It has been said for many years that if the first thing you do eachmorning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with thesatisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that isgoing to happen to you all day long.
-Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!
For most people January is a month for organizing, goal-setting, and looking forward. Here at Subsplash we’re doing the same and thought we’d share some of our tips.
Most of us have way too much to do, so we often approach our tasks randomly. We tackle the tasks directly in front of us, such as the relatively less important emails cluttering our inbox. Completing low-priority tasks can make us feel productive, but may actually take time away from our most important projects.
Identify your most important project, or your frog, everyday. This is the most important task for the day and the one you’re likely to put off. In his book Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy recommends “eating your frog” as soon as possible to ensure this task is completed. Tracy explains, “Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single mindedly until those tasks are complete.”
Make a to-do
Now that you've prioritized and identified the most important task, make a to-do list that includes everything you need to get done. My to-do list consists of four categories: today, this week, later, and way later. Today includes my frog and any other top-priority tasks. This week and later include lower-priority tasks, and way later includes some long-term projects or ideas I would like to pursue in the future. As the week goes on, tasks from this week get moved to today.
Stick to it!
Your to-do list is worthless if you don’t stick to it. Don’t let smaller or less important tasks distract or prevent you from completing everything on your list. Completing more enjoyable or easier tasks can make us feel productive but decrease overall effectiveness.
I receive upwards of 100 emails per day, and I’ve found that if I respond to each email the minute it arrives I waste a lot of time and it breaks my concentration. Set aside some time each hour or two to check your email and reply to them all at once rather than flitting back and forth. Make sure that small projects don’t prevent you from eating your frog!
Get the right tools
One of our favorite productivity tools here at Subsplash is Evernote. We can organize images, notes, and lists in notebooks, which are searchable and sharable. I use Evernote for to-do lists, email templates, and miscellaneous information. Evernote is an easy way to organize a lot of information, and you can access Evernote on your computer, through a web browser, and on your phone.
Probably my favorite time-saving tool is Text Expander, an incredible application that allows you to save commonly used text snippets. I use Text Expander for email templates, explanations of features, and frequently used questions. All that typing adds up!
Here’s to a productive year! How do you save time or increase productivity?