I was recently pointed out to a video online called the Science of Productivity, it’s all about time management and will power. Basically – our ability to get things done. I thought it would be especially relevant of me to write about this as I have been away from the blog for an extended period shall we say, well longer than usual.
So – what have I been doing?
Well, firstly a most of you know this is only a part-time venture for me, so my time is very precious when it comes to blogging and my online ventures in general. I have been creating a new product and I decided to focus all my time and energy into producing this. Between writing sales pages, content, setting up payment processors, vendors, and all the other bits that go with it I have not had much time left to write! Anyway, it is in the tweaking stage now so I can take a short break to write this.
This leads nicely into what we are going to discuss here – the Science of Productivity.
We are all faced with completing tasks in our everyday lives and working lives, some simple, some a bit more complex and time consuming. We have discussed tools for time management here on the blog before. This has a slightly different approach.
The first step and arguably the most important is to get started, write the first few sentences down of the blog post you have been putting off for ages, post an oDesk job in the software section then see what the response is, record the first part of your video how to series – whatever it is, get started.
I see and hear so many people blame the fact that they have no time to do stuff online. Most often people make this complaint because they are looking at the big picture.
Take my scenario for example – I have two kids, work a full-time day job and am studying my final year of an HNC. Yet, I also own a few niche websites, have a nice steady thousand subscribers to this blog and am about to launch my second product online.
Sure, I am not making $10,000 a month like the big players, but I have only been writing for ten months.
What is the key to my productivity?
Simple – breaking things down. Whenever I do anything related to my online or offline work, projects etc I break them down. Setting S.M.A.R.T goals for example are a great way to feel good about yourself.
These are small bite-sized chunks of work that can be achieved in a relatively short space of time.
I do this all the time, this way even if I only have 1 or 2 hours free in an evening I can still complete some tasks.
We tend to lose focus by thinking we are working by spending time on Facebook, Twitter – opening emails etc. Whilst this is important, it is not real work. Take this post for example, the only thing I have open in front of me is Word.
All social media accounts and my email client are closed.
The Zeigarnik Effect
Going back to the first point about getting started, people generally experience something called the Zeigarnik effect. This is our minds way of telling us to finish something that we have already started. If you are anything like me, I am terrible for this – it’s not a bad thing, I cannot stand having things left unfinished, but remember the bite-sized chunks rule. This will make you finish each task easier.
According to psychologists, the Zeigarnik effect also suggests that people who take regular breaks to do things completely unrelated tend to grasp a better overall understanding than people who go at it full pelt with no breaks.
I break my sessions into 60 minute slots. Usually in the evenings, if I am feeling fresh I may do two or three but I have at least a twenty minute break in between and completely remove myself from it.
This video was shown to me by a colleague at work – we run all our projects following the principles outlined here. Really useful video – please check it out, its only 3 minutes.
So, remember to focus.
And that huge project you have been putting off – get started on it. It may not be as bad as you think.