Awhile ago I wrote about my productivity, and excuse me while I snort coffee out my nose, as I got too busy last week to post Part 2 and I see the irony in finally getting to post it now.

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In any case, I have bouts of gettin’ shit done and thought I would share some of the things that seem to work for me as I take over the world with Bigness:

  • Go to a coffee shop and kick it old school with (gasp) a notebook and PEN! – I did this awhile ago and holy amazeballs, I got a lot done.  Everything I come up with still has to go into a spreadsheet or onto a blog or something like that, but at least the thinking part of it is DONE.  I don’t have to contend with my wee rabbit brain while “multi-tasking”
  • Compose emails off-line. This little nugget of brilliance came from Chris Guillebeau, and without knowing how productive I was being, I had been doing this for awhile.  When I fly, I don’t seem to have a lot of luck around getting airport wifi, unless I am at YVR.  So I compose, and compose and write and cram it all into the outbox, and VOILAAAAAA!  It sends when I have access again.  Simple, but also smarty pants.
  • Make snacking hard – this is about food, not necessarily productivity.  I don’t keep things that are sort of nasty or easy to snack on in the house – sometimes I’m there most of the day, and between clients, I often rumble over to the fridge like a grumpy grizzly, and then when I find that everything in there requires some sort of work, I return to my desk with a glass of water.  I buy dark, rich-tasting chocolate so I don’t ever want very much of it at a time, and while I used to have a full-ish wine rack all the time, I now make it a special event to go get a bottle to have in the house.
  • Build in distraction rewards – this is a good one.  If I have a project I am trying to focus on, or a big pile of little tasks, I build in a reward system.  Sometimes I have to finish off a few list items before I get to go to a coffee shop to write, sometimes I have to get through 2 hours of designing something before I get to meet a friend for dinner.  You get the idea.  I even use 15 minutes of mindless youtube surfing as a reward for getting through some super yuck tasks like bookkeeping (I am so not a numbers gal.)
  • Keep it short.  I used to craft my emails…thoughtfully choosing words and making it sound all perfect and eloquent.  Now?  I just write what I need to, assume that there might be a typo or two if the handy spell-check thing didn’t catch what I was talking about, and hit SEND.  Done.  I try to keep them snappy and to the point.  You ain’t writin’ love letters here, folks.  Unless you are, then find some time to be sweet and do it right.
  • I try to look at my fingers.  Not all the time, but when I am writing. What a switch, right?  Before I could type withOUT looking at my fingers, I stared at them all the time, now I do it so I am not looking at the screen and am not tempted to Grammar Nazi fix my way through the entire document as I write.  I can fix everything at the end and not be distracted as I go.  I sometimes write a couple thousand words a day, people!  This is how!
  • Keep my inbox as close to zero as I can get.  Sometimes that means there are 100 in there, sometimes, 20.  I take about 10 minutes each day to save attachments (and my CRM system ROCKS for this!) if I haven’t already, delete, delete and delete, file, and complete any stranded drafts that are hangin out there in the wind waiting for me to finish with them.  Related: UNSUBSCRIBE.  When, exactly, did I think I was going to have time to read all the stuff that lands in my inbox?

So that’s it.  For now, anyway.  Maybe I will discover more things as I go.  And now that I have cruised through some of the to-do list, it is time for a reward: dog walk with His Poochiness and then a well-deserved nap.

What are your tricks and tips for being productive?  Is there an app you just can’t live without?  Share it!

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