Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Posting Productivity

For all of you procrastinating, I’ll-do-it-later, just-leave-me-alone people who are trying to find a way to become productive in your own life -- and a more organized member of your family-- perhaps I have the answer you’ve been waiting for.


This may come as a complete shock, but if you’re willing to buy a pack of Post-It Notes©, and a pen or pencil - anything that will create tangible writing (no, the computer monitor doesn’t count -- you need something you can actually scroll a pen over) you will find yourself fast becoming productivity’s friend. Are you ready? This is what you need to do:

Write down all the important things you need to do today.

Now, I can hear you thinking, “Whoa, hold on there. Don’t you think that’s a little too simple? I mean, lists? Come on, I thought you were going to give me a life-changing idea.”

But, I have. See, if you’re anything like me, I feel productive when I’ve accomplish something worthwhile to myself; something I place value in doing. I understand that this is subjective; that accomplishing something “worthwhile” for some is climbing Mt. Everest and for others, like me, it’s just getting on the treadmill for twenty minutes. But God gives us a certain amount of hours per day, and if we end that day without an accomplished goal, what exactly did we do with our time? Did we waste our time or spend it wisely?

The thing about lists is that they are the “to-do” not only for the day, but also for our future. By writing out what we need to do daily (wash the car, go to the gym, read two chapters of book) our goals are clear. We accomplish much, rather than wasting it doing frivolous and often-inconsequential things like checking our Facebook friends or staring endlessly into opened refrigerators.

Seeing your “to-dos” in front of you reminds you to check those things off until you’re done, and even possibly, make us feel a little guilty if we don’t.

To be honest, I didn’t believe in all this list “stuff” either. I saw my sister doing it and thought she was bonkers. But when I decided to do it for one day, I was amazed. I not only finished everything -- because suddenly it forced me to accomplish things rather than twiddle by thumbs -- but found myself irrevocably proud of what I’d done. If I could do this for one day, what would happen if I wrote a list out every day? What amazing things would I be able to achieve if I wrote out a list all the time?

Let’s get one thing straight though: lists don’t define you. Obviously, we don’t have to follow them to a T to be successful. But it’s a guide; a map to remind you where you are and where you want to go. A simple list, one with a few relevant “to-dos” that you can cross off when completed, (yes, this is very satisfying) is something you have to try once.

Lists are like a stepping-stone that help us reach our peak productivity because it forces us to figure out what’s important, and what’s not.

It’s a very simple concept. But this concept has the possibility to change your life for good. And who doesn’t need a good dose of change every now and then? Let me know how this works for you. Did you accomplish more with a list? Or, if it didn’t do a thing for you, why? Forward this to friends who you think need help (or those who don't, but just love sticky notes.) Tell me about it, and maybe we can all help each other become productive.

-Heather

7 comments:

  1. Yup, it works. And this is a good reminder to help us all be as productive as we can. Good post.

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  2. Thanks Warren. I'm telling you, it's what I needed to get productive. Still do it today ... everytime I look at my list, it's like a swift kick in the pants, you know. -H

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  3. I love lists for the reasons you mentioned. Here's another thing I love doing: making a list of the things I've already gotten done - it sure does feel good to see what you've accomplished.

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  4. I stopped by for your blogging experiment entry, I suppose I'm early so I'll stalk you later for more!

    I'm a new follower (one reason I love blog fests!) and I have to say that productivity is a hard thing for me to grasp. I have so many things I want to do that sometimes I get overwhelmed and only think of them rather than doing them... a vicious cycle.

    I have a solution. I purchased a white board some time ago and I'm pulling it out this weekend, dusting it off and putting a schedule for myself up. No reason to not be productive. Let's hope it works.

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  5. Anita, I LIKE that idea! I think I may implement that one. Talk about making yourself feel better. I need that some days, when nothing is accomplished.

    Jen, yes, see my blog in a few hours! Thanks for the add though! :)
    White boards are AWESOME too. What a great idea.
    It's like one giant, post-it note. I may have to bust mine out too.

    -H

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  6. I must say, I am SO much more productive when I make lists! They certainly help me to cut out time wasters! I recently went back to the Franklin planner to help me with goal setting/etc. I'm excited to see how productive I can be! God bless!

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  7. Thanks for your comments Maria.
    The Franklin planners are awesome!
    -H

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