The following is a guest post by Mike Vardy of the Productivityist. Learn more about Mike from the author box below his post.
No matter what time of year we’re in, anytime there’s a holiday involved we tend to have a tougher time moving things forward. Some of this is because we’re reliant on others, and they simply aren’t getting things done as efficiently as we’d like. Sometimes we’re just ready for a break. No matter the reason, when the holidays arrive we really can’t afford to slow down at all. We need to keep things moving, and the following are two approaches you can take to keep forward progress happening.
Belive it or not, the use of modern tech gear can really stifle progress – especially creative progress – when either overused or not properly directed. Not only that, but with most of us having our digital device notifications set to “overload” we barely have a chance to dive deep into the waters of our real work before feeling like we have to get out of the water in order to reply to that one email, answer that one text message, or post that one Facebook update.
That’s when getting primitive and breaking out the pen and paper can be a real boon to our productivity.
Paper doesn’t spit out notifications, nor does it feature a spinning beach ball when we’re trying to move things forward. Instead, it gives us a blank canvas to push through urgent tasks, map out future projects, and set goals for ourselves without interruption.
The next time you feel overwhelmed, put away the devices and work through things out on paper. You’ll be able to get clarity a lot faster, and that clarity allows you to move things in the right direction more efficiently and effectively even during an otherwise slow-moving holiday season.
Getting our priorites sorted is another thing that can get in the way of us being productive and keeping us simply “doing” productive instead. I’m not a fan of using a calendar for deadlines or anything other than date-specific appointments (that’s one of many aspects that David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach that I uphold), but I am a believer in taking chunks of time during the day, week, and month for particulars tasks and projects.
Apps like 30/30 for iOS and tools like The Pomodoro Technique can really help you bear down and move things forward when your energy is low or you feel stuck in a holiday rut. You could also chunk out specific times of the day for activities you simply don’t like doing (even though you know you have to do them). Even though I generally avoid this, I’ve used this technique when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle or want to ensure I give a specific project attention (like writing a book, for example).
Time chunking is a flexible tactic that is good to have in your arsenal when you find yourself struggling with moving the right things forward.
Keep the Ball Moving
By using both of these methods, you’ll find that you can keep the ball moving during the toughest of times. Changing your tools by going primitive with paper and your mindset by chunking out your time are two of the best ways I’ve used to go forward in the right direction. Even if you only take small steps forward, that’s better than taking no steps at all.