3 Productivity Ideas that Just Don’t Work

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For many years we were raised to think that hard work alone is the way to make it. I’ve boasted several times about how I have 16 hour work days to make my small web design business work.

Then I understood that just working hard is not the answer.

I needed to start working smart, accomplish more in an hour, do the tasks that matter the most, hence become more productive.

As you can guess I tried all kinds of techniques, some have worked great (The Eisenhower Decision Matrix or the Pomodoro Technique), but others prevented me from actually becoming productive.

Here are three productivity ideas that didn’t work for me

Over-scheduling

I’m the queen of planning. I love to list my tasks, come up with new ones, plan for the future etc.

This way I used to come up with tens of tasks to be handled, with daily task lists longer than this article.

Do you think this helped me?

Well, not really.

I’d be able to finish few tasks and that nothing. Tens of due tasks, my ever-growing list growing even more. Stress and that ugly feeling of  not being to accomplish my goals.

Now I keep my daily tasks list simple – not more than 3 items. I can do them most of the time and, if a task is too big, I can resume tomorrow and not get tens of new due tasks in the meantime.

Install yet another productivity tool

I’ve always been computer savvy and loved new software that would make my life easier. Now there are also many web-based applications that are supposed to help with time management, task scheduling, team and project management.

As you can guess I tried many of them and ended up having way too many installed. I’d have an Asana account, Trello, Basecam or Freedcamp, 2-3 programs installed on my PC, plus an excel with my network, few .docs with article ideas and so on.

It’s close to impossible to keep a handle on all these and I realized I’m actually wasting a lot of time filling in all the data to schedule my work, tracking my progress through all the accounts and possible software.

Right now I opted to keep my Asana account (especially if I do team work) and that’s it. A master excel with my network and its progress and a simple mindmap software (FreeMap) to branch out content ideas based on my sites and topics.

It’s looking easier to manage all the things I have to care about and my productivity started to increase once again.

Wasting money on a new computer

Computers tend to get slower over time. It’s normal, as you start using your new computer, you start installing all kinds of software (yes, even those useless productivity programs we already discussed about), your browser cache grows exponentially, there’s an anti-virus program in the background and others that are slowing down your computer.

The best thing to do is to constantly prune unused software, keep your browser cache small and even re-install the operating system when it starts slowing down too much.

There’s no need to waste money on new computers every few months, you can use one for years (my current record is 6 years with my first laptop). I usually plan on using a laptop for at least 2-3 years to make the most out of it. Of course, if it functions well afterwards, then I’ll keep it until it breaks.

Would you add any other productivity busters you tried to make you more productive?

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