Do you know anybody who’s not busy?
Most of us wake up each morning facing crammed calendars and mile-long to-do lists. As a lawyer/wife/mom/writer, I know I certainly do.
Out of nerdy fascination and sheer survival instinct, I’ve made a lifelong study of productivity and time management. Here are the top 10 productivity tips that help me get done the things that I must or want to do without losing my mind:
1. Write It Down
Every task, every commitment should be written down. This frees your mind from the energy- and attention-sucking job of trying to remember.
In his seminal book on productivity, Getting Things Done, David Allen points out how uncompleted commitments take up psychic energy, each one making you just the tiniest bit more tired, more distracted, and therefore less productive.
He emphasizes that the first step to managing your life and time is getting every commitment, large and small, out of your head and into a trusted system. I use OmniFocus to capture these commitments, but you can start with a simple pen and paper.
2. Get a Head Start
The best way to hit the ground running is to start the night before. Before leaving your workspace, or before going to bed, take 10 minutes to look over the next day’s commitments. What appointments can’t be missed? What do you need to have with you for those appointments? (Make sure you’ve gathered those materials and have them ready to go.) What three to five tasks must get done?