I have never been so intrigued before in measuring time but after using this awesome productivity app, I have started making more time.
Disclaimer : I am a digital nomad and I work as a freelancer/ consultant for multiple startups. As such, my work style demands discipline and self motivated focus. When I started the freelancing journey, it was not easy. It was tough, which meant, it was not structured. I was trained to follow a typical 9–6 pm timeline, to solve a single use case, added with 4 hours of commute time. But since the day, I have embarked on freelancing journey, I am helping 3 startups. Why I am mentioning this? Because it has lot to do with my productivity. And, it might help you as well.
Let me give you some context before:
I have built a cozy yet vibrant workplace at my bachelor pad. I was confused if at all I should buy a whiteboard as I was unable to manage the tasks on my plate and prioritize them. But, somewhere I needed the whiteboard badly, I needed to scribble down my thoughts so that I could explain and remind it to myself.
This whiteboard hunt introduced me to Rentomojo (offering furniture on rent). Among their beautiful curated furniture collections, I found my current work space : A neat table with attached whiteboard. Before renting it out, I was little skeptical about the product, but post experience, I must say it has been one of my wisest personal investment till date.
Finally, I was with my polished table with a blank whiteboard on which I had to start my another journey.
As soon as I received this beautiful asset, I started doing experiments to best utilize it’s worth.
#Week 1 (Task Segmentation)
I segmented the entire board in 3 parts (for 3 startups) and listed down all the work, which I had to finish for the day. Result : The blank space was fully occupied, and it constantly reminded me of the chain of tasks which I had on my plate. It did give me a little more clear vision but din’t help me much in optimizing my work pattern. Note : I could do same thing with any to-do list app or with my journal but I had to have something which I could visually see all the time.
#Week 2 ( Task Prioritization )
I started prioritizing the tasks in those 3 columns. Prioritization was based on task decision matrix. And, I made sure to keep the two tasks, which could be done within 2 minutes, at the top of the column to have a sense of achievement for the day. Result : It did help me in reducing my work load by 50%. But I was still not feeling content with this technique.
#Week 3 (Habitual Change : Ultimate whiteboard hack)
Task decision matrix and task segmentation did help me in setting discipline for my work. But this habitual change changed my life like never before. In this experiment, I divided my whiteboard in 2 columns :
In the first column, I jotted the most important & urgent things to be done for the week ( both professional + personal). Ex : Building editorial calendar for Vibrant, writing 7 articles a week, closing on my income tax online, curating articles for DigiMusk newsletter and personal tasks such as buying a newlaptop from amazon, watching two movies, meeting an ex-colleague at a new place, nurturing plants with pesticides.
In the second column, I analyzed and noted down few invaluable habits of mine, which I had to unlearn.This was a habitual change, and the same had to be imbibed with constant visual reminder. Ex : Leave caffeine intake, unplug myself from laptop and mobile for an hour/ day, eliminate the habit of sleeping late in the night.
The key behind documenting in such a way was the constant whiteboard visual reminder, which kept knocking me to finish the most important tasks as well as kept asking me to filter out my invaluable habits.
And, it worked because I only knocked off the items in these 2 cases : Either I had finished those tasks or I had left those habits.
In addition to this hack, if you are curious to know how to learn and unlearn any habit, please read this by Zdravko.
Life is not about having time, life is about making time and the more you would be productive, the more you can add time.