9 Small Ways to Increase Productivity

Living a vibrant life rarely leaves room for silly little things like Angry Birds.  This isn't because Angry Birds isn't fun - it's rather addicting! However, as much as I would love to spend my time flinging digital, explosive fowl into sickly pigs, a trip around the world sounds much more appealing!
Learn to do more, work less, and free up your most valuable resource: time.


My Back-Pocket Notebook

My Back-Pocket Notebook

1. Scribble

Guys, these things fit right into your back pocket perfectly. Gals, it's a perfect purse stuffer. It doesn't have to look good, it just needs to be usable, so don't worry about sitting on it or squishing it. (See the image of mine)

Keep a notebook around for quickly scribbling notes, diagrams, and random thoughts. It has been said that using a traditional paper/pen combo to explore new ideas is most efficient because when you type, you automatically edit as well. When you write, you are more inclined to skip over mistakes in spelling, grammar and wording, allowing you to continue your flow of ideas.


My Evernote Homescreen

My Evernote Homescreen

2. Synthesize

Combine your information. Using a service such as Evernote, you can quickly capture text, video, images, audio, lists, documents etc.

  • Have a thought? Make a note.
  • Find a cool design? Snap a picture of it.
  • Read a neat article online? Clip it using the web clipper.
  • Have a bunch of materials to buy at the store? Make a list.
  • Have an appointment coming up? Set a reminder.
  • Booked a flight? Import your tickets, receipts and scans of your passport and ID, just in case.

Don't let anything escape! All of this information can be easily accessed across your smart phone, tablet, or computer with a simple search command and a beautiful Notebook/Tag organizational structure.

This allows you to organize and (perhaps, more importantly) connect thoughts so that you are constantly learning, building and creating without worrying about losing a brilliant idea or important information.


Set notifications for vital apps only

Set notifications for vital apps only

3. Silence

Turn off those mobile notifications! You know you're obsessively checking them, not allowing your day to progress until that little, red alert has been taken care of.

Here's an image of what my notification centre includes:

  • Phone
  • Texts
  • Email
  • Facetime
  • Simple (my bank)

A few things it doesn't include:

  • All of my Social Media accounts: I'll check them when I have time - you'll find that urgent people rarely communicate via social media. It can wait.
  • Games: I actually don't have any games - we'll get to that in a second.
  • News: Most of it won't affect my day. So I don't waste valuable time staying up-to-date. Not that it isn't important - I do try to stay up on the major events, but in a low-information diet, you try to focus most of your mental stamina on the stuff that matters.
  • Email: Set times to check your email twice a day - the rest of the day, ignore it. It's rarely that urgent.

"Hey" rarely even justifies a response...

"Hey" rarely even justifies a response...

4. Select

Stop texting people "just 'cause".

Text them if you have a specific purpose in mind - hours are wasted, simply typing out and reading pointless dialogue.

Now to be clear, sending someone an encouraging word, checking up on your grandmother, and sending a funny joke you just heard to your buddy all count as a "specific purpose". Don't get the idea that I'm asking you to not engage people - relationships are vital! Simply, invest where investing is profitable and cut out the waste.


*Face Palm*

*Face Palm*

5. Simplify

Delete time-wasting apps - you know what I'm talking about. Specifically, this refers to pointless games. Statistics are staggering on how much time is wasted playing mobile games, checking social accounts (even when you know you have no new notifications) and scouring an assortment of consumption apps on your smartphone - interact with people, meditate, read, dream and take time to simply live with your eyes open!


Maybe don't sleep that well...

Maybe don't sleep that well...

6. Sleep

It's amazing how many people think they get more done by running on a quarter-tank of energy and an exhausted mind and body! Get 6-8 hours of rest a night - you'll function at an incredible rate!


Agenda just came out with a new version (click image for link)

Agenda just came out with a new version (click image for link)

7. Schedule

Utilize the incredible function of calendar apps out there - you'll be planning weeks ahead allowing you to worry only minutes ahead.

The app (pictured here) that I use is called "Agenda" which syncs with my Outlook calendars. There are plenty out there, so use the one that suits you!


Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
— Proverbs 15:22

8. Share

Trying to carry a heavy workload, develop an idea or even deal with personal issues by yourself is a difficult thing to do. Pain and stress is relieved, ideas are curated, and dreams are a step closer to reality when you share them with people who you care about and respect.


Paint with all the Colours of the Wind

Paint with all the Colours of the Wind

9. Sit

Turn your brain off - we live in an age when the lines between personal and work lives are blurred. We are always dreaming about the next thing we want to do. And that's okay... as long as we do so in moderation. Sometimes we simply need to sit. Watch the sun set. Listen to the birds. Smell the mowed lawn. Drink some tea. Turn off for a minute.

Jacob Jolibois