We’ve talked to a few productivity experts and learned how to tackle tedious work projects, get something done on Friday afternoons, stay fit, and keep working even when the power goes out. However, five takeaways from my reporting stand out and have altered my daily approach to work:
Get rid of your to-do list. According to Kelly Nolan’s Bright Method, a calendaring strategy she devised. It all comes down to this: block out time in a digital calendar for everything (including waking, showering, dressing, exercising, and so on) so you know what you can say yes and no to. The system empowers people to make good decisions “because they recognize when it’s actually impossible to take on something else.”
It is advantageous to pitch bad ideas. Adi Goodrich, co-founder of Sing Sing studio in Los Angeles, recommends pitching those less-than-stellar ideas because what matters is the discussion after you pitch, not the ideas themselves. “Something always comes out of the conversation if you’re working with good collaborators,” she says. “Listen, this idea may be a little shaky, but I’d love to discuss it and see where we go,” you say.
Procrastinate effectively. Lillie Marshall, a middle school teacher in Boston, swears by productive procrastination. Don’t want to do that time-consuming or difficult job? Try something new. The task must be one that is on today’s agenda; it cannot be, for example, online shopping for travel gear, which is a favorite lockdown hobby of mine. This avoids the vicious cycle of doing nothing, feeling guilty, and falling behind.
Exhibit humble zeal. Ellen Bennett, founder of the cooking clothing website Hedley & Bennett, believes that you are your best salesperson. “People are saying, ‘This girl is really into aprons.’ ‘OK, she can come talk to me,’ she says. Bennett engages people in conversation, and then they tell others about their fascinating conversation with the apron lady. “This communication piece is pretty fundamental,” she says, when it comes to starting a business. How can this be done without being obnoxious? Your energy should be “excited to share, excited to learn,” which includes listening to and criticizing others’ ideas.
Maintain a diplomatic tone. According to University of Pennsylvania organizational psychologist Adam Grant, the next time you disagree with your coworker’s idiotic plan, explaining your much better idea two or three more times will have no effect. That is divisive. Instead, take a non-aggressive approach by asking, “What would make you change your mind?” “For instance, “I’m concerned that if we hold the company retreat on a weekend, many people will be unable to attend.” What would you need to see in order for us to change our date? ” This prompts your coworker to admit that she has considered changing the date, while also explaining why she has committed to a weekend. That tells you how to frame your argument in order to address her priorities.