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Productivity tips from productive people

Everyone would like to maximize their time. We all hope to work better and faster to get stuff done and feel less overwhelmed. But it’s easier said than done. With so much that can distract us, it’s hard to focus. Like anything else in life, having a routine and some go-to tips can really help. The best way to find out what works is to ask people who seem to have it figured out. I find that being good at anything often begins with asking others how they do it. So I did just that, and asked some of our productive workers here at Groundwork for their best productivity tips.

Break down your to-do list

Most of the members I asked mentioned some form of a to-do list, and making sure that list is doable and not too long.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with a HUGE to-do list! Write down three (or five) tasks at a time. Once you cross all five out, write down five more.

Von Marie Moniz, EforAll Program Manager

When I’m having trouble getting a handle on a large project I break it down into smaller steps. Sometimes you can become overwhelmed looking at the big picture. Taking  manageable steps keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

David Borges, Springline Research Group

My key to productivity is that I use a simple Google Spreadsheet with all my TO DO’s.  My columns are: Client Name, Due Date and Task. This simple spreadsheet allows me to sort by date, client name or task. Sorting by similar tasks has actually been the breakthrough. 

Mark Collins, OnWebLocal

Time blocking

The app Todoist defines time blocking as a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of tasks, and only those specific tasks. Many people, including some of our members here at GW, suggest this method.

I love to block time in my calendar for everything. Admin times, lunch-time, specific days/times to meet. For example,  I will only schedule meetings Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between such and such a time.

Von Marie Moniz

Make sure you have your priorities in order … and time block to make sure you get the important items done – not just busy work (like email!)

Paige Johnson Roth, Pine Haven Investment Counsel

Take care of yourself

Have you ever heard the phrase about putting on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others put on theirs? That came to me as I was hearing some of the productivity tips from GW members about how to be most productive. It seems taking care of yourself helps you take care of everything else too!

Nothing is better for productivity than a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, most of us can only dream of getting the amount of sleep our bodies need (pun intended.)

David Borges

Learn to say no! It’s SO hard to say no, but not overbooking yourself will keep you younger, happier, and healthier in the long run!

Von Marie Moniz

Limit distractions

With all that we have to distract us in our world, it can be difficult to focus. The best way to do that is by attempting to turn off or away from those distractions.

Turn off alerts on your phone and email (if not all the time at least some of the time.)

Paige Johnson Roth

Don’t force it – go for a walk or take a long break when your brain doesn’t seem to be functioning on all cylinders. Most of the time the solution becomes clear when you step away from a project for a bit.

David Borges
Groundwork members Vaughndre Henry & Marlissa Briggett

These tips are all helpful. But I have one more: join a coworking space. There’s nothing more motivating than being in a clean, quiet space with other working people. Having people to inspire, motivate, and when needed, take a break with, can make a huge difference in your over-all productivity. And you have the added bonus of meeting new people and having the coffee made for you, and who doesn’t love that?

Talia