6 Productivity Hacks You Should Try This Year

6 Productivity Hacks You Should Try This Year

6 Productivity Hacks You Should Try This YearAfter tools, I get most excited about little tricks I discover for saving time or getting more done. These are six of the discoveries I made last year that you may want to try:

#1 Make your environment inviting

I am extremely cold averse. As I was setting up a writing office in my basement, I kept thinking about the cold and about how unwilling I am to use my scrapbooking desk because it’s right by a door that lets all the cold air in. So I bought my own space heater that can direct warm air my way and HELLO, I’ve my fanny in my warm chair ever since.

Maybe temperature isn’t your problem, but lighting or seating is. Make the needed change and see if you aren’t more productive.

#2 Use a year-long wall calendar

I bought a jumbo, full-year, dry-erase calendar for the wall above my desk. Suddenly a year didn’t seem so long–especially when I added important dates like vacations, blog post deadlines, and goals. The advantage of seeing time this way is I am less likely to procrastinate! It’s also easier not to overload your calendar when you see the big picture. I originally planned to write two blog posts a week. When I saw it on the wall, I realized that would mean much less accomplished on my homeschool curriculum. I cut back my planned blog frequency for most weeks to one.

#3 Get more sleep

When I did Body for Life, I cut my sleep back to seven hours. I really did feel great during that 12 weeks, but I convinced myself that I only needed seven hours of sleep. Truth is, most of the time, it ended up being six to six and a half. I was wrong about what I needed physically and emotionally. As hard as it is for me to be sleeping by 10 p.m., I have been sleeping from 10-6 consistently for some time now and I feel amazing! I feel really stupid that I was making such an obvious mistake. I no longer feel exhausted by afternoon and am still productive.

#4 Randomize tasks when motivation fails

There are times when I just don’t feel like doing what I’ve scheduled for the day. This is especially true the later in the day it is and the more tasks I feel I need to do. At these times, I go to Random.org or use the iPhone app and generate a random number using the number of tasks I want to address as my range. The rule is I have to do at least something on whichever task I land on. If I can’t do that task for some reason, I do the next one on the list. This method has the advantage of helping me to complete tasks I would ordinarily procrastinate on.

Give it a try!

#5 Do the most important things in the morning

I kept thinking I didn’t have time to write curriculum (one of my most important things) in the morning. I work out, eat breakfast, chat with my husband, do personal devotions, and shower first thing before doing chores and homeschooling. I saved my writing time for the afternoons and it worked! I was motivated and energetic to write in the early afternoons. The problem was that something else always seemed to crop up in the afternoon, so I couldn’t write. I realized that those other activities wouldn’t interfere with my writing time if I did it early morning.

So I decided to workout in the basement and immediately go to my basement writing desk. It worked! I consistently get an hour of writing in during early mornings. I did have to give something up and that was chatting with my husband. For many people that wouldn’t be a wise tradeoff, but my husband works out of our home. I talk with him all day, including a little later in the morning. He enjoys reading his Bible and the paper while I write.

#6 Organize by day

I used to do certain types of tasks on particular days of the week and I got away from it. It makes life so much easier and more efficient. When a finance-related email comes in, it’s dated for Mondays. I can do them all in batches without adding a context tag or wondering when a good day is to do them. I am also doing blogging tasks on Thursdays. Everything else that isn’t urgent is ignored. What an amazing feeling of peace that gives me! To top it off, I feel like I have an abundance of time to get my tasks done. Trying to do a big mix of tasks adds to my feeling of overwhelm.

What productivity hacks are you crazy about?

This post is part of a 5-day series on productivity favorites. You may enjoy the other 5 Day Hopscotch posts from iHomeschool Network bloggers. Check them out!

5 Days of iHomeschool Network goodness!

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5 Days of Productivity Favorites

5 Days of Productivity Favorites

productivity, best productivity books, best productivity blogs, best productivity podcasts, best productivity tools, best productivity hacksI love to write about productivity and miss the Year of Living Productively series and some of the great articles that followed like these:

6 Important Habits for Getting More Done

A Better Daily, Weekly, Monthly To Do List

Get More Done With a 1-Thing To Do List

Motivation for Doing What’s Most Important Today

But for me, this is a year of being truly productive and realizing the dream of writing and publishing my own curriculum. (For you homeschoolers and parents with kids in elementary school, I will share more as soon as I can.) For now, I came up with a compromise. This week I will share 5 posts about my productivity favorites of the year. These are the books, websites, podcasts, tools, and hacks that I loved (that didn’t necessarily come out last year) that I think you might enjoy too.

I am including all five links below:

6 Productivity Books You Should Read This Year

6 Productivity Blogs You Should Read This Year

6 Productivity Podcasts You Should Listen to This Year

6 Productivity Tools You Should Try This Year

6 Productivity Hacks You Should Try This Year

I would love to hear your favorites!

You may enjoy the other 5 Day Hopscotch posts from iHomeschool Network bloggers. Check them out!

5 Days of iHomeschool Network goodness!

 

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Can You Really Write a Nonfiction Ebook in 21 Days?

Can You Really Write a Nonfiction Ebook in 21 Days?

Can you really write an ebook in 21 days?This is Week 47-52 of a Year of Living Productively

These last six weeks I tested whether I could write a nonfiction ebook in 21 days. I wanted to summarize my findings in a Year of Living Productively in ebook form and used the ebook by Steve Scott to do so as described in my last post. While I was working, I shared some amazing guest posts with you that I felt added to my investigations. They are listed at the end of this post.

How Writing an Ebook This Way Saved My Sanity

  • Gave me the opportunity to assess the past year. I have learned so much doing these experiments and writing about them. If I hadn’t worked on an ebook, I don’t know that I would have gleaned as much as I did from the process.
  • Enabled me to quickly outline a book. Steve Scott’s approach to outlining a nonfiction ebook is a good one. I really enjoyed using note cards to do it — something I haven’t used in writing for years. My outline was finished right on time.
  • Enabled me to quickly write a first draft. Steve’s admonition to write quickly got me into a Nanowrimo frame of mind and I was able to produce the first draft in a little more than 8 hours.

How Writing an Ebook This Way Made Me Crazy

  • Required too much time. Steve Scott recommends writing for two hours a day to finish the book in 21 days. I thought I would have more than enough time to start the book before I left for vacation the second week of January. Not so much. Then I thought I would have plenty of time to write on vacation. I did have some time, but not nearly the amount I anticipated. I planned to write the book in a two-hour time block each evening when I returned. When that didn’t work, I gave up, rather than using the little-and-often approach that had worked so well for me. I also struggled to find the time for editing the book because…
  • I was confused about my purpose. Steve suggests writing to answer people’s questions, but that felt like I was writing this book to tell people how to be productive. That’s the opposite of my purpose in writing this series! Once I figured that out, I was able to finish the first draft. But I was still confused. I wondered if the book would really be valuable to readers. I wondered if it was worth putting on Amazon, instead of just making it a blog freebie. I wondered if it was worth the sacrifice of time. And I wondered if I could really do the book justice in just 21 days. Now I wonder if I had written a weekly update during the process if I would have gotten more clarity.
  • I had competing priorities. I foolishly over-committed these past weeks and tried to write the ebook while going on vacation, starting a new weekly series on organization for homeschoolers, and more stuff that would just bore you (you may be thinking “too late!”). I had to reread a post I wrote on the high cost of over-commitment and how to avoid it. I realized that I succeeded writing 50,000 words in a month for Nanowrimo when it was my only extra commitment. Throw in a lot of unexpected and emotional events this month and I’m amazed I finished the first draft. That’s as far as I got.

Can I really write a nonfiction ebook in 21 days?

I don’t know. If I had invested the full 42 hours, I could answer that question, but I didn’t. I really wanted to, but if I had been miserable pushing myself to get the book done, I don’t think it would have been as helpful as honestly telling you that I couldn’t do it. At least not this last month.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using Going Forward

I am going to finish the ebook using Little and Often. I want to finish the book because I think I will get a deeper understanding of how I work best as I refine it. I also want to bring closure to this series for faithful readers. I will still work through the steps that Steve Scott clearly explains, but I am not going to block time and promise it on a deadline. I have succeeded using writing deadlines in the past, but I am experiencing some obligation-based procrastination now. I think it will be interesting to see how long it takes to finish the book using little and often. Of course, I will post to let you know when the book is available!

Following the publication of the book, I will be posting about productivity hacks, books, apps, or ideas that catch my fancy as I’m inspired. Originally, I thought I would do that weekly. But one of the important things I learned from trying to finish this ebook is not to obligate myself to too much. I love the friends I’ve made through this series, but I love my family more. That’s as it should be.

If you’d like to join me going forward, here’s what you do. Write your ebook using a Little-and-Often approach. Keep reading, trying new things, and sharing what you learn about yourself with others. I would love to hear about what’s working for you!

**UPDATE**

I made the very difficult choice NOT to write a productivity ebook, not because I couldn’t, but because I was putting off what I REALLY wanted to do until I wrote the ebook. Instead, I am close to publishing my dream book–a language arts curriculum for elementary students. As an alternative, I’ve created a landing page and updates for all the productivity posts I’ve written. My desire is that this series benefits you the way it has me.

I have written and spoken about what I’ve learned in this series here:

6 Important Habits for Getting More Done

Interview with Francis Wade

Productivity Posts That Followed the Series

Motivation to Do What’s Most Important Today

A Better Daily / Weekly / Monthly To-Do List

Automatic Scheduling for Busy People

Get More Done with a 1-Thing To-Do List

5 Days of Productivity Favorites

 

The posts in A Year of Living Productively:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

Week 35: Steve Kamb’s Do It Now

Week 36: Rising Early

Week 37: Computer Shortcuts

Week 38: Interrupter’s Log

Week 39: Project Management

Week 40: Little and Often

Week 41: Problem Solving Approach

Week 42: Inbox Zero

Week 43: Resistance List

Week 44: Time Tracking

Week 45: No To-Do List

Week 46: Delegating

Why College Students & CEOs Manage Time the Same Way

How to Set Goals That Work

How to Get Things Done Regardless of Your App or System

The Real Cure for Time Management Anxiety

Roles & Goals: Lessons in Productivity from the 7 Habits

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Can Delegating Help You Get More Done?

Can Delegating Help You Get More Done?

delegating, productivity, GTD, organizedThis is Week 46 of a Year of Living Productively

This week (and weeks prior) I tested whether delegating tasks to my family could help me get more done. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more on the concept.

How Delegating Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Allowed me to really rest. I am still stunned that my children did all of the clean-up after our Thanksgiving dinner last month. I was really able to sit and relax after a busy day of cooking. No, that’s never happened before! My son who has his driver’s license ran to the grocery store for me. My second oldest put together my daughter’s new bookcase. My husband did more cooking and errands for me than he has, too. I had the kids doing a lot of Christmas tasks I normally handle myself. It was great timing, because as I mentioned last week, I’ve been a little burned out.
  • Allowed me to let things go. When I saw that the world didn’t come to an end when I delegated, I also realized that there were some things I planned on doing that just didn’t need to be done or at least not now.

How Delegating Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Made me confront my anxiety. In allowing my children to do more, I realized how uptight I get about the silliest little things. I am just sure that the kids are going to knock the glass bowl off the counter when they’re mixing ingredients or will burn themselves on the oven. I’m not sure where this is coming from, but this is a productivity series of posts, not psychoanalysis. 🙂
  • Demonstrated the need to plan ahead. If you save tasks for the last minute, you can’t afford to teach a child how to do them or even have a husband pick up the wrong things from the store. Even though I have taught my kids to do a lot, I realized that this is why I haven’t taught them to do everything I could.

Did Delegating Help Me Get More Done?

Yes.  And I received no complaints. On the contrary, everyone seemed happy to help. I think it’s possible that I am this tornado whizzing by and when I stopped long enough to teach, share responsibilities, and explain what I needed, everyone was relieved. My intention is to continue delegating because it prepares my kids for adulthood, while at the same time giving me some downtime.

**UPDATE**

Delegating is still helping me get more done. I aspire to do more in this area, because I know it’s such a powerful strategy.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for the Rest of the Year

This month I’ll be testing whether I can write an ebook in 21 days. I will be using the schedule in Steve Scott’s book, How to Write a Nonfiction eBook in 21 Days.

The concept. Many of us dream of writing a book, but we struggle to find the time. I have seen and read a number of these formulaic write-a-book-in-x-days books, but I’ve never actually tested them out. Because I want to summarize my findings over the past year in a Kindle ebook, I thought this would be a perfect test to round out the year.

I have so enjoyed writing this series, but I have more to say than the post format allows. For example, I have had a change of heart about many of the various approaches I’ve tried and also have some ideas about how to bring the best ideas together in a way that works for me. When I am back in February, I hope to have a book on Amazon for you that will share that information. The book will be free in the short-term as a thank you to my readers who have made this such a rewarding year.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Buy and read How to Read a Nonfiction eBook in 21 Days (It’s just $2.99 on Kindle). Do the tasks according to the schedule. I would love to hear if you have a book in February! 

To see how writing a nonfiction book in 21 Days went, click here.

Be sure to check here each week in January for a fantastic guest post. I’m very excited about the writers who have agreed to share on topics I haven’t been able to delve into.

To read the January guest posts, click here:

Why CEOs and College Students Manage Time the Same Way

How to Set Goals That Work

The Real Cure for Time Management Anxiety

How to Get Things Done Regardless of Your App or System

Roles & Goals: Lessons in Productivity from the 7 Habits

Previous Week’s Tests

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

Week 35: Steve Kamb’s Do It Now

Week 36: Rising Early

Week 37: Computer Shortcuts

Week 38: Interrupter’s Log

Week 39: Project Management

Week 40: Little and Often

Week 41: Problem Solving Approach

Week 42: Inbox Zero

Week 43: Resistance List

Week 44: Time Tracking

Week 45: No To-Do List

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Can Working Without a To-Do List Help You Get More Done?

Can Working Without a To-Do List Help You Get More Done?

GTD, to do lists, productivityThis is Week 45 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether going without a list for all but the tasks that I would otherwise forget, which were added to Google Calendar, could help me get more done. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more on the concept.

How Working Without a To-Do List Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Gave me true free time. Because I didn’t even really know what I was supposed to be doing (besides the obvious), I felt free to play games with my kids. Even my oldest asked me to play video games with him and shockingly enough, I said yes. I think they saw me wandering aimlessly and didn’t want to miss an opportunity.
  • Helped me realize how few things are crucial. I didn’t do many of the things I fully intended to do (make homemade gifts and goodies, for example). I’m astonished to report that the world didn’t come to an end.
  • I took care of more things in the moment. There was no option to “do it later,” so much of the time if I thought about doing something, I just did it.

How Working Without a To-Do List Made Me Crazy This Week

  • I felt depressed. I was suffering from burnout last week, but having a discreet list of things to do was helpful in that regard. This week, I noticed I had no interest in recreational activities. Perhaps the feeling was coincidental with the weather, my health, and other circumstances, however.
  • I felt lost. I wasn’t interested in processing my email because I knew I couldn’t add any of them to a task list. When I thought of something I wanted or needed to do, it drove me nuts not to add it to my ToDoist list.
  • I didn’t get much done. Because I wasn’t working from a to-do list, I seemed to shift into vacation mode. I thought it was funny when I caught myself thinking, “I’ll do this next week when I can be done with this silly no-list experiment.” I got the critical things done and spent some enjoyable down time with my kids, but that was really about it.

Did Working Without a To-Do List Help Me Get More Done?

No.  And I’m really surprised. Years ago when I did this, my conclusion was just the opposite. Breaking free of a traditional to-do list then helped me find the want-to in my work.

One of the things that is different this time is I already have the want-to. I can’t wait to get back to my To-Doist Little and Often approach. I really prefer putting most tasks off until tomorrow so I can work them efficiently (similar tasks together). I love having a true deadline of 3 days past due to motivate me to take some action. The problem that I ran into is the approach works TOO WELL at motivating me. I found myself working longer and longer hours to move tasks along so they wouldn’t get deleted. The point of the impending deletion of tasks isn’t to expand work hours, but to eliminate tasks from your list that you either don’t have time for or are putting off. My solution from here on out will be to stop working at 9 p.m. Anything not done by then that is 3 days past due is gone. I’ll regain my evening free time and have a more realistic to-do list.

**UPDATE**

Although there was a time in my life when working without a to-do list worked beautifully for me, it no longer does. I suspect that is because so many of my to-do’s are related to email now. I could just leave them in my inbox and work with them by memory, but I have more peace of mind when I process my emails using ToDoist for Gmail.

delegating, productivity, GTD, organized

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 46 & What to Expect

This week I’ll be testing delegating. I will finish a month-long test of delegating work by training my children to do more and asking my husband to share some of the responsibilities he is open to sharing.

The concept. You don’t have to be into traditional productivity stuff to understand the need to delegate. The importance of delegating is preached to the office worker and homeschool mom alike. I read Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week years ago. Moms NEVER work 4-hour weeks. Sorry, Tim. I will admit to fantasizing about having a virtual assistant though. Having someone order my groceries that would be delivered to my door? Divine. Someone to research material for my latest book project? Fab. More recently, the idea of having a social media person is even more appealing!

But I have  never breathed a word of my fantasy to my practical husband who would have a very good laugh over it. Considering how much money I do NOT make from my extra-familial pursuits, I couldn’t justify hiring anyone. But the older my children have gotten, the more I’ve come to understand that I have a whole staff of people I can “hire” to help me. Don’t get me wrong. My children already do chores. It’s just that I don’t often think of them as an extra resource for getting things done. Why? It’s time-consuming. And that’s what makes training kids very similar to delegating work in a traditional work environment. All delegating takes time and when you’re already in a rush, it’s easy to procrastinate on delegating.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Decide who you could delegate to. It could be a paid helper, family member, or colleague. Get your helper to buy in. What advantages are there to your family for pitching in? Discuss those. Could you trade jobs with someone? Then every time you start doing something that you know you should delegate, either start training them or plan to train them as soon as possible. You’re unlikely to have results after just a week, so this may be a longer term proposition.

To find out how delegating worked for me, click here.

What can you expect from Psychowith6 in the coming weeks?

I will report on my results with delegating next week. I will also announce a multi-week test of something I’m very excited about. In the Christmas spirit, I won’t tell you what it is until then. 🙂 While I am devoting time to that test, I will continue to rely on delegation by having some superb bloggers guest post on some productivity topics I haven’t been able to address in this series. Thank you for making this such a rewarding process for me. You’re the best!

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s

7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

Week 35: Steve Kamb’s Do It Now

Week 36: Rising Early

Week 37: Computer Shortcuts

Week 38: Interrupter’s Log

Week 39: Project Management

Week 40: Little and Often

Week 41: Problem Solving Approach

Week 42: Inbox Zero

Week 43: Resistance List

Week 44: Time Tracking

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Can Time Tracking Help You Get More Done?

Can Time Tracking Help You Get More Done?

time tracking, get organized, productivityThis is Week 44 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether time tracking could help me get more done, although I did more routine tracking than true time. Scroll to the end of last week’s post for an explanation.

How Time Tracking Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Helped me recognize I am trying to do too much. In my excitement about becoming more and more efficient, I started trying to structure more and more of my time. I wasn’t actually doing most of my planned routine, so it was too much.
  • Demonstrated how variable my days are. One of the frustrations in creating a schedule or routine is the interruptions to the usual. The past two weeks have been very unusual. If I am going to expect to “stay on schedule,” I will be nothing but frustrated. Good to know so I won’t be perfectionistic about my routine.

How Time Tracking Made Me Crazy This Week

  • I resisted it. As I deleted more and more of my routine because I wasn’t actually using it, I resisted even tracking my routine. I knew it would be more of the same the second week: funerals, holiday events, and weather-related schedule changes that wouldn’t be the case next week. I wondered why I should even waste my time writing it down.
  • I rebelled. I not only resisted tracking my schedule after a while, but I stopped doing routine things that actually work for me. I think I’ve reached my limit on maximizing my time. I just want to have time to do whatever I feel like doing even if it’s not “moving me forward” or making me more “productive.”

Did Time Tracking Help Me Get More Done?

Heavens no!  I finished some big, time-consuming projects, but otherwise did less than ever this week. I don’t think that means time tracking is useless. I do wonder if I really need to formally track my time. It might have worked much better to just observe when I tend to do certain activities and give myself permission to do them then. Scheduling them gave my inner rebel fits: too many rules. The other problem I have had is burnout. I have been working really hard lately. I don’t want to be told what to do constantly, even by myself. I’ve recognized for a long time that the best reward for me is a day that I am free to use as I wish. I am very structured for school because it works. But apart from that, I’d like less structure, thank you.

**UPDATE**

I still don’t like time tracking. It’s too legalistic and gets my resistance going. I know when I’m slacking. It works better for me to schedule lots of free time into my day and week.

Can working without a to-do list make you more productive?

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 45

This week I’ll be testing No List. I will only refer to a list of tasks that are urgent that I would otherwise forget to do. All other lists will be abandoned this week.

The concept. Those of you who have known me from Mark Forster’s forum or have read my productivity posts for a while will remember that I have used this approach in the past. I had just come off a very difficult time in my life and I needed the peace of having no list. For list lovers, it sounds like anything BUT peaceful. It was what I needed at the time, however, and I’m surprised to say I feel I need it again.

I’m always pursuing excellence. That’s a good thing if at the same time I recognize that I’m excellent just as I am. Practically speaking, I tend to think more is always better. If I write a blog post that does well, I need to write more of them. If I’m doing well on Pinterest, I need to pick it up on Google+. These things can become–not just nice goals to aim for–but must-do’s. Whereas some people find themselves constantly putting out fires and never pursuing the bigger dreams, I tend to label multiple goals and the day-to-day must do’s “fires.” Thus, I experience burnout.

I want to get a balanced perspective by only looking at the true must-do’s and trusting my instincts about everything else that should be done. If you are wondering if I’ve given up on Little and Often, I haven’t at all. I’ve discovered a problem with it that I will address with you at a later date, however.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read this post where I describe my use of my no list. Decide on a way of keeping track of your must-do, must-list-or-you’ll-forget tasks. I’m going to add mine to Google Calendar. Simple, simple. If you’re interested in knowing my plans for A Year of Living Productively for the end of year, be sure to read next week!

To see how working without a to-do list worked for me, click here.

Does the idea of going list-free freak you out?

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s

7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

Week 35: Steve Kamb’s Do It Now

Week 36: Rising Early

Week 37: Computer Shortcuts

Week 38: Interrupter’s Log

Week 39: Project Management

Week 40: Little and Often

Week 41: Problem Solving Approach

Week 42: Inbox Zero

Week 43: Resistance List

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