Peak Productivity while Project Managing Your Life

Paul FennerLifestyle

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I have always been very interested in the field of personal productivity.  Trying to balance a business, my wife’s full-time career, and four kids under 5 can be beyond challenging.  A go-to person that I read regularly and often shares his ideas and articles is Eric from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.  Eric is a writer/journalist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, and Time Magazine.

Its no coincidence that Eric’s article, The Morning Routine Experts Recommend For Peak Productivity centers on starting the day early before the world rest of the world gets up.  Most of the studies and articles that I have read on personal productivity typically point to starting a routine early in the morning which allows you to focus on what it is that you really want to accomplish.

Eric’s full article is definitely worth the read but I really like his writing style in which he always puts together a very good summary at the end of each of his pieces.  Below is the summary from his productivity article.

  • Stop reacting. Get up before the world starts making demands so you can figure out what’s important to you.
  • Decide what matters today. You won’t get everything done, so what will move the needle? What will let you end the day feeling like you accomplished something? No more than 3 goals.
  • Use your “magic hours” for those three things. Your peak productivity time is probably an hour or two after you wake up. If you know your best hours are at another time, fine. Protect your “magic hours.”
  • Have a starting ritual. Go to the place where you get stuff done. Get your coffee. Anything that tells your brain it’s time to rock.
  • When things go sideways, use “positive procrastination.” If you can’t tackle the super scary thing, do the pretty scary thing. Designating a super scary thing in advance as a decoy can make that pretty scary thing much easier.

I also came across an interesting HBR piece that discusses how to Project Manage Your Life.  That may seem like an extreme title but author Dana Rousmaniere interviewed Frank Saucier, executive and Agile coach at FreeStanding Agility, about how he applies these methods in his home life.

Saucier stresses the use of visual management tools such as boards which can cover both daily and weekly planning as well as an experiment he has been trying utilizing his desktop back to organize material into the following categories;

  • To Read
  • Reading
  • Use
  • Reference
  • Keep

As with most personal productivity attempts, it will likely require patience and a lot of try and fail experiments until you find something that works for you personally.

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