If You Want To become more productive do less.

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As I search around the world of productivity I am always struck by how many people take pride in the number of tasks they are completing each day. I see numbers such as twenty, thirty and even as high as fifty tasks completed and announced on Twitter or Facebook as if it was a badge of honour.

If that is the number of tasks you find yourself completing every day then perhaps it is time to take a look at what it is you are actually doing each day.

Unimportant tasks should not be on your daily list.

Whenever I come across someone completing thirty plus tasks per day I know they are unproductive. They are unproductive because they are completing too many unimportant tasks. Often they will have tasks like “take the dog for a walk” or “brush teeth” on their list. Of course, taking your dog for a walk and brushing your teeth are important in their own way, but these kinds of tasks should not be on your to-do list. They dilute the effectiveness of your list and you shouldn’t need to be reminded to do those tasks.

Focus on the tasks that will have the most positive impact on your day.

To have a better to-do list and to become more effective you need to focus on the important things. The things that will take your life forward and move you closer toward achieving your goals. Those are the tasks that should be on your list. Each and every task on your list needs to have a positive impact on your life. Putting unimportant, mundane tasks on your daily list only fools you into thinking you are being productive. You are not. It’s like running on a treadmill, you are going nowhere, but believing you are moving forward because you are building up a sweat.

How the Golden 10 can help.

This is when the Golden 10 really helps. This is the ten minutes at the end of the day where you plan the next day. It is where you can take a look at your list for tomorrow and decide which tasks will have the most positive outcome on your day. Choose two or three tasks that, no matter what, you will complete tomorrow. Don’t add more than three, when you add more than three, you are trying to achieve too much. All you need is two or three. Over a week, that is ten to fifteen tasks you complete that have a significant, positive outcome on your life. For all the other things you have to do, the things that have no positive outcome on your life, you just get done when you can do them.

Throughout the day, I am adding a lot of non-important tasks to my inbox. These are things like “send receipt to student”. I add it to my inbox so I do not forget to send the requested receipt. It’s a two minute Job, but when I am asked for it, I am usually working on something important and do not want to be disturbed. I just dump the task in my inbox. I know I will review my inbox at some point in the day, so it’s off my mind and in my inbox. Those tasks get done in the few minutes I have between doing the important work.

Separate out your mundane routine tasks.

I also have a number of routine admin tasks that need completing each day. None of these tasks is important from my goals or life perspective — they just need doing — for these I keep them in a separate project called “routines”. Separating my routines in this way allows me to hide them from my daily list of tasks so I can focus on the most important things. This is how you become productive on the important things in your life. Separate the mundane, just have to be done routines from the tasks that have an impact on your life.

This simple adjustment to the way you use your to-do list, over a short period of time, will bring you tremendously positive results. You will start making progress on the things that are important to you and you will develop the habit of focusing all your attention on tasks that have a positive outcome on your day.

Productivity is not about how many tasks you complete each day. Productivity is about making progress on the important things in your life — day after day — and eliminating all the distractions and unimportant stuff from your life.

 

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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.