Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

15 Priceless Productivity Tips for Procrastinators

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What a paradox that to write about productivity for those who always postpone things, I am procrastinating myself while scrolling productivity and business tips on Twitter. The problem is that I shouldn’t focus on productivity to be productive. Instead, I should focus on my goals. And develop effective habits.

The trick is just to start doing what you planned. And so I started, and in this article, I will give you a glimpse of those habits that you should develop to live a more thriving and meaningful life.

Know your WHY’s

Always be aware of why you are doing what you are doing. You will always have very little motivation if your reasons are vague.

Do you work just for survival? Or for financial stability? Or for recognition? Or for impact? Or for self-expression? 

Finish what you started

Decide in advance which of your projects are to be finished and which of them are just experiments.

Don’t start working on new projects until the old ones are completed. Learn the habit of getting things done.

Focus on your strengths

Nobody is perfect. Everyone has their flaws. As well as their strengths. 

Don’t be sorry about what you can’t do. Identify what you can do best, and make that even better. 

Ask others for help when it’s too hard to handle yourself or takes too much time.

Start now with what you have

Perfect conditions will never exist. So you have to start doing what you want or need to do now. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. But now.

Start ideating, prioritizing, and planning. Take the first steps. Even if that’s for 20 minutes. The goal is to build productive habits.

Create TODO lists

Have three TODO lists: “Must do,” “Should do,” and “Want to do.” Execute tasks from those lists according to your priorities and energy levels.

Don’t waste your time on “wants” if your “musts” are not done yet.

Break big tasks into smaller chunks

Sometimes your tasks are so huge that you just get overwhelmed and perplexed. Where should you start? How can you plan and estimate?

The trick here is to split the big task into smaller ones and evaluate them separately.

Find your prime biological time

Identify your most productive time of day. Maybe it’s your mornings, maybe afternoons, or maybe nights.

It’s your Power Hours that you should use for the most critical or creative work.

Schedule daily work time in blocks

Split your days into segments and dedicate those segments to different types of work. For example, 13:30 – 15:00 is for writing and replying to emails.

Do only one thing at a time. Don’t switch contexts. You will be more productive, focussing on only one type of work at a time.

Gamify your work

Try not to break a chain by working on something for a regular time daily. For example, building something for 1 hour every day.

Or, if you have some tedious tasks to do, decide on some point system to reward yourself for a certain amount of completed tasks.

Choose peace, not conflict

When communicating, aim to be calm, understanding, and harmonious. Unnecessary conflicts just drain your energy and make you less than productive.

Usually, complicated people are so because of their difficult pasts. So be aware of that, and it will help you be more peaceful.

Have an accountability partner

Struggling on your dreams alone might be difficult. There are a million reasons not to do something you wish to have done. The tiredness after the primary job, wishing to spend time with your friends or family, exciting TV show, or a new series on Netflix.

Don’t make excuses, and have a friend to talk with about your progress. This will make you more inspired and accountable against that person.

Control your devices

Don’t fall into the trap of digital devices. Instead, make smartphones, computers, and TV work for you, not control you.

Switch off most notifications not to distract you. Then, when you need more focus, go to Airplane mode.

Install apps that let you prioritize, plan your time, focus better.

Focus on the 20% most important tasks

The Pareto principle says that by doing just 20% of the most critical tasks, you can achieve 80% of the impact.

Identify which tasks make this 20% of your lists and focus on them.

Work hard on your mindset

Life is as finite and fatal as you define it. You can have a fixed mindset, thinking that you have developed during your childhood and youth, and nothing can be changed afterward.

Or you can be in a growth mindset thinking that you can continuously develop yourself, survive mistakes and learn from them, and work on life-changing projects.

Hold yourself accountable – drive your own life

Don’t wait for someone else to fix your life and make your dreams come true. Be the driver of your own life.

Design your life, take action, and go forward!

Invitation

There is more to that. If you learned something new and want to dive deeper, check these concise productivity tips I recently published. There are many more tips there (80 to be exact) for your goal setting, motivation, self-awareness, priorities, planning, efficiency, and growth.


Cover photo by cottonbro

Categories
Life Self-awareness

What Was Your Name Again?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether your first name is James, Mary, or X Æ A-Xii, your name not only identifies you but also shapes your character and influences how other people will accept you. With the wrong name, you could have problems with being accepted by the society you are living in. With the wrong name, you can have difficulties getting a partner or job you want. With the wrong name, you can have a weight of associations that people bring to it. When you are about to have a baby, don’t give them the wrong name.

Our story

My wife and I are from Lithuania, and we are living in Berlin, Germany. Before the births of our kids, we did some name researches to find names that would be well accepted in Germany as well as being Lithuanian. I wouldn’t be a programmer if I wouldn’t take 500 most popular names in Germany and filter them using Python programming language to see the ones with Lithuanian word endings. From that point, we got just a handful of names and intuitively chose the ones that we liked most. I hope that Joris and Laura will enjoy the names they got at birth and will live integral and successful lives.

If we didn’t trust our intuition, we could have used the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to analyze a few names by multiple aspects. Let’s see how we could have done that.

Using the prioritizer

At 1st things 1st, you can evaluate anything (like first names) by multiple criteria (like aspects) and get calculated priorities. The workflow looks like this:

  1. You define your criteria or aspects.
  2. You list out your things, like first names.
  3. You evaluate each name by each aspect.
  4. You explore the prioritized first names.

Step 1. Define your aspects

Let’s brainstorm for some aspects that we can use to evaluate first names:

  • Both parents like it
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Sounds good together with the last name
  • Doesn’t have negative associations
  • Has a nice meaning
  • Unique
  • Traditional
  • Globally recognized
  • Authentic in your native country
  • Ethnically appropriate
  • Doesn’t prompt negative nicknames
  • Doesn’t sound foolish for a middle-aged person
  • Some relative has it
  • A person you admire has it
  • A favorite book or movie character has it

I will choose the ones that are most important to me and enter into the prioritizer.

Both parents like it
Easy to pronounce
Easy to spell
Globally recognized
Doesn't sound foolish for a middle aged person
Bulk-add all the aspects into the prioritizer

Here they are all added to the tool:

Essential aspects for prioritizing first names added to 1st things 1st

Step 2. List out the first names

Now let’s list some first names that you thought could be good candidates, let’s say, for a daughter:

  • Lina
  • Laura
  • Ada
  • Lara
  • Emma
Several female first names listed for evaluation

Step 3. Evaluate each name by each aspect

Then I go through the list of aspects and names and rate how each name matches each aspect.

Evaluating first names by 5 most essential aspects

Step 4. Explore the prioritized names

In the last step, I get all first names prioritized by how much they match all the aspects. “Laura” is in the first position with a 100% match. Other names got fewer points, so they are less recommended to choose. 

Last thoughts

If people call you by another name already or you want to start a new chapter in your life, you can still officially change your first name in some countries. But if you care about your kids’ well being, choose their names wisely as soon as they come into this world.

Other interesting reads


Cover photo by Yoann Boyer

Categories
Life

How to Prioritize Your Necessities Today and Stay Healthy Tomorrow

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last weeks have been stressful for a lot of us. Just in days, we switched from skepticism, irony, and relaxation to uncertainty, awareness, and caution. We locked ourselves at homes and got anxious about real contacts with any people around. Coronavirus changed our lifestyles a lot. We started communicating online more. Some of us began to work remotely. At last, we learned how to wash our hands properly.

What do we need during home quarantine?

While staying home, we need to have some necessities by our side. What exactly should we purchase to be able to stay home safe and healthy two weeks or even longer? There are many aspects of how we could evaluate the importance of things that we need to get. Some of those follow:

  • Is it something that has no alternatives?
  • Is it not too expensive? You know, the jobs and economy are on the risk now for many of us.
  • Can it stay on our shelves for a long time without expiring too soon?
  • Is it healthy for our bodies?
  • Does that make our lives more comfortable?
  • Is it ecological, vegan, ethical, fairtrade?
  • Is it something that we don’t have yet?

When there are so many perspectives, how can we make the right decision on what to buy, so that we don’t end up only with the piles of toilet paper? We are going to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to evaluate a list of necessities by multiple criteria. There is even a project template for that.

⚙️ Project setup

Start a new project. From the project templates, choose “Necessities While in Quarantine”.

Choose a project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the most important questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating things by criteria. You can change that to evaluating necessities by aspects, or anything else.

Change how you name the things

3. Choose some or all criteria from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more criteria as free text later. 

Choose initial criteria

4. Choose some or all things from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more necessities as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is choices from “definitely not” to “definitely” (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria and their importance:

  • Irreplaceable with the importance of 100% because we definitely need something that has no alternatives.
  • Affordable with the importance of 100% because the state of our jobs is unclear, and we have to save money.
  • Long lasting with the importance of 80% because we can order food online in case of running out of some necessities.
  • Healthy with the importance of 100% because we can’t properly function if we don’t care what we consume.
  • Comfortable with the importance of 50% because we can allow ourselves to live less comfortably in such critical times.
  • Ethical/Fairtrade with the importance of 70% because other criteria are more relevant to us when it’s a question of life.
  • Vegan with the importance of 70% because I am not vegan anyway.

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit things

In the next step you will see the list of our chosen things where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup I chose these things:

  • Wifi because I need to work from home.
  • Drinking water because I drink a lot of tea and sometimes coffee.
  • Breads because we like sandwiches for breakfast.
  • Rice because it’s a food that can stay on the shelf for a long time.
  • Pasta because I love having Italian dishes from time to time.
  • Fruit because we need vitamins.
  • Cheese because sandwiches include something more than just bread.
  • Avocados don’t ask me why.
  • etc.

And also, I need some toddler supplies for my little son and some caffeinated drinks to stay awake and productive every day. So I am bulk-adding these things to the list:

  • Milk
  • Diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Club-Mate
  • Coca Cola
Add more things

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate things by criteria

Now evaluate all things by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. We see that fruit is probably not long-lasting, but definitely healthy. Rice is probably fairtrade, and cheese is definitely not vegan. Some things will be objective (like drinking water is definitely healthy), and some will be subjective (like cheese is probably affordable to you).

Evaluate each thing by each criterion

📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted things grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.

My most essential things are electricity and wifi (I should not forget to pay the bills), drinking water, and stuff from the drugstore like hand sanitizer, shampoo, diapers, soap, toilet paper, trash bags, etc. The most questionable thing is cheese (I could live without it).

Analyze your priorities and take action

Final words

After prioritizing your necessities, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, grab a couple of tote bags, and go to the supermarket.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at my 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Şahin Yeşilyaprak.