Productivity tips that let you do less and get shit done

Productivity tips that let you do less and achieve more results

There are many productivity tips out there, I'm sure you know this if you've googled it!  You almost need to be productive to find the most productive hacks!
What if I told you that there was a way to be productive by doing less and still get the same results? It seems impossible right? As a small business owner, I have spent many years chasing my own little tired tail trying to do as much as possible to ensure my livelihood. The constant need to juggle everything became draining and disheartening, which was detrimental to running my sweet little apothecary successfully, so I knew that I had to find ways to simplify what I do. That's when I came across Kate Northrup’s book, Do Less and I was hooked. Her productivity tips and hacks are amazing, and I want to share some of them with you.

Shifting your mindset to be more productive
We’ve all been led to believe that being busy equates to getting more done, being a hard worker, and sometimes even being read as a better human. This just isn't true! Being busy for the sake of busy is completely unnecessary and also not the best use of our time. I’m here to give you permission to do less, because studies have actually shown that we can only be focused for about 4 hours everyday.
Now that we know that we don’t have to be busy all the time and that it actually isn’t helping us to be more productive, let’s talk about how we can do less and achieve more of what we want.

The idea of doing less and achieving more 

You don’t have to do more to achieve more. In fact, you can actually do less to get the results you want. Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule)? It’s the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. You can apply this principle to any part of your life.

For example, for me, this would mean that 80% of what happens in my small business comes from just 20% of my efforts. So when you’re basing productivity on this principle, the key is to find what that 20% is that’s moving the needle for you. This is how you can actually achieve more by doing less.

When you can get the same results by doing less, this means that you have more time to do the things you love, which is so important for self-care. Productivity allows us to create time and build self-care into our daily lives.  

How to find the 20% that moves the needle and be more productive

Kate Northrup, author of Do Less and one of my favorite people on productivity gives practical tips to figure out your 20% that moves the needle. She says that in order to figure out what your 20%, you need to first take an inventory of all the things you do.

First, start by making a list of all the things that you do everyday and write them on one side of the paper. On the other side, write down your biggest wins. Now, draw a line from the win to the task(s) on the opposite side of the paper that helped to achieve that win. Tasks that are attached to a win are your 20% and what you need to focus on. If you focus on the 20% that yielded the results, you can still achieve those results by doing less and reclaim more time for yourself!

Additional productivity tips for doing less

There are many productivity hacks and tips out there that you can follow. I’ve read many and have done the homework for you. Kate gives us a few more ways to being productive and reclaiming your energy and time.  
  1. Look for friction in your life or business
Kate says that one of the easiest places to start is to look at your life or your business and see where there is “flow” and where there is “friction.” By doing this, Kate says that there are opportunities here to simplify and do things that work for you (and get rid of things that don’t).

Friction doesn’t have to mean an area that takes up a lot of your time. It can also be something that you don’t like to do. You don’t have to do something just because it’s being done by everyone else. Create your own path and figure out the areas in your life that can be simplified.  

For example, maybe spending 30 minutes a day packing your lunch isn’t working for you. To simplify this, designate a day to batch your lunch. On that day, spend an hour preparing and packing all the veggies and fruit for lunch the next week. Then, each morning, all you have to do is pack your main lunch.

Simplify this further by packing salads for lunch. Prep everything on your designated day and you wouldn’t have to do anything during the week. This saves you 30 minutes every day. Look for areas like this where there is friction and figure out how to simplify it.  

  1. Simplify your to do lists
According to Kate, to-do lists become a “catchall” for everything that needs to be done and isn't very helpful. Her solution for this is to create a weekly to-do list. This allows for flexibility in the week, especially if you’re caring for children or an older parent, it gives you some space to change plans as needed. 

To create a weekly to-do list, she suggests asking yourself three fundamental questions to determine what gets placed on this list. It’s important to be very critical when adding to this list. 
  1. Does this need to be done? If the first answer is yes, then ask yourself the next question.
  2. Does this need to be done by me? If not, you can assign this task to someone else on your team, a family member, or a friend. 
  3. Does this need to be done right now (this week)? If it doesn’t need to be done right now, it doesn’t belong on your to do list but on your project management list, like on Asana. (I use Asana to manage my projects and team.)
Like everything else I talk about, you don’t have to do it all. Choose the productivity tips that resonate with you and feel would work with your life. My goal this week is to start by determining what my 80/20 is so that I can create more time to do the things I love. 

Let me know which productivity tip you liked best and if you have any that you want to share. I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
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