This One Trick Helps Me Be Super Productive Every Day

This One Trick Helps Me Be Super Productive Every Day

For the longest time, I have prided myself in being a champion multitasker. I was pretty good at doing several things at once: working on multiple projects at a time, talking on the phone while completing something else, answering emails while reading through a project, etc., etc. Or so I thought.

I was proud of my status and of the fact that women were declared superior multitaskers. It made sense to me; women are often responsible for a wide variety of day-to-day tasks, why wouldn't we try to maximize our time and get things done simultaneously? Over the course of the past few years, as my life became more complex, I was seeing my productivity and the quality of my work decline. Was it because my ability to multitask had reached some sort of limit? Or am I spreading myself too thin? 

Then I came across something that changed the way I work... 

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I found time blocking. Have you heard of this? 

It has been lauded as the "secret to being insanely productive," and is used by Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and countless other leaders. The idea here is to divide your day into specific time segments (anywhere from five minutes to hour-long blocks) and dedicate those to specific tasks. When you're in that allocated time block, you exclusively work on that task — no email, messages, notifications, etc. It sounds simple enough, right? Do one thing at a time! While I haven't achieved Elon Musk-level productivity, the simple mindshift that this has offered me has been really amazing. 

Fast Company said the "high-performers he interviewed never talked about their “to-do lists,” but instead talked about their calendars and how they were organized." EYE OPENER! 

It's not about checking things off a list. but about making the most of your day. I like to believe that true success is the ability to own one's own time. 

I am still working on this and am not regimented enough yet to plan the next day the night before, as they recommend. Slack and text messages still grab my attention, and I still wander off occasionally, but I have seen some great improvement in my productivity and overall sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. 

Have you tried time blocking? 

Images: Barbara Smaller, The New Yorker (above), William Haefeli, The New Yorker (cover image)

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