I seriously geek out about life hacking. I am all about discovering and implementing ways to save time and optimize life so that I’ve got as much time as possible to pursue what really matters.
If you’re struggling right now with time management and are looking for a simpler, more effective system, I’ve got one for you.
This week, I’m going to take you through some of the best, most effective life hacking tips I’ve learned over the past year. I’ll cover:
- Tuesday: The fail-proof goal-setting method
- Wednesday: Why to-do lists don’t work (and the better alternative)
- Thursday: The magic of batch tasking
- Friday: Creating a schedule that reflects your values
- Saturday: Identifying un-productivity triggers—and how to eradicate them
- I don’t really use the “I must do” or “I must contact” sections on the left-hand side, but feel free to use them if they’re helpful to you.
- I turn the “Notes” section into a “Triggers” section.
So, what are “triggers”?Triggers are basically anything that causes you to switch from doing something productive (and single-tasking), to doing something less productive or off-task. Examples: If I’m editing an article and a thought pops into my head that I need to look for a new iPad cover, that thought bubble is a trigger for me. If I’m batch-tasking my emails and a colleague leans over to start a conversation, that colleague is a trigger.
- Pomodoro Technique - helps you work in bursts of 25 minutes, with a mandatory 5 minute break. You can adjust the timeframes, but this technique is essentially supposed to help you sustain your energy all day.
- Rescue Time - everyone from Neil Patel to Tim Ferriss raves about this, but the really useful version costs money. If you’re willing to invest, it’s a great tool.
- Task Timer - This is a Chrome plug-in. I use it to help me determine how long it’s really taking me to do batch tasks and MITs (more on these later in the week).
WARNING:A quick word of warning about tracking your time. It’s very easy to forget to track things in detail. I’d set a recurring reminder on your calendar every hour so you can take 2-3 minutes to track what you’ve done for the past hour. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in a task, not record what you did for 3-4 hours at a time, and your data won’t be that detailed or useful.
So use a calendar reminder every hour for the next week! I promise, it’s not as annoying as it sounds.
Problem #2: We don’t take enough time to assess results and figure out how to do more of what’s working.
Obviously, if we’re not even taking time to track how we’re spending our time, we’re certainly not maximizing the learnings we could get from analyzing our results and figuring out what’s driving them. So that’s the next thing I want you to do:
Though it was a slightly atypical week, quite frankly, I was still shocked by how much of my week I spent in meetings and in my inbox. Once I put this analysis together, I could very clearly see my problem areas, and then know exactly where I needed to develop more efficient systems for myself.
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