Today’s guest post is from Ray Edwards. This is the kind of thing I really need to hear, since my focus and productivity levels seem to be roughly equivalent to the level of H20 in my town of Shallowater. The original post can be found here, but I have included it in it’s entirety for you.
I took the last few days to contemplate what worked for me, in terms of productivity, over the past year – and what did not work. The result: a new plan for improved productivity in 2013. While you may not wish to duplicate my plan point-for-point, I thought you might find it useful to see my “working blueprint”. Maybe it will serve as a springboard for your own fresh new productivity tweaks.
I looked at a number of productivity programs and approaches, many of which I have used in the past. After careful consideration, I still can’t find another system that works as well as Getting Things Done. While I find great ideas in the Franklin Covey approach, among others, GTD makes the most sense for me. If you are not familiar with the GTD philosophy, I encourage you to read David Allen’s seminal work on stress-free productivity. A great augmentation to the GTD material is one of my favorite new podcasts and websites, Erik Fisher’s “Beyond the To-Do List”.
In keeping with my adherence to GTD, my planning is fairly simple. I have a weekly review session on Fridays, during which I collect all the inputs that have accumulated over the past week, and one by one clear them from my inbox. For each item I decide whether to do it, delegate it, or delete it. Simple, but not always easy. In 2012, I reached the mythical “inbox zero” only about 50% of the time. My goal for the new year is to reach inbox zero 80% of the weeks in the year.
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have never been great at tracking my activities. I am resolved to change that in 2013. In the realm of fitness, I have hired a personal trainer, and invested in a FitBit (this little device tracks my physical activity throughout the day). For business activities, I am developing a dashboard for my company in Excel to keep track of key metrics. For productivity purposes, I have reinstalled RescueTime, to help me evaluate how I’m spending my time on the computer. I am resolved to reduce my computer time in the new year significantly.