Productivity Tools

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Productivity is not as much about getting stuff completed as it is about the energy you bring to the work.  Productivity starts with a strong understanding of the brain.  The brain defaults to negative and moves to positive only with discipline.  Your brain is hard wired for survival and scans for threats like a radar.  Once a threat enters the scope of the radar’s range, your brain sends a signal for you to respond with protective instincts.

There are more productivity tips and tricks than time to implement them all.  I have 5 that I find most useful:

Tool #1:  Schwartz’s Emotional Quadrants – These 4 quadrants break down our emotion into four critical zones.  The first zone is the Survival Zone where we have high negative emotion.  In this zone, we demonstrate irritability and stress.  The second zone is the Performance Zone where we have high positive energy and experience emotions of optimism and invigoration.  The question to ask yourself is “What zone am I at currently and what is my process to move zones?”



Tool #2: iDone This – Done List: Instead of creating a list of all that you have to complete.  Create a list of what you have completed.  Your brain moves from the default of negativity to positivity.



Tool #3: 4 – D Exercise – The 4 D Exercise is a role clarity tool.  You focus on the “Dedicated” aspects of your position and move to the “Desirable”  The important remaining two boxes are about identifying what you can “Delegate” and “Delete” from your purview.




Tool #4Covey’s 4 Quadrants –  Remember this tool? This classic tool helps with prioritizing.  We spend most of our time in the first Quadrant with the Urgent and Important and move to Quadrant IV for a quick charge.  The key is to spend more of our time in the second Quadrant with the Not Urgent and Important matters.

Slide11Tip #5: David Allen’s Getting Things Done –  Start with collecting your tasks and move to processing those tasks to determine if they are actionable in 2 minutes.  The mantra is to treat everyday like the day before you leave for vacation.


What are your favorite productivity tools?