Saving Blocks of Time with this Productive Strategy

Monday, June 26, 2017

It turns out that we’re very good not being productive. But, it’s just as easy to be productive as it is to waste time. Through lots of finding this that didn’t work, I found several steps that will recover just enough time in your day to be more productive and create more or review something you have already made. How much time are we talking? How’s this for food for thought: cutting the average person’s time spent on social media in half recovers an extra hour to our day. I also realized (after reading that study) that I’m above average. I was spending closer to three hours a day. Yikes. But don’t think I’m going to say, “Hey you can be productive if you just give up social media.” I’m efficient with time, but, hey, who really wants to give up their social media feed?

Be More Productive by Setting Priorities the Right Way One of my best secrets to getting more done each day is simply setting priorities. It is the difference between reacting to things throughout the day and acting on things. The first will eat up your time. The latter will allow you greater freedom to create artwork, take photos, or write. I am still guilty with many of my priorities. I find those crazy rabbit holes on Facebook or YouTube. Seconds later turn into hours later. But priorities help minimize this time sink. I’m really good at this. I found it very difficult to get things done or get ahead of that mountain of things to do. Then I changed my way of thinking to this new paradigm.

It is the difference between reacting to things throughout the day and acting on things.

You may have seen the video of a person filling a jar with large rocks. Then they ask if any more can fit into the jar. Those watching reply no. The person pulls out some small pebbles. Then he pours them into the spaces between the larger rocks in the jar. He then repeats again with sand. Each smaller item fill in the spaces between the larger items. If you poured the sand in first, then the pebbles, then all the rocks don’t fit into the jar. The analogy of a my typical day fell into place. My day was filled with sand. Not rocks.

Building Your Day on a Solid Foundation to be more Productive After setting your priorities, we’ve got to do the next step: follow through with them! Who’da thought? I now try to make it a daily habit of building on a solid foundation for my day. If I can get my first priority in order right as I kick off my day, the rest of the day falls into place much easier. I am still falling very short of where I’d like to be. But I love this new trajectory. Each morning, I wake up a bit earlier than normal to read the next chapters in my bible reading plan. I read and meditate on God’s word each morning and it reminds me throughout the day that things happen on God’s time. It reminds me that all my gifts are actually a gift from God. It is the like laying the first floor tile. Everything else falls into place if the proper time is spent on that first piece.

My Favorite Tool for Being More Efficient at Creativity To-do apps are all the rage for smartphones. A good todo app will be your best friend. It will help you do more throughout the day and become more efficient with your time, allowing you to create more.

2Do app for iPhone for productivityI use the app called 2Do for the iPhone and iPad. There are several things I love about 2Do that help me get things done. First is their deadlines feature. Set a task and set when it needs to be completed, even down to a time of day, if you really like that much granularity. Now I focus on what needs to be done, in the right order. In addition, each task can be categorized into different areas, such as Work, Home, Writing, or Reading. These tagging features are awesome. For example, when I come across something I want to read, I throw it into my Reading folder in 2Do. Then when I have my ‘reading time,’ I can easily see what is on my reading list. There are tons of other todo apps out there, and I’m not against using a simple notebook. I’m known to sport a rocking Moleskine notebook on most days. My Moleskine replaced by DayRunner, which replaced my Trapper Keeper. Yeah. That. The important thing is being able to set your task down ahead of time. This way, you know what you need to do instead of randomly doing things throughout the day.

Let the Trend Drive the Actions I took flight lessons years ago. One thing I found out was how easy it was to become disoriented. The motion of the plane and lack of any object nearby make it very tough to know if you are climbing higher or beginning a slow descent towards the ground.

That spot on the horizon became my anchor for flying straight and level.

To correct this, my instructor taught me to find a point near the horizon and keep it centered on the window of the cockpit. That spot on the horizon became my anchor for flying straight and level. In the same way, keeping my long term goals always at the front of my mind, I am able to more easily decide if any task that comes up keeps me on track toward that long term, end goal, or if it steers me away from it. This way the long term trend that we created for ourselves becomes the driving factor for more daily actions and decisions. Start a todo list and curate it with your long term goals in view. Review it each evening before going to bed and prioritize what should be the most important things on which to focus for the following day. This one step will do wonders to how your daily tasks are made more efficient. Do you want to learn more about other tools and strategies to finding more time to be more productive and creative? Sign up for Sully’s BrainTrust emails and get exclusive tips as well as access to my resource library.

Hi. I'm Scott Sullivan, a slave of Christ, author, AI programmer, and animator. I spend my time split between the countryside of Lancaster, Pa, and Northern Italy, near Cinque Terre and La Spezia.

In addition to improving lives through data analytics with my BS in Computer Science, I also published, Searching For Me, my first memoir, about my adoption, search for my biological family, and how it affected my faith.