Today I'd like to share my favorite productivity hack with you.
Unfortunately, adopting this trick means you have to do yet another thing in your already-busy day. So what kind of technique adds more to your plate but also makes you accomplish more? It seems impossible, but it's actually an entirely logical tactic that is essential for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs get the freedom of choice. We can choose to do anything we please with our day, which is great! Until you realize that when you can do any one of a thousand things, it's super difficult to choose the next best thing to do.
No one is looking over your shoulder making sure you're on track, so it's so easy to slack off, check Instagram, and go to lunch a little early. That's why I devised a small trick to keep me on track.
Every day I open up an email and write a to-do list. I number it, and then organize it in priority order -- sometimes according to what is most urgent, but most often according to what works best in which part of the day.
For instance, I had on my to-do list today to write this article. I don't write articles well after 3pm, when I'm thinking more about happy hour than writing. So, I put this article earlier in my list. On the other hand, applying to speak at conferences is largely a cut-and-paste exercise, and I can do that wine-in-hand.
Every single day I make a to-do list and then delete stuff as I complete tasks. And here's what happens:
- I get more done. By writing the list in the first place, I think about all the small tasks I need to accomplish, and I put them all in one place. That way, come 11am, I'm not guessing at what I need to do next.
- I trick myself into doing more, faster. I end up saying, well, why not just go on to the next thing on my list? It's right there, and I might as well just do it. After four times of saying that I'm most of the way through my tasks and well ahead of schedule.
- I feel awesome. Nothing feels better than checking shit off your list. I end up feeling like a productivity ninja and when people ask me how my day was, I respond, "productive AF."
- I advance my goals. All my small tasks are insignificant; but added together, they form the basis of my big long-term goals. You get so wrapped up in your task lists that by the time you look up, you realize wow...I've accomplished so much! And that's the best feeling of all.