reduce. This is an almost immediate change in the way you feel. You have everything organised and where you need it. You are fully aware of your approaching deadlines and you know where you need to be, with whom and when at any given time. Just that level of control over your time will have a significant positive effect on your overall feeling of wellbeing.

The power of self-discipline.

One of the wonderful side effects of becoming better organised and more productive is your self-discipline improves. The fact you took the time to set up your ‘system’ shows that when you put your mind to something you can do it. It builds momentum and momentum is an incredible fuel for self-discipline. When something positive happens, the feeling you have is addictive. That sense of accomplishment leaves you craving more accomplishment and you begin looking at other areas of your life to improve. It creates a wonderful cycle of positive change that can only benefit you and the people you care about.

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about how I can help more people take control of their time and become better organised and more productive. I know when it comes to self-improvement, for many people improving their productivity and time management is not high on their list of skills to acquire. But productivity and better organisation is the foundation on which you can build huge improvements in your life. Consistently improving ourselves is essential if we want to grow as human beings, but if we don’t have the time to self-improve we will never get round to doing so.

Introducing From Disorganised to Productivity Mastery in 3 Days.

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So I decided to put together a three-day online course — No, the course does not last 72 hours — It is a course where you take three days and by a combination of classes and time to take the required action you can become better organised and more productive. Over the course of three days, you will have around thirty minutes of tuition each day, followed by the rest of the day setting up and putting in to practice everything you learned in the classes. You start on day one by collecting all your stuff together and getting it organised into places you can find when you need it. The second day teaches you the basic tools you need for an effective productivity system and the final day, called “implementation” gives you a system that has helped thousands of people from all walks of life around the world go from being disorganised to becoming productivity masters.

This whole course is designed to get you from where you are today to having the skills of productivity mastery in just three days. It won’t be easy but it is simple and with a little patience, quite a bit of action and consistency, over time you will become a productivity master and with that start enjoying the benefits of less stress, less time spent in a cubicle at work and more time being with the people you care about doing the things you want to do, when you want to do them.

The course launches on Friday (12 October) and I hope you will join me and start a new, incredible life by becoming better organised and more productive so you can spend more of your precious time with the people you love doing the things you want to do.

For more details, you can visit the course’s page here where further details of this incredible course can be found and where you will be able to enrol from Friday.

Good luck and see you on Friday in the From Disorganised to Productivity Mastery in 3 Days.

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.

How To Maintain Your COD Productivity System On A Day To Day Basis.

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The top reason people stop using a productivity system is over-complexity. If your carefully crafted system makes it hard to collect stuff, and you have a complex organisational structure that takes too much time to maintain, you are going to stray from the productivity road. Your system needs to be as simple and as fast as you can possibly make it so knowing what to do next is as simple as looking at a daily list.

If it takes more than ten minutes to organise the stuff you collected throughout the day your system is too complex. You need to be able to ask: “what is it?” And “what needs to happen next to complete it?” And know immediately what to do. If you find yourself having to think too much about where something should go, your system has too many levels. If you can look at something you collected and within a few seconds have it filed where it should go, then you are well on the way to making your system work.

Go back to basic principles.

One of the best ways to simplify your system is to start with the basics. Notes can be filed under simple headings. Work and Personal. Most note-taking apps will allow you to create folders or notebooks in order to create some form of organisation. From there you can decide how to make it easy to find the note you are looking for.

Understanding how you think when you search for something can be a big help here. For me, if I want to find something related to James Bond, I have a tag called James Bond in Evernote. This means All I have to do is search for James Bond and I will be presented with a small list of related tags. James Bond — Films, James Bond — Cars, James Bond — Clothing and James Bond — Accessories. Now that’s just the way I think. You will think differently and you should create a search strategy that reflects your thinking.

It is a mistake to look at someone else’s organisation structure and think that would work for you. The chances are it will not. You think differently and you are going to have different types of things to file and keep. Create a file system that reflects the way you think and the way you work.

Keep your to-do lists simple.

The same basic principles work with your to-do list manager. Too often I see people creating very complex structures that involve multiple levels of projects and sub-projects. The question is do you really need that many levels of structure? To-do list managers only need to tell you what needs doing next and when. If you spend too much time going through multiple levels of projects, tasks and sub-tasks just to find what to work on you are not only wasting time, you are also going to get dragged off into places you really should not be spending time in.

At a very basic level, you only need a list of active projects or areas of focus — depending on which works best for you — and have these organised so the tasks that need doing pop up in a daily list when they need doing. You don’t need different hierarchies of child and parent projects, start and due dates or snooze and hide functions. It is a good idea to have these tasks organised into simple projects or areas of focus so you can review them when necessary. But the purpose of a to-do list manager is to tell you what needs doing next so you can be focused on the important and keep away from the unimportant. A good setup means you are doing the important work, not looking for the unimportant work. A good system shows you what needs doing next with as little fuss and mess as possible and is very easy to maintain.

It’s about doing the work, not reorganising your tasks.

you have your system working properly, you will be doing the important work you have set for yourself and collecting your commitments, tasks, events and notes throughout the day. You should not be spending much time inside your to-do list manager at all. Your calendar will be telling where you need to be and when your to-do list manager will be telling what to work on and your notes app will be giving you all the necessary information when you need it. It’s ninety-five per cent doing the work that matters and five per cent maintaining your system. When you reach that ratio consistently you will know you have the right system.

Take ten minutes to plan each day.

At the end of the day, you take ten minutes to organise everything you collected that day into its rightful place, make a decision on what two objectives you will complete tomorrow and what eight things you would like to focus on. And that’s it. Turn off, enjoy your life and be relaxed knowing you have the next day planned and will be able to start the day off supercharged and ready to get your most important work done.

Being better organised and more productive does not have to be difficult. It certainly doesn’t need overly complex structures. You need to know what’s important, what needs to be done and where you need to be. Anything else is just adding more complexity. When you remove those levels of complexity and focus on simplicity you will find you get a lot more of the important stuff done and when that happens you can spend more time doing the things you want to do, like spending more time with your friends and family, enjoying time to appreciate the amazing nature around you and feeling a lot less stressed.

If you want to know more about COD (Collect, Organise and Do) then you can read last week’s blog post here, where I go into detail about how this system works. I have also put together a FREE online course right here that will take you through the basics of setting up your own COD system and if you are in the Todoist community, I have a YouTube video here that explains how to set up a COD system in Todoist.

Being better organised and more productive does not have to be difficult. It just takes a decision and a couple of hours to set up and you too can start focusing on doing work that matters and being much less stressed.

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.

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.