HOW TO: Be More Productive Than Ever

Lately, I’ve been going through a lot of stressful stuff. I have so many things to do and it seems not quite enough time to do them. I’ve had to remind myself to take a step back and return to the basics.

Stress does funny things to our productivity. It’s really easy when you’re stressed to just sit and do nothing, totally overwhelmed. If you’re more like me when you’re stressed, it’s really easy to run around trying to do a little bit of everything and then nothing gets fully done. Neither of these is a good option.

This is my number one way to find my way back to productivity. I have a small whiteboard where I write a to-do list of four things. These are the only four things that HAVE to get done that day. No matter what, these things must be finished (with the rare exception of an emergency, of course.) These to-do list items can be as big as “make 20 cold-calls” or as small as “do one load of laundry.”

My to-do list at work

My to-do list at work

Rather than staring blankly at your massive list of 100 to-do’s, picking only four items will help you focus and make you feel 20x lighter. It’s much more doable, albeit sometimes a healthy stretch to accomplish depending on what you have chosen as your list of four.

I actually have two of these lists – one at work and one at home. This means that I finish eight tasks a day. Eight things that I no longer have to stress over! Eight less worries! In a work week, that's 40 less items on my plate.