Personal Productivity: Getting Started

‘Time’ is the most valuable resource we have. Yet, millions of us waste precious time on an almost daily basis, in the pursuit of our goals and objectives.

Here are three simple but powerful techniques I have personally used, to make the most efficient use of my time…

Make Lists; Lots of Them!

I use ‘Google Keep’ to manage all my lists. Every thing I think of, I enter in one my Keep notes (defaulting to List boxes, so I can check them off, as I get through them). Color coding helps me segregate between Work and Personal notes. For my personal ToDos, I use a simple structure of labeling them as ‘Soon’ or ‘Later’, since I have come to learn that ToDo lists are almost never fully done. Yet, a lot can be achieved if one can keep track of all the scraps of information that pop into your head at inconvenient times.

Use Tags, Not Folders

I avoid using Folders, and try to use Tags wherever possible. ‘Search’ has got quite sophisticated over the years, and most software tools let you Search and Retrieve in seconds. My go-to email service is ‘GMail’, which has a powerful search built-in. Plus, Tags let me tag the same item with multiple tag names for retrieval. If you must use Folders for your email, keep them action-oriented: Today / This Week / Later / FYI should suffice for most of your needs. No point in overcomplicating things.

Bonus Tip: Spend an hour or two to unsubscribe from all the unread / junk email that has accumulated in your Inbox.

Commit to Calendaring

I save every work-related item in my ‘Google Calendar’. I also use separate “calendars” for myself, my work, and a shared one for my family. It may feel a bit of an overkill at first, but here’s how it works. Firstly, you can switch on and off individual calendars to easily see what’s on your schedule. Secondly, having the right defaults for notifications and reminders ensures that you don’t miss out on anything of importance. Finally, at a glance, you can see how much of your time was spent in structured activities, and how much of downtime you actually had, so you can tweak it if needed.

Just these three techniques, once they become a habit, can save you countless hours in wasted time, and put you ahead of most folks. What you do with all those newly-gained minutes will be entirely up to you!