How Productive Are You?

Are Your Digitally Distracted...

I was sitting in a meeting this week and all I saw and heard was iPhone lights flashing, phone alerts vibrating the table, and people responding to emails when they should have been focused on the subject being discussed. Some may say they can multi-task, but that simply is not true. We must stop and start a bunch of times which decreases our productivity significantly when we don’t focus on one tasks.

Understandably we all don’t have the luxury of focusing on one task at a time, but we certainly can get a lot better. This year I taught Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen at an Executive Forums retreat with a friend and it is amazing what changes you can make to be more productive. A couple key items that you can change are:

  1. Block Check Email – depending on your position of course, only check email 2 to 3 times a day.
  2. Only put things on your calendar that you are going to do or get done. Not wish lists or tasks items.
  3. Turn off all alerts in outlook or whatever email system you are using.
  4. Turn off phone alerts and flashes.

There are a ton more, but if you do the above, it will go a long way in getting some of your time back. To take this to the next level, I just listened to a podcast on the book and concept called Deep Work which I am trying to apply now. The premise is, we live in a world of digital distractions and diversions and yet some people achieve a way higher level of productivity than others because their ability to do “Deep Work”. The book states that we can develop new skills necessary to focus at an optimum level and reach peak productivity. The author Cal Newport argues – learning how to do “deep work” is among the most valuable skills people can learn, and carries wider implications for economic growth.

How productive do you really think you are? Facts state you can be about 20-30% more productive with the goal of life/work balance and a more satisfying life.

Action Items

  • Apply productivity methods below
    • Block Check Email – depending on your position of course, only check email 2 to 3 times a day.
    • Only put things on your calendar that you are going to do or get done. Not wish lists or tasks items.
    • Turn off all alerts in outlook or whatever email system you are using.
    • Turn off phone alerts and flashes.
  • Get the book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport.
  • Get a high-level overview of Getting Things Done (GTD) with tools to help you by watching these videos.

Good Luck, own your life and your productivity.