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How To Improve Your Productivity With LESS Effort

Mar 25, 2023

Read time: 4 minutes

In this week's email, I will show you the best things you can do to improve your productivity with less effort.

By replicating this process (or implementing similar ideas), you will experience less overwhelm and be more likely to work only on the most important things (at home, at work, or in your business) so you can prioritize more of what matters in your free time.

Unfortunately, most people don't have a solid process for managing their time effectively and therefore approach productivity incorrectly.

Productivity is not about doing more in less time.

Productivity is about systems that force intentional behavior.

Without proper productivity systems, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated become the norm. This is because several challenges arise:

  • Challenge #1: The Hamster Wheel Effect: running at max effort and doing things that feel productive but are actually part of the 80% of things that don't move the needle.
  • Challenge #2: Burnout: juggling too many things at once and reaching emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion.
  • Challenge #3: Context Switching: being distracted continuously by unrelated tasks, social media, notifications, etc., that end up disrupting your creative flow or workflow.
  • Challenge #4: Procrastination: not knowing where to start and delaying everything until the last minute.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building and implementing a better system into your routine.

Here's how I approach productivity:

Step 1: Eliminate

In true minimalist fashion, eliminating things off your plate gives you the space and freedom to focus on the important stuff so you can ultimately get more done.

There have been moments in my life where I've felt extremely overwhelmed simply because I agreed to do more than my time allowed.

For example, favors for others that weren't urgent, meetings or projects that weren't aligned with my top priorities, and other things that I deemed important.

As a result, I felt like I was drowning in to-dos. But the only person I could fault was myself.

If I can impart some wisdom to you today, from my experience, it would be this: learn to say no, so you say yes to what matters.

And for every task or project that does make its way on your calendar, be sure you can answer these questions in confidence:

  • Is this moving me closer to my most important goals?
  • How well does this align with my top priorities (or values)?

Step 2: Simplify

The art of simplification is often overcomplicated.

So to make this easy, simplification usually comes in the form of simpler processes and reduced scope of work.

Let's look at my content production workflow for the best example.

Over the last several years, I've tried various processes and productivity apps to create my content effectively. This video shared my latest attempt when I walked through my process using Notion.

Now I love using Notion to manage my content production. However, I've recently uncovered a few bottlenecks in my process and needed to adjust.

After experimenting and studying what other successful creators do, I decided to lean into my strengths and the things I enjoy.

Here's what that looks like:

Since I love writing, I moved my Newsletter to the top of my content production workflow, followed second by YouTube, and then all other platforms fell in line after that.

This allows me to use each content piece I create to build the next.

This has simplified my process tremendously by allowing my content production to build on top of itself, rather than treating each piece of content independently of one another—therefore creating more work for myself.

The takeaway here is that processes and systems simplify.

Although one way of doing something worked well previously, that doesn't mean it can't be improved upon going forward.

So with every project or task you take on in your life, ask yourself: how can I simplify this? Then start taking action towards doing so.

Step 3: Delegate

To delegate is to release control of work that is less valuable, than the time you would spend doing it.

I struggled with delegation for a very long time, if I'm honest. But like all the great lessons I've learned, I eventually realized (in both business and home life) that the more you try to do, the more chaotic things will feel.

So even though I'm growing a portfolio of one-person businesses, I've delegated my bookkeeping and taxes.

I also have a wildly supportive wife who has taken specific tasks off my plate, allowing me to focus my energy on the things I'm good at and that are more valuable to my time.

So before you take on more than you must, ask yourself: can I delegate this?

If so, what are the process documents, videos, or tools I need to delegate effectively?

Step 4: Pivot

Sometimes life happens, and scheduled processes don't go as planned.

When this happens, it's best to lean into the simple idea of pivoting.

One of the great misconceptions about productivity is that whatever system you use (or structure you develop), that's the way it is, and you are not allowed to divert from that.

But that couldn't be any further from the truth.

In improving my processes and systems, I've learned that flexibility is just as necessary as being intentional and efficient.

Without room to pivot and reprioritize, you'll set yourself up for more frustrations and challenges than necessary—resulting in poor productivity at the price of a substantial effort.

That's it for today!

Keep growing on your journey, and I'll see you again next week. 

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