5 Daily Productivity Practices To Reduce Stress and Get Things Done

productivity practicesWe’re asked to to more with less help while putting up with ever increasing interruptions. Throw in rabbit holes like Facebook, Twitter, and BuzzFeed at our fingertips and staying productive has become more challenging than ever.

But all is not lost. Take these steps to stay focused, reduce stress, and keep the productivity engine chugging.

1. Touch It Once – Instead of re-evaluating a task yet again, saving too many articles to read later, or staring down an email for the fifth time, act the first time you encounter each and move on.

This is not as easy as it seems and I sometimes stumble, but the more I work at it, the better I get. Read more

2. The Checklist – Checklists reduce errors. They facilitate consistency and completeness in carrying out tasks and avoiding mistakes. They provide a kind of cognitive net, catching mental flaws inherent in all of us — flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness.

I create checklists for new and recurring processes. This way I don’t have to fear omitting a critical step. And I can hand off a project without missing a procedural beat. Read more

3. Pomodoro, the Tomato Timer – The idea is simple: you wind up a timer for 25 minutes and work on only one thing. The timer rings and you reward yourself with a little break, then get ready for the next Pomodoro.

I use this technique frequently, blocking off time for specific projects with no interruptions. Read more

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4. Calendaring – Done the right way, calendaring keeps you organized, improves efficiency, and keeps you on task.

It took me a while to form the habit of immediately recording appointments, meetings, tasks, etc, in my calendar, but I eventually got the hang of it and it’s proven so useful, there’s no turning back. It helps you prepare for the next day or week ahead. Read more

5. Start the Night Before – Spending a few minutes at the end of the day or the night before, reflecting, and writing down and prioritizing the tasks you need to complete the next day, makes a world of difference in how you start your day and how productive you are during the day.

I do this every night preparing for the next day. It makes the night more peaceful and mornings less hectic. Read more

Individually, these practices improve productivity. Together, they meaningfully impact how much work you get done every day and helps to reduce stress at home and at work.

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Multitasking is out. Focus is in: A Few Tips

3 Responses to “5 Daily Productivity Practices To Reduce Stress and Get Things Done”

  1. Julian Summerhayes

    Morning Tim. Great post. I wish that more lawyers adopted a regime that was even half as close to this list.

    The truth is that they are so driven to bill that they miss the opportunity to plan. Perhaps they are too whacked out but I don’t think so.

    For me, having explored many techniques, I still find that a combination of my diary and Todoist work brilliantly to remind me what I’ve got to do and what I’ve done.

    One other thing. All lawyers/firms would do well to invest in a regular class on mindfulness. (It was interesting to see how Wired picked up on the fact that Silicon Valley was now embracing mindfulness, and not as another productivity hack. Where others lead the rest follow…)

    Have a great day.

    Julian.

    Reply
  2. Tim Baran

    Thanks for sharing your process, Julian. Agree that mindfulness practice should be considered. I need to make it routine.

    Reply
  3. Gabriela

    Great tips! You should also try using a time management app. I use UpYourTime. It’s really easy to use and it has helped our practice a lot beacuse it lets you register hours and see reports on your work with no effort. You can find it at http://www.upyourtime.com.

    Reply

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