Monday, September 9, 2013

Fire Breathing Toaster: Increase Your Productivity Simply, Painlessly

by Bill Adler

I’m not a productivity maven. I don’t seek out the latest and most innovative methods for squeezing every ounce of work out of the day. I don’t mind map; I don’t multitask. I’m the kind of person who’ll say to himself, “Just one more blog and then I’ll get back to work.”

And yet I’ve uncovered and like a simple, painless and almost enjoyable way to squeeze a little more productivity out of my day, and it goes like this: Do something useful first thing in the morning. That’s if you ordinarily do something useless like checking Facebook. And then checking it again.

Instead of doing that, try this: Write something. Study something. Review something. Facebook can wait. Reading blogs can wait. Doing the crossword can wait, as can making your next move in online Scrabble.

Those things can wait. Nothing bad will happen. Instead of catching up on status updates that you won’t remember in 15 minutes, spend 15 minutes creating something. In other words, replace those wasted 15 minutes with 15 productive minutes. You’ll find that these will be among the most productive minutes of your day. Your brain won’t be cluttered with extraneous gossip, and you can focus.

Believe me, 15 minutes of thinking, creating, studying, is far easier than the other thing you thought about doing first thing: exercise. (I admire people who can pop out bed, put on running shoes and hit the trail before morning coffee.)

You may find that that first 15 minutes mental workout yields more than 30 minutes midday. It’s a good feeling, too, to get something done at the start of the day. It sets a fine tone for the rest of the day.


Bill Adler is a writer. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets,", "Outwitting Squirrels,", and a mess of other books. He tweets at @billadler. Fire Breathing Toaster is published on Mondays.

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