Being productive is uber cool

What does “going #2”, clipping your finger nails, and blogging have in common? Well, when you knock these three tasks out all at the same time (like I did last night) you can proudly call yourself productive.  And in case you didn’t know, productivity is as cool as a cucumber…

Here are 5 ways I try and maximize my efficiency throughout the day…

1) Keep my crap clean

One thing I noticed in college is I tend to adapt to my living environment. I had a messy roommate my sophomore year. As a result, I became messy. What was the point of keeping my desk clean, if the rest of our dorm room looked like a hurricane zone? Thankfully, Girl Ninja is a little OCD on the cleanliness factor (I think she’s addicted to the smell of cleaning chemicals). This means my work space is clean whether I keep it that way or not. With a tidy office situation, I can quickly and easily get to all the important documents, materials, and supplies I need while I’m working from home. If your desk space is lookin’ beat up from the feet up, I’d recommend you take 10 minutes or so, and tidy that sucker up.

2) Get rid of crap I don’t need

Have you ever watched the show Hoarders? It was the most disturbing interesting show I’ve seen. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a picture of a hoarder’s home…

Do you see the problem with accumulating stuff that you don’t need? It makes you terribly inefficient. Is it time you go through and purge old documents? Do you need to go through your closet and get rid of the 20 Hawaiian shirts you bought a few years ago, but realized are the opposite of cool? Do you have a garage or storage unit full of stuff? If so, it’s probably time you do a little spring, or in this case, winter cleaning.

3) Take breaks

Do you remember the good ol college days pulling all nighters and working on a paper for 10 straight hours? Do you also remember how, after about 1.5 hours, your brain just kind of turned to mush? It’s because you have to give yourself breaks. If work gets so crazy I feel myself burning out, I make sure to take 10 minutes to go out and take a quick walk or something. Depending on what state you live in, you might be entitled to a ten or fifteen minute break every couple hours. If your employer doesn’t give you one, it’s time to find a new job 😉

4) Do the hard crap first

I don’t know if this rule is universal or only true for me, but I try and knock out all the hard stuff at the beginning of my work day. I’m eleventy billion times more efficient during the first few hours of work compared to the last few. I try and schedule all of my difficult meetings for before lunch, it makes the rest of the day go by quicker. Maybe it takes you a couple hours to hit your stride? That’s okay too. Whenever you are at your best, try and do the most important work then.

5) Use technology

Technology is a beautiful thing. There are countless ways you can use your computer, phone, and the internet to increase your productivity! Use “rules” in your email settings to block all that unwanted political junk mail from your Uncle Joe. Use outlook to schedule all your meetings and store all your contacts phone numbers/addresses. Use mint to track your finances. Use Google voice to manage your work, cell, and home phone calls. You can literally find some type of software to automate just about every piece of your life. And guess what?! Most of these things are free, you just have to spend a few minutes figuring out how to set them up.

There ya have it, five ways you can increase productivity. What would you add to the list? What tips/tricks do you operate by to ensure maximum efficiency? Are you multi-tasking right now by “working” and reading my blog at the same time? If you are, don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss 🙂

17 thoughts on “Being productive is uber cool

  1. Ninja, I’m disappointed in you. How can you say that hawaiian shirts aren’t cool? Shocking!

    My productivity comes in fits and spurts. Last week I had a very productive morning where I wrote a to do list, prioritised the tasks and proceeded to complete them in priority order. This is something that works well for me, because I find mysef stifled if I’m not sure what to do next, and have too many things to choose from. Writing out a plan makes it clearer for me to see what I have to do, and suddlenly I find it easier to leap in and do it. this is also true for big pieces of work I need to get done. i break them down into smaller tasks first, and then tackle them one at a time.

  2. Multi-tasking, especially as you described above (how lovely a picture you paint of you writing your blog while taking a dump. um, ew?) reminds me of this gem of a podcast from CBC radio’s Wiretap, by a guy named Jonathan Goldstein. I’ll link it, but since it appears you have to buy it from itunes I’ll sum it up as well. Jonathan gets caught up in making the most of every minute and multi-tasking, so a friend brings him down to earth, telling him not to regret anything and to bury past grudges… by hiring a guy named Rap Master Maurice, who writes “revenge raps.” He’ll ring up anyone you want, rap “at” them and put your grudge to rest. Comic genius. Apparently Rap Master Maurice actually exists and will actually do this.. at a cost of only $12! Now that’s a deal if I saw one (Christmas presents, anyone?).

    Anyway, this is the link to the podcast (but check itunes, you can actually get it for free):
    http://www.cbc.ca/wiretap/episode/2009/11/14/26-minutes-30-seconds/

    And to Rap Master Maurice:
    http://www.derekerdman.com/ilovemilkshakes/january2008/besides_i_love_you/rmm/rap_master_maurice.htm

  3. Heh… I’ve blogged from the can before, too. Not sure how you managed to clip your nails at the same time, as I imagine it would be pretty hard to type like that, but whateva. It’s also the only time I get any book reading in via the Kindle iPhone app.

    I love being productive too, and am always looking for efficiencies in the things that I do. Unfortunately, my workspace is a friggin mess, as are all my other spaces – I’m your roommate from college (*gasp!*). I think the only thing that’s going to change that is a woman. It’s certainly not a space issue, even when I had that huge apartment all to myself that an entire family could’ve lived in, it was still a mess.

  4. I find technology=the opposite of productivity for me. I find myself constantly checking facebook, email updates, calendars, etc. I’m more likely to stay on task if I turn my technology OFF. In fact, I prefer a good old paper calendar to an electronic one.
    I do however love mint.com

  5. I love to make lists. I also agree 100% on the clutter-free element making you more productive. I don’t do well in clutter; having stuff all over the place clutters up my mind, and I hate wasting time looking for the stuff I need to get a task done. Hubby doesn’t like a lot of stuff around the house either; we purposely don’t have a lot of surfaces to house knick-nacky things (“dust collectors” as my Mom would call them). I, too, am WAY more productive in the morning and prefer to tackle the crappy jobs first.

    Yesterday, Hubby was laying low with a nasty head cold; grabbed my lengthy list and money, took the car, went running around town doing errands for 3 hours, and I was AMAZED at the amount of stuff I got done. I was exhausted by the time I got home, but I did pat myself on the back for getting everything that I wanted to get done on that list!

  6. Good points. You mentioned taking a break when doing homework… I was the one that would work on my assignment for about 15 minutes and then go play video games for an hour! Haha, somehow I still did well though.

  7. Learn to say No. Sure at first everyone will be a little shocked (esp. if you are a people pleaser), but it is worth it in the end. It helps you stay sane and also prioritize not only your work but also your life.

    Another one is to learn to delegate. When I ran my own company that was hard to do at first. However in the long run it helped me personally and professionally.

  8. Knowing that you were taking a dump while writing your blog made me feel dirty just reading it. Can anyone say TMI? And now I’m off to sanitize my keyboard…

  9. Use the reward system. If there are lazy things you’d like to do like watch football, play video games, etc make sure you get all your productive stuff done first, before rewarding yourself. Dangle the carrot.

  10. My mother in law’s boyfriend is a hoarder. Their place is clean, but it’s just packed to the grill with stuffs. It’s floor to ceiling with dresser, tv, cabinet, and more. They only have little corridors left to walk around in the house and can’t even get fire insurance. The whole place is so dark because no lights can get in, it’s crazy. MIL just can’t put her foot down to get the BF to get rid of stuffs. She threw out tons of stuff when he went to visit family, but when he got back it starts again. jeez…

  11. I am amused at the fact that your stick figure is washing an Indian Tata Indica car 🙂
    I multitask when i am in between software builds at work, which take forever to come out – that is the best time to catch up on some news and PF blogs 🙂

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