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Share your methods to measure and improve personal productivity!

Igor Irianto on October 06, 2019

I wanted to see what system you guys have to measure and improve your productivity outside of work. By productivity, I mean everything from self-im... [Read Full]
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Productivity is a recurrent topic for me because I'd rather work smarter than harder, and I hate losing time by studying things I don't need, opening tabs I shouldn't (Twitter and Youtube are the worst ones!) and more.

I have read and tried many practices, so I'm going to explain my favourite 3.

Right now I have two daily tasks:

  • Do something for my blog/youtube channel (Write a non-technical post, write the code and the post or make/edit a video. One of the three)

  • Code something (Currently I'm doing my 3rd #100DaysOfCode challenge, learning advanced Python, Flask and advanced Django) for at least 1 hour a day. Normally it ends being 2 hours or more on weekends (More info about the 100DaysofCode challenge here)

So, doing something for my blog/channel + 1h or more of coding. I don't count reading or listening about podcast, even if I do.

What I do

1: Set fixes hours to do tasks
I used to say "I'll do this in one hour, this on another hour, so I can do it at any time". As it is easy to count, it is easy to manage. As it is just 2 hours, I can do it on the late-afternoon. Or why not before having supper? Or after.

And I end doing nothing of it.

So, the way to fix this: Set fixed hours.

Now, everyday at 5 I start doing whatever I need for my blog/youtube channel. Not when "I feel like it". At 5.

The coding starts at 8. Not before X or after Y. At 8.

Instead of playing Tetris with my schedule I have set some hours on it to do things. Not optional (unless some life-threatening thing happens)

2: Track my progress

Get this cards:

Take a pen. Divide it vertically by 7 columns, horizontally by 7 rows.
You have 49 cells: 7 columns that represent the 7 days of the week, 7 rows that represent 7 weeks. Do the same on the other side. Now you have 98 cells. Or 100, if you count the whole side.

Do this for each task you want to do.

Starting Monday, check the first cell (the first day of the first week) after you did that card's task.

If you want to do exercise, read, and code for an hour, check the exercise card after you do exercise, check the read card after you read, and check the 'code for an hour' card after you code for an hour or more.

Keep doing this until you manage to cross all the 49 cells. Then 50th is the whole card.

Then do the same with the other side of the card.

If you don't cross a day, write on that cell why you didn't.

There is a pleasure of crossing one day, a whole week, a whole side of the card with a marker. And by having them near you, you always are reminded to do your tasks.


Those are the methods I use everyday. Sometimes I also use Pomodoro or any other technique, but setting hours on my schedule and having cards reminding me to do the things I have to do, are the two that helped me more.

For the people interested in, I have writen about them (and more) on Fighting Procastination

 

This is awesome. I loved it! I do have a daily schedule/ plan using simple markdown. Every morning, I make a simple list

- [] task1
- [] task2
- [] task3

At the end of the day, I plan to have them all crossed

- [x] task1
- [x] task2
- [x] task3

And if there is anything unchecked, that gets rolled over to next day. I want to give your method a try though. I think there is something about checking off physical paper that makes it more effective than checking off tasks virtually.

Thank you for sharing this!

 

Yeah, no 'click' can beat crossing a whole card with a black marker :)

Yup! I still carry pen and paper with me all the time!

 

Productivity can also be achieved by self-motivation. Motivation is the word derived from the word 'motive' which means needs, desires, wants or drives within the individuals. It is the process of stimulating people to actions to accomplish the goals. In the work goal context the psychological factors stimulating the people's behaviour can be - desire for mone,success. I couldn’t start motivating myself for a long time. I just procrastinated things in my life. Consequently, I ruined many of my school days and then I srewed with my job. Thanks to the internet where I found many tips that helped me motivate myself and finally do things I wanted and I had to do.
Moreover, I found an amazing site that helps you improve yourself and gets you motivated by completing challenges.
Really interesting site with a great challenges verity—makeBetter.me

 

I can relate with motivational issue. There was a year when I told myself I would do X or do Y by the end of year. I ended up not doing it because of some lame excuses. I have also wasted few years of my college years and looking back, those become my motivation to not waste time anymore.

I checked the website earlier, it is awesome. Thanks for sharing!

 

I use paper and pencil to draft my solution before using keyboard, and only Google for facts that I need to confirm. I can feel more productive in this way because I can visualize the problem as well as the process to solve them without having any distraction from social network notification or something interesting.

 

Oh nice!! Old school pencil and paper ftw :)

I always have either: post-it in almost all the rooms in my house, notebook wallet (midori is my top-choice for EDC) so I always have something to jot down when I am in the house/ outside.

In addition, I also do my planning/ scheduling on computer using a simple markdown and sync it with dropbox. I also post it on my github (private) project just to be extra safe. I can't start my day without planning it in the morning. Glad to see I am not the only one here!

 

Hi, I just follow all repository I have use in every project, and it always notify me on email, so we can track what is happening if there's a deprecated.

 

Interesting, that's a good idea! Need to work on setting up notification so I don't have to deal with deprecated libs haha! Some of my old repos/ projects have a like million warnings...

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