Productivity 101: Getting the Ball Rolling
As I move back into my home office again after six weeks on the road, my brain turns to financial and business productivity. There’s much to do:
- unload the Trailblazer and find homes for tools and supplies. While the name “Trailblazer” might be over the top, it was a wonderful “Stuff Hauler.”
- organize the heaps of paper, clothing and tools in my office, closet and garage
- scan and archive rental house documents for tax time
- attack TheFreeFinancialAdvisor with a vengeance (subscribe to The Diary below for details)
- finish handyman instructions for more work on the rental house (I COMPLETELY forgot to put up the smoke alarms. Not good.)
- begin projects like “grow grass”, “get garage door working again” and the always thrilling “powerwash the house.” Me in a wet tee-shirt isn’t nearly as fun as Bo Derek was, btw…..
- prepare for an attempt to beat my Joe Record of 3:56 in the San Antonio Marathon in mid November
While I’m glad to be home, the number of tasks begging for attention is overwhelming. I feel like a crustacean at Red Lobster…like I’m ready to get boiled and eaten.
It’s when I’m pulling what little hair I have out while slamming my ”Easy Button” over and over that I turn to productivity experts for help.
How about some show & tell? Here’s who I use:
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’>David Allen: Getting Things Done – No book has informed my ability to quickly complete tasks more than Mr. Allen, the guru of the GTD movement. I constantly aspire to the Allen goal to “be like water” and flow with the situation. To do this, I have to maintain rigorous systems to find data at a moment’s notice and stay on top of critical tasks. I’ll be re-reading Allen’s Getting Things Done over the next two weeks to sharpen this saw.
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal’>Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz: The Power of Full Engagement – the central principle of this book—that keeping high energy is the key to staying on top of tasks – is a fitting companion for anyone trying to implement GTD systems. Loehr and Schwartz compare businesspeople to professional tennis players: your schedule is year round, so it’s impossible to get up for every event. Instead, manage your physical training and energy to be in top shape for critical meetings and activities. It’s an important question: why do athletes stretch out, practice and warm down, but businesspeople “wing it?” It doesn’t make sense.
Stanford Study: Multitasking – I have to remind myself to stick to one task at a time. Forget the list building behind this current activity (as I write this there are clothes from the trip in the dryer, a foyer full of bags from the car and a list of emails I promised to return today). This Stanford study proved what I think we might have known all along: trying to multitask muddles your brain and actually costs you time. We aren’t wired for three tasks at once, no matter how hard we want to be.
Those are my resources for productivity. Try them out if you’re looking for well-tested material to help you shovel bigger loads of tasks at once. I think you’ll like them.
I’m curious: what are your favorite texts on productivity?
Note: the links to the top two books are affiliate links. If you purchase these books using these links you’ll support upkeep of our site while shopping on Amazon. Thank you!
Photos: Stress vs. Productivity: GDS Infographics; Things To Do: Hangout Lifestyle