I started a new productivity routine lately that’s working very well for me – and I thought I might share it with the world :-). It’s a simple three-step process. First, every morning, I write a list of the things I want to get done during the day on a new page in a journal. I try to frame these things as activities rather than results – sometimes adding a time limit, e.g. 30 minutes of writing business plan, or writing xx story. This may seem counter-intuitive, but I found that focusing on the goal can freeze me, or cause me to spend way too long on a task, trying to reach a level of perfection beyond what’s required. Conversely, focusing on the process relaxes my brain considerably, and leads to better results in shorter timeframes.  Then I prioritise these activities, labelling each 1, 2 or 3. I work different jobs, PhD research, running a non-profit, personal writing, and incidental other tasks, and I try to balance these components of my professional life – in particular, I make sure at least one writing activity gets priority 1. This, again, has a relaxing effect: it allows me to give myself a large number of tasks for the day – visualising high productivity – but eases the pressure to get everything done, and more, to perfection. I’m only strictly accountable to priority 1. Finally, during the day, I check up on my task list – tick what I’ve done, half-tick what I touched on. Before lunch and again at 2pm, i refocus and, if I haven’t attended to them yet, ensure I complete at least my priority 1 tasks. This is particularly valuable for my writing: now I no longer find myself tired, at the end of the day, feeling sorry that, yet again, I got caught up in things and didn’t take the time to progress a story or edit a blog post.  Let’s see whether this keeps working over time – for now, I love it and strongly recommend!

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