Learn how to be more productive by doing less with Paula Rizzo (author of Listful Living)!
The more I write about productivity, the more I realize that good time management isn’t about rushing around trying to get everything done.
It’s true: When it comes to productivity, less is more.
That also goes for your to-do list. Disorganization is often a result of misguided attempts at efficiency. I made this mistake when I first launched my business as an author, speaker and media trainer after being a television producer for almost 20 years.
With no commute and no hours set by other people, I thought I’d get so much more done because I could work whenever I wanted to and at home. But it turned out that trying to cram as much into my day made me way less productive.
Instead, you have to be strategic about what you can get done with the time and resources you have.
When you’re working from home (and maybe even trying to manage your kid’s school schedule too), you need to set realistic goals. More is not more!
When it comes to my goals, I value quality, not quantity. You probably do, too. But how can you make that happen?
It starts with cutting out the time-sucking activities you may not even realize are dragging you down. (I talk about setting boundaries in my new LinkedIn Learning course as well “How to Set Boundaries & Protect Your Time”) .
Have you ever heard of “decision fatigue“? The more decisions we make, the less likely we are to make good decisions. So minimize your options and make decisions easier. Keep only the things in your life that spark joy—as Marie Kondo says. Create a weekly meal plan to lighten your load of daily decisions. Have a list of go-to restaurants for ordering in takeout if you don’t have the energy to cook (or for going out in person, when it’s safe!). The devil is in the details.
I used to think I was a great multitasker. Then I learned there’s no such thing! It’s possible to juggle a lot of projects at the same time, but not to give your full attention to more than one thing. When you multitask, your attention is scattered.
It can be dangerous, too. How many times have you walked or driven to a destination, only to realize you don’t even remember how you got there because your brain was on autopilot? Focus on one thing at a time. I sometimes have to remind myself over and over of the one task I’ve committed to, but it gets easier.
I’ve spoken at a few productivity events and I’ve noticed that the one thing that seems to be creeping into all of our lives at the moment is clutter. And I’m not just talking about physical clutter, although there’s plenty of that. But also I find that many of us are plagued by mental clutter. One big one for me was email — I was checking my email all the time and it was taking up way too much space in my brain. After getting to Inbox Zero, I’ve completely changed my email philosophy (here’s how you can do the same).
We’re taking on more and more, and running on less and less. For me, the past year of the pandemic has been about slowing down and being more mindful about what I say yes to. I know a lot of people feel guilty about saying no to meetings or events, whether it’s another Zoom happy hour or a virtual conference. But you can’t do everything — you’ll just spread yourself too thin. Part of being your best self is recognizing when you need a break.
To help me clear out the clutter in my life, I’ve started writing “just enough” lists. You write down only the things you have to do that day, so when it’s over, you feel like you’ve done just enough. These lists can be really helpful in times of stress or when you feel overworked.
A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You
A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula Rizzo produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Rizzo brings her experience to this new project. Readers will learn their stress style and strategies for shaping their days in more productive ways. With self-assessments and exercises, this guide will bring readers to better patterns and better, more organized lives.