Over at CBS MoneyWatch this week, I’ve been returning to some classic productivity advice (with one wild card thrown in).
The most read post? “The little mistake that kills your productivity.” As with “What the most successful people do before breakfast,” I now know that is an incredibly click-able title. “Little” implies that it won’t be hard to remedy. It’s practical — just like anything you do before breakfast is, by definition, limited in scope. “Mistake” and “kills” hits at that center of the brain that suffers from loss aversion. What is it that I’m doing that’s screwing my life up??? The reader wants to know. And so she clicks. And when she does, she discovers that the mistake is scheduling low-priority work or other distractions for your most productive times. I know that I can focus well in the mornings. I have a long stretch of time when I can just crank things out or plow through an editing project. Yet all of a sudden, three of my five weekday mornings are no longer guaranteed to be free. So I’m working on remedying that now, especially in the month heading toward book launch.
I also wrote that “Beta-testing isn’t just for software.” Long-time readers of this blog know that I “beta-tested” my book. I gave an early draft to dozens of test readers. Their feedback was incredibly valuable. I wound up re-writing whole chapters based on it, and cut paragraphs where people’s attention wandered. Just because you think something is done doesn’t mean it’s done until some users get to kick the tires for a while.
Finally, a classic list: “9 tasks to ax from your to-do list.” People like numbers! These nine tasks are things that people spend a lot of time on — like filing their emails — that I think don’t deserve such an investment of minutes. What tasks have you cut from your to-do list in the interest of being more effective, overall?
Please go have a look, a read and a share. Comments are appreciated, too. My traffic is slowly creeping back up from the whole BNET switchover, but it is taking time. Thanks for sticking with me.