Okay, so that headline was a little over the top – but you’re here reading now, so why not make the best of it!
Apparently there is another group writing project going around the blogosphere that actually has some value, and after having been tagged by the MomGadget herself, as well as by Dawud at HealthyWebDesign, I thought it was worth my time and yours, so I’ve agreed to share some insight!
The idea was originally started by Ben at the Instigator Blog and he called it The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Group Writing Project. As good a name for a series about getting things done if ever there was one, and the concept is pretty basic.
Just list your best productivity habits, highlight your most effective one if you want to, and link back to Ben’s site, as well as to the people who tagged you for the project. In fact, if you email Ben after putting up your post, he’ll pop over 2 links back to your site. YAY – double the fun!
So, without further discussion, here we go with
In a word (or a phrase, in this case), I keep my eyes on the prize!
There are more websites and blog posts dedicated to productivity systems and concepts than you can shake a stick at. I regularly read Lifehack.org, The Ririan Project, and similar sites, however, in truth, I rarely implement most of those systems simply because I don’t believe that life should be systematized like that.
And yes, apparently systematized is a real word because my spell checker did not underline it in red just now when I typed it! 🙂
However, despite my “anti-systems” mentality, I am ALL about successful habits, and I believe that those habits start – and end – with remembering on a constant basis – why you are doing whatever it is that you are doing.
By keeping your eyes on the prize, you automatically stay focused on the “big picture” which keeps you from straying too far off the path of productivity.
For example, in my case, my long-term goal is complete time and financial freedom so that I can spend a ridiculous amount of time visiting my friends and family members. In order to accomplish that goal, I want to build up my Internet business to the point where most of my income is residual, and does not require me to work 12-hour days.
If I start to get off-track during the day by wanting to read less-than productive blogs or websites (even though they are fun!), or if I start to realize that I am not fully focused on my writing or my marketing efforts, all I have to do is remember that in order to accomplish my long-term goal, I have to work my butt off now so that I can play later.
Doing so always yanks me right back onto the path of productivity and focus!
So, keeping my eyes on the prize is the most important productivity secret that I have, although I do also have a close runner-up for 2nd place, and that is:
I always do the mission-critical tasks first!
My primary job is to write content – period. Yes, being a professional blogger also entails many marketing efforts such as reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, participating in community sites like MyBlogLog, Stumbleupon, Digg, and message boards, but Mission Task #1 every day is the writing.
Marketing does very little good if you are sending people to a site that has nothing for them when they get there!
So, my second most important productivity secret is to always do the most important things first.
Third, although I am not a big fan of multi-tasking, my personal computer and Internet set up at home is not as fast as I would like it to be, so I fill in potentially wasted time by doing “quick tasks” while waiting for web pages to load, large files to download, etc.
I keep my Google RSS reader open at all times in a Firefox Tab, and whenever I have 5 seconds to kill, I will pop over to that tab and skim a headline or two to see if I need to give that blog post more of my time later on.
When you subscribe to several hundred blogs like I do, skimming is the only way to even remotely stay up to date!
And finally, my last productivity secret is that I do work in “task blocks”. Several people have recommended the use of time blocks, which I also think is a good idea, but I have modified that concept to be what I call “task blocks”.
Since I am the most productive whenever I am 100% focused on any given task, I break down my entire day into task blocks. When I am working on any particular task block, that is ALL I am working on.
I can border on being supernaturally productive whenever I truly put my mind to something, so by doing my work in task blocks, I knock out the most possible amount of work in any given amount of time.
I do not limit the amount of time that I work on any task block because I feel that would stifle my creativity or my level of genuine interest in whatever I am doing. Rather than giving myself a time limit, I just refer back to my second productivity secret – doing mission-critical tasks first – and I simply prioritize which tasks are worthy of me spending my time on.
There are many potential things that a professional blogger needs to focus on, but here are the things that stand out the most in any given “work” day for me:
- Writing (and research, as needed)
- Reading & Commenting (done together)
- Email & Comment moderation
- Blog technical work (coding, graphics, advertisers, pulling my hair out)
- Personal time (exercise, meditation/nap, food breaks, etc.)
- Social Networking (Digg, Stumbleupon, message boards, etc.)
So, there you have it! Being the goal-oriented person that I am, I follow this pattern 5 solid days each week, most Saturdays, and also on Sunday when I don’t have actual social or family plans.
Does that make me a productivity junkie, a workaholic, or just a slightly insane person? Maybe.
However, when all is said and done I can:
- Visit my friend Gayla way out in the (sticks?)
- Spend a week in Key West with Andrea
- Camp out in Panama City with Michael and Lisa
- See the back hills of Texas with Craiger
- Get back to my roots in New York, and
- Honor my legacy in the Pacific Northwest
– all without affecting my paycheck – we’ll see who is crazy then, won’t we??? ;)~
OH – I almost forgot. TAG – you’re it! Everyone benefits from learning new and exciting (or insane) ways to be productive, so c’mon and share your ideas!
If you are reading this, you may consider yourself officially tagged to participate. Be sure to show the link love back to Ben , and include a linkback to this post as your inspiration, and then share your own productivity secrets with your readers.
C’mon – ya know you wanna!