I mentioned in a recent blog post that life… would rather run its own course if you allow it… Well, that was the summary of my May. It was all shades of ‘busy’ and overwhelming.
I wish I could boast of the kind of ‘busyness’ that comes with some significant value or financial gain. On the contrary, my month was filled with seemingly harmless, (but useless) energy sapping
activities distractions, which literally stole my productive hours. Talk of stuffs like having to supervise artisans, who don’t give a hoot about timing on some household repairs which lasted for days. And similar disruptions. I was drained.
Nevertheless, I must salute myself for having mastered how to remain focused and productive amidst distractions, otherwise I would have been asking where the month went.
But thankfully, I can account for my May despite all odds. I achieved most my goals and checked off many items on my to do list; and even though the trivial stuffs robbed me of some of my ‘vital few’ things (please ref. Pareto Principles), I am amazed at my performance in certain key areas.
For instance, I still prayed and fasted as scheduled, studied, worked, met deadlines, read, took some courses and participated in some webinars and online events; and I did stay in touch with friends, colleagues and family, (thanks to technology).
A general overview of my performance in May would leave me with a pass mark on my scorecard. I got a glimpse of this while preparing monthly reports for some clients; and in retrospect, I can only say, “Thank God”.
So, how did I or how do I stay productive amidst distractions without thinking, or making any conscious effort to be productive at such times? (Did you notice I didn’t even know I was hitting my targets until I checked at month end? ) Let me share some of my productivity hacks with you.
I will only summarize the points for now, but I will take them one at a time in subsequent posts. So, here goes:
1) I build processes and templates for my ‘Vital Few’ Things.
From my experience as a certified Process Professional (got certified while still in IT), I understand that life responds to principles. Moreover, success and failure can be predictable and replicable, going by the same rule.
This was confirmed by recent learning (especially from Dr. Sam Adeyemi’s trainings), research and from observation of certain life outcomes.
The aim of this act is, striving to build some habits into my routine (personal operating system) such that I don’t need to think or consult my emotions before I take certain vital actions. The habit of building proper routines and templates ensures that I always find myself doing, or I always discover that I have done my ‘vital few’ things unawares, i.e., without any conscious effort… I will dwell more on this in subsequent posts.
2) I always keep my works, drafts, ideas, and other vital details documented and indexed.
By indexing, I mean categorizing my data, info and input records with recognizable and searchable codes, tags, labels, color codes, hash tags, etc. And arranging them as much as possible under headings, sections and inside folders such that the final outcome of the seeming haphazard, spontaneous, on the fly notes and jottings forms a neat, recognizable and searchable pattern. Developing your personal indexing codes helps you build a system which automatically arranges your notes and jottings without any conscious effort while inputting them on the go.
Here’s a typical example from my Google Keep Note. Click here to read my Tech Post about features and benefits of Google Keep on MakeADreamNG.com
3) I use great scalable and ‘syncable’ note taking tools and hacks
If you are a writer or Content Developer like me, you will find this handy. Tools like Microsoft OneNote, Slack, Trellor, Google Keep, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Photos, and the likes help ensure that my jottings, designs, team updates, meeting minutes, action points, reminders etc. stay synchronized and updated across devices and platforms. This saves me a lot of time. It also helps keep my designs and manuscripts and other stuffs intact in case of device loss or damage.
Just last week, a team member was finding it hard to recall some of her content ideas she had lost to a damaged laptop. Meanwhile, she had taken a snapshot of the document with her phone, and shared with me via WhatsApp for review as she prepared it. Even though, my phone had also crashed along the line, she was beyond grateful when I pulled the snapshot down from my Google Photos and sent it back to her.
My spontaneous note taking hacks include sending thought units, tasks and reminders in messages to myself via WhatsApp.
4) I use Calendar Apps that work in sync with Google Calendar to schedule and set reminders for my events, meetings, and recurring activities.
I also use the various desktop and screen widgets judiciously.
5) I don’t wait for a perfect time to think, plan, write down or implement my ideas. I do that on the go.
(Remember I have templates /processes that make storing, indexing and retrieving my works and ideas seamless. This works like an automated system.
6) I do not stay down for too long when grounded or when I make mistakes. I bounce back as quickly as possible.
In line with the rules of IT Service Management going by ITIL framework, (which also applies perfectly to life and business) I tend to resolve ‘incidents’, and ensure the affected ‘service’ or aspect of my life or work is restored to its operational status as quickly as possible; even if that involves using ‘stop gaps’ in the meantime.
I lost touch with this particular point somehow in the past five years I must confess, but the Lord challenged me about it earlier this year; and it has been a life saver.
7) I always have some music playing at the background while working.
There is a way good music wades off negativity, keeping you relaxed and productive while working. And each time your mind wants to wander, good lyrics have a way of setting you back on track.
Please watch out for more productivity hacks and lessons learnt from me. Hit the button below to follow my blogs, so you don’t miss a thing,
And on this beautiful note, I welcome you to your most prosperous June ever.