Category: Productivity

Small Steps make a Big Difference

1. Brainstorm ideas for Blog post.

2. Write post.

3. Edit post.

4. Publish to Blog.

5. Bask in adoration of numerous fans.

You’ve probably heard this before, but small steps can make a very big difference in your productivity.  A list like this one looks silly – I know that all of those steps are essential to publishing a post on this blog. But sometimes that can be a burden.  When I think “I have to write a post today” the little bookkeeper in my mind makes that list, and then the rest of me thinks “I’ll do it after dinner.” Which may or may not happen.  But when I write that list out, I have a tangible series of small goals to accomplish in order to complete the bigger task of writing a post.

Lists like these can apply to just about anything in your life.  Got a project that you’re stuck on, a looming deadline that’s stressing you out?

1. Get out pen & paper/word document/sticky note.

2. List all tasks required to bring project to completion, in the order that they need to happen.

3. Start working on very first one.

I promise if you start making a habit of this you will become far more productive and less stressed out.

 

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On a related note, here’s an episode of a podcast I really enjoy called the Make Shift Happen show, starring Dean Dwyer.

The episode is called “Sweat the Small Stuff” and it’s about taking care of the seemingly small things in your life that actually have a big impact on your whole world. It’s pretty cool.

A Train Metaphor

You’re the conductor at a busy railway station. The station is your life. The trains are your current pursuits. Some trains are going to take priority over others.  The supply trains will (almost) always take priority over the passenger trains. All of the trains are important and have to get to the station eventually. Your job as the conductor is to manage the trains accordingly. You don’t want any of them to derail and crash. You certainly don’t want two trains to collide. So some of the trains will have to wait on the side rails as the more important trains lumber by. Once the big train has passed, the smaller commuter train can continue on uninhibited until it reaches the station.

The supply trains represent money, resources, the things you need to conduct the station.  If the supply trains stop coming in you’re toast.  Unless you have a pretty sizeable stockpile of coal, in which case you can slow them down a little bit so the passenger trains can have their fun. Those trains are your goals. Personal goals, spiritual goals, bucket lists, what have you.

Figure out which are the most important trains and let them pass. Some trains will have to wait.  It sucks to be on that train, but then again you don’t have a choice.  So check your schedule and mind your coal.

Just don’t let ’em crash.

Make Your Bed Every Day

Making my bed every day has changed my life. How?

This is a very easy way to affect positive change.  In Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, he states that people who make their bed every day are happier and more productive than people who don’t.  It’s a great book for those who haven’t read it.  And the bed-making thing is just one way that you can start small in forming good habits.  Doing something for yourself every day – having a routine of activities that make you feel good – is a powerful force.  What’s great is that anybody can do it.  Making your bed takes at most a few minutes, but it affects the whole rest of your day.

Once you’ve nailed that you can start introducing other good habits in to your routine.  Such as flossing or keeping a journal like I mentioned in my previous post.  If you want to be happier and more productive, you better start tucking those corners.

Here is another post the bed making phenomenon. It’s got some legs.