It’s been brought to my attention that i’m spending way too much time on the laptop. Mostly i’m spending unnecessary time, and that results in stress and burnout. So to counter this, I’ve made a move to test out a new set of productivity Apps to get more organized, become more efficient, and to put data behind my decision making.
Trying to get more out of my time and be more focused when i’m doing a specific activity means behavior change. The first part of which is noticing behavior you wish to change, the second stage is implementing systems and processes to support such change. Once we recognize bad behaviors or behaviors which are less favorable, we can begin to change them by putting into practice systems that allow the good behaviors to flourish and the bad ones to die off slowly.
Say you want to lose 20 pounds in the next 3 weeks. Rather than go on a crash diet and then give up after 10 days of doing it, why not make an activity become your behavior change, your results won’t be instant, but you will be focusing on the behavioral change rather than the result that you want.
So lets say you make a plan to learn 1 new healthy recipe each week. You make a project out of it, “Kristian Learns to Cook”, heck make a book or a youtube series about it…
Step 1 is recognizing bad or unhealthy behaviors.
Bad Behavior: Eating junk food and fast food for every/most meals.
Here would be the steps to changing that behavior I’d suggest:
Step 1: Research 2-3 recipes you wish to make, print off the recipes and set them on the kitchen counter.
Step 2: Make a shopping list of everything you need for the recipes to make 6 days of meals. Cross anything off the list that you already have in the kitchen (spices, cream, almond milk, etc).
Step 3: Shop for said groceries.
Step 4: Follow the recipes and make large enough batches to prep food for the whole week, portioning them out and labeling with dates.
- If you are making food for one meal it takes a whole lot less effort to make 3 additional meals at once than to make 3 separate meals (time, energy) so save time and energy and make bigger batches.
Step 5: open up the container when you need it and eat the delicious meal you prepared.
Step 6: Add one new recipe to the rotation each week and repeat steps 1 – 5.
Step 7: Measure your results at the end of 3 weeks, and if you like what you see keep doing it.
This system will help facilitate a healthy habit and end with the results of losing weight and feeling better. If you take this approach to everything you do, this approach of systematizing everything, you may actually find that you become more creative in the process.
I learned much of what I know about time management and systematization from Brian Tracy’s book “How to master your time”. It by far has been the best lesson plan i’ve found on the subject of time management and efficiency.
I often go back to it when I feel that I’m straying away from the principles discussed within.
You can listen to it for free on audible when you sign up here. If you already have an audible membership, for just $16 a month ($9 less than if you don’t have the membership) you can listen to 1 new book each month. I’ve saved probably hundreds using this 1 book a month program.
Now here are the apps that I will be using to further enhance my productivity.
Timing: tracking time on your computer to help you become more efficient and to invoice clients. I get a free license through work so I thought I’d try it out. Useful to get data behind timing and not just set timers all day. You can bill clients with this, get insight into your most productive hours of the day, and use it to schedule your tasks and projects better.
Update: after using this for a week I quickly realized that I have difficulty staying on task and not task switching. So to prevent this I actually disable the internet on my computer for non-internet critical tasks and worked to block out more hours. I’m still working on testing the rest of the software because it’s really robust, definitely worth the sticker price of $49 for pro and $29 for the basic productivity tracker (good for 3 and 2 Macs respectively).
Things: Getting everything organized in one application to let you review your todos, projects and tasks for the day. I’ve been using things3 for about 2 weeks now and the $50+ price tag initially got me wincing, but after using this I realized pretty quickly that I’m just not efficient with my time if I use any other reminder/project management system right now.
Reminders and calendar just weren’t cutting it so I dove in and got the full software. If I were to do it again I would probably do their free trial (its 14 days for free) and you can get used to the software before you buy it. You can get a free 14 day trial here at https://culturedcode.com/things/
iCal: For daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendar notifications I just use the built in Mac calendar app iCal. I like it because it’s built in and I can pull my personal calendars and work ones into a single screen for viewing. I have my two gmail accounts syncing with my Mac calendar app and my 3 personal accounts so that I can see what everyone on my team is doing and who needs to be doing what.
Zoom: Free web conferencing software allows you to host one on one meetings, client coaching calls, record calls for clients, and to share video recordings with your team. Definitely a plus to have one application that does video conferencing, call recording and screen casting during said calls.
I am still getting used to these applications and learning about how to use them, but I will keep you updated as I become more versed in them and share any findings I have with you along the way of how they effect my productivity or if they get in the way.
Update: I’ve been using things3 for about a month and a half now and find that it’s really simple but not necessarily easy to use. Though you can pull all your reminders in from the Mac reminders app and you can see everything on your calendar I kinda feel as though it’s a little cluttered. I would suggest getting used to trimming the fat and getting rid of needless todos or outsourcing some of that such as grocery shopping or house cleaning so that you can stay productive on what wins the bread.
Also I really love timing, it’s great at what it does, smart tracking. It shows you from a daily and a weekly view what you are most productive at and where you may be wasting time on needless internet sites. I’ve used it only for a week and already notice my focus constricting.
As far as iCal, I use it about the same, I recently had to forego using my Mac due to an issue so I’m using my GF MacBook Pro (my old one) to write this. Thanks to my password manager and web apps like WordPress and gmail I am able to continue writing and working on my business without the need for a physical computer (I’m in the cloud baby). More on that later.
– Kristian –