The Single Best Piece of Productivity Advice I’ve Received

This advice came from a former employer who mentioned it during a team-wide productivity learning session. It’s not original to him, but it’s where I first heard it:

Multitasking actually makes you less productive.

Deciding and doing at the same time is multitasking.

Instead, use a “Hill Chart”:

Decide what to do going up the hill and then execute going down it.

I now try to begin my work days by planning out all the tasks I want to accomplish and writing them down checklist-style on a piece of paper. Large and/or nebulous tasks get broken down into a realistic number of pomodoros to complete. I also add meetings and personal goals/habits (i.e., meditation, working out, eating lunch, etc.) to the list. I thus start my day with a prioritized list of goals for the day organized in chronological order. I then check each task, meeting, habit, etc. off as I complete it.

I find the tactile nature of using real paper and checking things off as I go super helpful and motivating. It just feels like my day “flows” when I use this technique, but the biggest productivity benefit I’ve found is that I no longer try to “plan and do” at the same time and thereby eliminate some productivity-killing multitasking from my day.

Hope you found this concept helpful. As with any tip, experiment and find what works for you, and please let me know your top productivity tip(s) in the comments below!

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