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How to Be More Productive

Your time is your personal fortune. Manage your wealth.

  • Stop treating the weekends as a magical bottomless bucket of time.
    • The time you have over the weekend is exactly 48 hours minus the time you need for meals, chores, bathroom breaks, and sleeping in. When you actually sit down and count those hours, it’s not as much as you think.
    • The amount of things you can procrastinate on Mon-Fri > the amount of time you have on the weekend.
  • Learn to say “No.”
    • The reason you have a lot of shit to do isn’t because you need a fucking Pomodoro timer, it means you have too much to do.
    • Sit down and write out all your commitments. Can you not remove anything from that list?
  • Learn how long things actually take.
    • If you keep finding yourself at 11pm on a Sunday frustrated that you didn’t do everything you wanted, its because you say you’ll take 5 minutes, when it really takes 45.
    • Keep estimating the time it takes to do things as you always did, but actually follow up with it. How long does it really take?
    • The time it takes to do something > the time it takes to do something. There will be traffic jams, interruptions, and unexpected extensions on that time. The fact that they are unexpected is expected. Add wiggle room to the time you allot.
  • If you can do it in a couple of minutes, just do it now.
  • Never allow yourself to create a to do item without a time and a place.
    • “Later” is not a time. No matter how small, if you say “I’m going to do this” you should finish that sentence with a time and a place that is realistic and to which you can commit. Otherwise you might as well say you won’t do it.
  • Tame your email inbox.
    • The fact that you have thousands of unread messages isn’t a cute eccentricity. Take all of those emails and put them in a folder. Starting today, you will work on keeping your inbox at “Inbox Zero.”
    • Use a service that rolls up your emails into one digest. I use Unroll.me.
    • Actually click the Unsubscribe link on junk mail whenever it appears. Keep doing this and eventually you’ll see less incoming bandwidth. It will take a while to see a dent, but keep investing and it will pay off.
      • If they don’t have an unsubscribe link or want you to “Sign in to manage your email preferences,” mark them as spam, because they basically are.
    • Your inbox is not a to do list. Your goal should always be to have zero messages in your inbox.
    • If you cannot act on the email now, defer it to a calendar event to respond to it, or use a client that can delay items in your inbox like Mailbox or Google Inbox.
  • If you find you have too many things to do, the answer might not be to start doing them faster but to do fewer of them. Quitting can be good. Start unsubscribing from things you can live without. Life is short.
  • Prune your novelty productivity apps
    • If any of these apps really benefit you, they are few and far between.
    • A perfect candidate for removal is an app you’ve added some to do items into, but never actually checked back on.
    • These apps are often poor stand-ins for deficiencies in your personal discipline.

Also see: - 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Be More Productive, Backed by Science