On being productive
Being productive has a goal in itself; making sure
that you, after a not too long day of work feel you
really have accomplished something. These
guidelines will help you with getting that feeling.
Apart from that, 56,3% of all helpful advice on
Linkedin can be summarized with: “If you
experience issues with X, you will ﬁnd out that if you
spend more time on solutions for X, the issues will
go away” Duhuh!
The problem for most of us is not that we don’t know
what we need to do, but that we don’t know how to
ﬁnd the time to do it. Therefore these 7 helpful
Have a couple of big goals
• In order to know what is important and what is less so,
make sure you have a couple of big goals
• Stuff that helps you achieve those big goals is important,
stuff that doesn’t isn’t. It really is that simple
• Big goals do not by deﬁnition have to be business goals
• To have a feeling of accomplishment, you need to have
small action-focussed-steps you can do in one day.
• Actions on your list should start with a verb. Like:
• start your action list with verbs. Feel the difference?
• Have one ‘system’; paper folder, application, anything
will do, where you jot down the things you should do
somewhere in the future
• minimize doing tasks ‘right now’. First they go in your
system, there they get sorted and then they get done
Distractions• Avoid distractions, avoid news, avoid e-mail. Avoid all ‘reports’
that start with a number (“5 ways to etc. etc.)
• Say again?! Avoid e-mail? Yup, that’s right. Do not start your day
with e-mail, do not start your day with Twitter, do not start your
day with LinkedIN, do not start your day with a newspaper, even if
it is the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
• You start your day with a plan and a small list. That list is either
from a system (like Omnifocus), or it is written down on a paper.
• See how quickly you where inclined to click on one of the links?
Even on the German one while you don’t speak German at all?
Being behind a screen is dangerous because distraction is just
one click away. Therefore we turn to….paper!
How to create a paper TTD list
1. Take a Post-it size of a Quarter page (5.25”W X 2,25”H)
2. Place it in a vertical position in front of you
3. Write down the ﬁrst thing that ﬁts one of the big plans in the middle
4. The next thing that pops in mind (or you pick from a bigger ‘Things-To-
Do system’) is written above this ﬁrst action if:
•it is boring
•it is more urgent
•it was on the list yesterday
5. Likewise, put the next task under the middle task if:
•you like doing it
•it is less urgent
•you need to do it, but doesn’t ﬁt in your big plans
6. Not less than 4 items, not more than 9
There you go! You have just created the excellent Things-To-Do list for
• Don’t do anything else apart from what is in your TTD list. So,
when you are done, you are done for the day and that’s good.
How else are you ever going to experience spare time?
• Don’t multi-task (only 3 out of 1.000 women really can and
men can’t anyway)
• Quit applications you are not using, so they can’t bug you
• Switch off your Wiﬁ connection at least one hour per work-
day in total…communicating cannot be your only job
• Perfection doesn’t equal excellence
• Very, very often good is good enough
• And remember; people are excellent in creating the right list
for achieving their goals, even their big goals. Unfortunately
they are even more excellent in diverting from that list…
Who is writing?