It’s amazing how sometimes a very simple change of behaviour can have a large overall life-changing effect. The following tips have greatly increased my productivity and have ultimately improved my life.
1. If it can be done in under 2 minutes, do it now
This of course is a GTD tip – when processing tasks, if it’s a quick one, do it straight away rather than leaving it for later. I started applying this to housework as well. If I see something that needs tidied and it can be done quickly I don’t put it off. An example – say I’ve been shopping and I’ve unpacked a load of stuff that needs to go upstairs to the bathroom (toilet rolls, shampoo, etc.). I used to leave a pile at the bottom of the stairs ready to take with me next time I was going up. Now I just do it straight away. What is the point in delaying? It creates clutter and it’s only going to take 30 seconds to put away anyway. And the exercise running up the stairs is good for me!
2. Reduce the frequency of checking your email and RSS feeds
I used to have my email refreshing every 5 minutes. And every time I heard the “purr” and saw the red circle on the Mail icon I just couldn’t resist having a look. It’s incredibly distracting. It now only checks for email every hour and I don’t let myself manually refresh.
Reading my feeds in NetNewsWire was even worse. I had it set to refresh every half hour. This is even more distracting than email because once I started reading I could be there for ages. Now I have it set to refresh every 4 hours and I find I’m looking at feeds about three times a day. Of course, I’m spending the same amount of time reading than I was before. But I’m doing it in chunks rather than let it repeatedly interrupt what I was already doing.
3. Keep your “hotspots” tidy
This one’s from the FlyLady. A hotspot is an area of your house that tends to get cluttered. We all have them – the place you tend to dump your post once you’ve opened it, your desk, the coffee table. Clutter breeds clutter and before you know it there’s a big pile of stuff needing tidied. Twice a day I clear my hotspots. In other words, I don’t let the clutter build up. You wouldn’t believe what a difference this has made to my house. I only have 5 hotspots that I keep an eye on so it really isn’t time consuming to keep them clear. And it’s worn off on the rest of the family – even the children understand where the hotspots are and that they should try to not mess them up. Read the rest of this entry »