The To-Do Productivity Lifehack

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At Affiliate Summit West 2014, I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel with several of my longtime industry peers. Shannon Weidemann of Marketingelf, Deb Carney of Team Loxly, Scott Jangro of Shareist and I have each been working from a home office for an extended period of time and our session was the chance for attendees to ask us questions about making the transition themselves or how we had tackled certain hurdles.

We answered a lot of questions about motivation and productivity, and then someone asked me to talk about one of my most favorite lifehacks that I had mentioned in a previous talk at Affiliate Summit East 2013.

Photo courtesy of Affiliate Summit

Back in 2012, I was struggling with my own productivity. I had hit what I would call a plateau with my then project management software…managing the software had started to take up far too much of my time. Time I could have been working more. Billable time. It was incredibly frustrating and I was having a hard time finding a better solution. Then I received a very timely email from AppSumo’s Neville Medhora with an absolutely brilliant lifehack.

It consists of a pen and a legal pad. That’s it.

Seriously, it’s just that easy and for me, it’s been a complete gamechanger. Watch his explanation video below and give it a try yourself.

I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll skip a day here and there (no one’s perfect after all!) and I did make a slight modification to Neville’s method to make it work better for me. In the section where he lists hours of work, I put down the actual hours. If I start my day at 8am, then that’s the first section in my right hand column and each line is a 30 minute chunk. By changing this one thing, I was able to see that right around 11am is the time where I tended to derail productivity-wise. Social media became very interesting, or something in the day’s news, or I’d let a Skype chat pull me away from work, or an industry related post would catch my eye and suddenly it was noon. Tracking my own distraction (and being brutally honest with myself about it) made it easier for me to change up my schedule and keep my productivity high. This doesn’t mean that I’ve cut myself off from social media or industry interaction. It does however mean that I do it on my own terms and my own schedule.

After all, if I spent two hours every day on Facebook, over the course of a year that works out to 730 hours. This is more than 30 FULL DAYS, around the clock. I can definitely think of things I’d rather do for a month every year, can’t you?

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