Ways to be more productive: Notes from Dr. Travis Bradbury by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” —William Penn

Further to my posts about time management and  “What’s on your Bulletin Board”, while on LinkedIn, I stumbled across a new source of inspiration about productivity that I am now GOING to put on my bulletin board (whenever I get around to it). Dr. Travis Bradbury is an expert in emotional intelligence and, presumably, is a Very Productive Person. I love VPPs. As Douglas Adams said about deadlines, I love the whooshing sound VPPs make as they go by.

And yet, I want to be a VPP myself. I am certain this stems from the fact that I have not yet mastered number 4 on the list (see below). I have come to the horrific realization that my worst fault is a fear of boredom, which leads me to take on all sorts of things that I shouldn’t, although sometimes it also leads me to take on things that are actually important, like filling out paperwork to get Syrian refugees into the country. However, the six things on this list are probably my six top faults, using “fear of boredom” as the single organizing principle:

  1. Never touch things twice: Touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention, you should act on it, delegate it, or delete it.
  2. Eat the frog: Do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on your to-do list first. If you let your frogs sit, you waste your day dreading them. If you eat them right away, then you’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires you.
  3. The tyranny of the urgent: Little things that have to be done right now get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem, as urgent actions often have little impact. The key here is to delete or delegate.
  4. No is a powerful word: Saying no to a new commitment honours your existing commitments, giving you the opportunity to fulfill them successfully and efficiently.
  5. Check e-mail on a schedule: Take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. Set alerts for your most important contacts.
  6. Avoid multitasking: Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Never touching things twice means only touching one thing at a time.

By the way, the frog-eating image comes to us courtesy of Mark Twain who said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” So true. Writers are full of great ideas, aren’t they? Especially about procrastination. Dorothy Parker once said that she missed a deadline because “someone else was using the pencil.”

Another thing you can stick on your bulletin board is a replica of a little present my Dad made for my Grandma. Or perhaps it was the other way around since he was the one with “a lot on his plate” (my favourite platitude from Days of Our Lives, and one that I should use more often in saying NO). Grandma cut out a cardboard circle and wrote “TUIT” on it. When my Dad asked what it was, my Grandma said, “It’s a round tuit of course. You desperately need one.”

So now you know that I come by sarcasm honestly; it is in the DNA, just like procrastination.

See http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/want-to-be-more-productive-never-touch-things-twice-fiff/ for the original article by Dr. Travis Bradbury.

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