Title: The Productivity Project
Author: Chris Bailey
Published: January 5th, 2016
When you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while, the first thing they ask you is “How have you been?”, which is generally followed by the response of “Good, but busy!”. Why is it that some people are able to accomplish more in a day when we are all given the same 24 hours to complete the things we need to get done? This was one of the questions that stumped Chris Bailey when he started his year long experiment on becoming more productive. With the help of Chris Bailey’s book and his selfless ability to use himself as a guinea pig, I have compiled a list of Chris Bailey’s top ten ways of becoming more productive.
1. The Prime Time Challenge
Determine a point in the day when you feel the most energized and block that time out of your calendar to get the most challenging tasks completed. If you are unsure of when you are most productive, Chris Bailey suggests tracking your energy levels hourly for one week to determine when you are at your best and worst in terms of energy. He also suggests keeping track of how you are spending your time to see where it is you are being most productive and how you can reduce the amount of time you spend procrastinating.
2. The Rule of Three
We have all heard of the famous to-do list which some of us like myself love, and others would rather live without. However, Bailey has taken it to the next level. He suggests that you determine three main tasks you want to accomplish every day, as well as three tasks that you want to accomplish weekly. When you pinpoint the important things you want to get done and focus on completing them first, your success rate along with your productivity will skyrocket.
3. Reduce Procrastination by Procrastinating
We have all had those moments when you don’t want to start a difficult task or simply aren’t in the mood to do something regardless of what it is. In order to overcome this, Chris Bailey suggests making a list of small tasks that need to be done around the house in order to be able to complete a number of smaller tasks that will motivate you to start the bigger more daunting task. The list of smaller tasks can be anything from making your bed, to watering your plants, or trimming your nails. As long as you are doing something that will help you in the long run, you future self will thank you.
4. Just Do It!
As Nike says “Just Do It!”. Sometimes getting started it harder that actually completing the task. Chris suggests setting the timer for 15 minutes and seeing how much you can complete. Chances are that once you get started you won’t want to stop. It’s funny how starting can sometimes be the most challenging part.
5. The Disconnecting Challenge
In this day and age, we are all glued to our phones, but when we are checking social media all day long, personally I’m not being very productive… In The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey suggests that you try disconnecting from your phone for 1 hour every day. Once you have accomplished that, you can go the extra mile and try to only use your phone for 1 hour per day. Personally, I have had some trouble with this one. Another tip I found helpful was to shut off your notifications for social media. That way you can check social media when you feel like it, as opposed to checking it every time you get an alert. It is also important to try and shut off electronics about an hour before you hit the hay to ensure that your body isn’t affected by the blue light coming from your screen and allows you to have a more restful sleep.
6. Schedule a Maintenance Day
Instead of doing laundry one day, cleaning the kitchen another, and vacuuming the carpets the day after, Chris suggests scheduling a day each week to accomplish all of the maintenance tasks that need to be completed. For me, I like to do all of my chores on Saturday. I get up early do laundry, clean my room while I wait to switch the laundry, vacuum, wipe down my counter and organize my desk. It does take a few hours when all is said and done, but in the long run, it is more productive to do all of those tasks as quickly as possible instead of each day throughout the week.
7. Brain Dumps
Chris Bailey suggests that you should spend 15 minutes per day writing down everything that is swimming around in your head. This seems to contradict his Rule of Three however it is an easy way to get ever distracting thought from your brain neatly onto a piece of paper to be organized when convenient. I am a fan of the brain dump, and I also like to carry around a notebook and pen with me at all times in case an idea or important task hits me.
8. Loose the Need for Multitasking
Although you may think that taking on the phone while making coffee and reading a book will allow you to accomplish more tasks in a less amount of time, it turns out that your brain can only effectively focus on one task at a time. Instead of accomplishing three tasks at once as you may think you are doing, your brain is actually jumping from one task to another causing your brain to be pulled in three directions at once. Instead, try to do each task separately (aka single-tasking) and notice that you will be more aware of what you are doing, and will likely accomplish the tasks more quickly, and with a higher level of quality.
9. Take a Break
What!? HOW can you be productive if you’re taking a break? I know the idea seems unheard of in this non-stop world of work, however, it is important to reward yourself after you have accomplished something important. Chris Bailey suggests taking a 15-minute break after working for 50 minutes straight. So, have a break, you deserve it!
Meditation has been around since the beginning of time and has been gaining popularity in recent years. Not only is meditation a way to clear your mind, but it has been proven to reduce stress, help with heart problems, and aid in digestion. It you’re not convinced yet, would you believe me that lots of people meditate; people like Ellen DeGeneres, Kobe Bryant, Paul McCartney, and Jennifer Aniston to name a few? All I can say is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Overall, I would give this novel 3.5 out of 5 tea mugs.
And that is it for this review, let me know what you thought in the comments; I would love to know!
Until next time,