Do That One Extra Task Each Day

For those of you that keep a to-do list (which you should do), those lists can get pretty large. It’s probably the main reason why some people stop keeping a list. Your list can get to be never-ending.

I came across this article the other day and immediately loved it. Notice that the article is only about 170 words. Simple.

One way to make a serious dent in that big list is to do one extra task every single day. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be a big task.

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Progress Over Perfection

About 15 years ago, I stumbled across the term ‘Quantity Over Quality.’ At first, this went against everything I knew about work and life. What good is quantity if there is no quality? At the same time, I was talking to a friend about the concept and he said that in Alcohol Anonymous, they had a similar phrase – Progress Not Perfection.

Over the years, my use of the term has morphed into Progress Over Perfection.

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Stress, The Doctor and the DMV – A Productivity Lesson

The Doctor’s Visit

Recently, I was at the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, there’s no telling how long I will ever be there, no matter if I schedule the earliest appointment they have. As it turned out, I waited over an hour to even see the person who does all the recording of all my vitals – pulse, blood pressure, temperature. After that was done, I had to wait another 20 mins to actually see the doctor.

The DMV

How many of you dread the visit to the DMV?

It’s painful. We all know it. It’s just what we have to do if we want to legally drive in this country. Worse yet, it’s as if misery feeds misery. You don’t want to be there and when you look around, neither does anyone else.

The Stress Video

Enter a video posted to a friend’s Facebook account. He made a decision to enjoy his life a little more than being insanely frantic 24×7. When he publicly announced that, someone posted the following TED Talk about stress for him to watch.

In her talk, part of what Kelly McGonigal talks about is reversing the idea that stress is bad for you. We have always learned that stress is bad but what if we can use stress as a positive?

So how do these things all fit together?

Well, the first two are probably obvious. Waiting sucks. But what about the idea of making stress your friend?

Turning Their Time into My Time

While I waited at the doctor’s office, I wrote a full draft of my 2 Apps to Develop Great Habits article. In fact, when I was finally called in to see the doctor, I was a bit bummed as I still had a few thoughts in my head and I had to stop.

But as I looked around, most of all the other waiting patients were just staring at the walls. Granted, they could’ve been doing work that wasn’t evident. I also know that they may have had other important things on their minds (like their health).

What do you notice at the DMV? Probably the same thing – a LOT of people sitting around for HOURS, staring at the wall.

What I realized is that with limited thinking, I can make these typical painful situations work for me. In fact, I would argue that I like going to the doctor’s office or DMV because it gives me a place where I can focus.

I can choose to be miserable or I can do something about it.

And when I choose not to be miserable, I make that time go faster.

Let’s face it, you probably don’t know anyone at either place so unless you are ultra-extroverted, you aren’t going to be starting any long and great conversations at those places.

You’ve got dedicated time. None of your co-workers are going to bother you. You don’t have to leave the office to go to the library or coffee shop to get away from them.

The best thing about that trip to see the doctor? I didn’t have to get home to then spend 90 minutes writing a blog article because I was playing games or watching videos on my phone during the visit.

So, the next time you have to go somewhere where it’s even remotely possible that a long wait is going to happen, don’t dread it. Embrace it.

Assume it’s going to happen and turn it into a positive.

Heck, find something you’ve been putting off for a long time and get it done. That will even make it better.

Worst case, the visit is much shorter than expected. But then you can brag about how little time you spent at the DMV.

A Great Piece of Advice from Arianna Huffington

“You can actually complete a project by dropping it.” – Arianna Huffington

I could try to write a full blown blog post about wasting time but luckily, I don’t have to. I’d rather be efficient and refer to this keynote by Arianna Huffington a couple of years ago that I was lucky enough to attend.

Jump to the 17:53 mark to get to my favorite part of her talk although if you have the time, I found many great nuggets of wisdom throughout.

The only thing I will add personally to her keynote is that there are many people out there telling you do something or use something to help you improve your life (including yours truly).

Try it. But if it doesn’t work for you, shut it down. Find something else that works for you.

Why do you think there are multitudes of successful to-do list applications? Should you use Todoist or Wunderlist or 2Do or ToodleDo or Any.Do or Google Keep or OneNote or Remember the Milk or OmniFocus?

They all can share market space because we all work differently.

As Arianna says, drop things with clarity. If you know it doesn’t work for you, no matter how many people you trust suggest you try it, dump it.

By not continuing to waste your time, you ultimately save time.

Improving Efficiency with 1Password

How many times have you forgotten a password?

Wait, don’t answer that. I already know the answer because for most, the answer is “a lot.”

Including me.

I was your typical online personality. I would reuse the same login information so it was easy for me to remember. Why not minimize a lot of headaches?

The good news is that over the last year, I only have to remember one master password. And that’s not because I use the same password for every site I login to.

The reason is because I wanted to increase my online security. In this day and age, we constantly hear stories about accounts getting hacked. My mindset is that it’s only going to get worse if it ever gets better.

After doing some research, I decided to go with 1Password.

The benefit of having more secure passwords makes me sleep better at night. Are they are fool-proof? No. But they aren’t embarassingly hackable by a 4 year old either. And they are all unique so if one site gets hacked, I don’t have to worry about others.

Security Up, Productivity Up

But as much as I made my decision based on security, the benefit impacts my productivity on a daily basis.

You can’t imagine how many sites you login per day. It’s more than you think.

Now I have to remember only one password.

One.

So while I can have many unique very passwords that look like this:

7t<Yu)wrEj)7V[oiwyS+val]iK(B

I don’t ever have to remember any of them.

At current count, I have over 250 logins. Mind you, not all of them are for me personally, which I’ll get to in a minute.

And, I don’t even have to type in my one long master password everytime. If I’ve used 1Password recently on my laptop, I can simply use a keyboard shortcut to enter login credentials to any site. It will also auto-fill credit card info if you choose to use that time-saving feature.

As mentioned earlier, this problem is insanely common. As a consultant, I have multiple clients. Due to the work I do, many times I need access to some of their accounts, which I never feel comfortable asking for. But in some cases, there is no way around me needing some of their private information.

So having a secure password manager makes me feel a lot better that I can protect someone else’s privacy as well.

As a sidenote and the impetus for this article, ALL of my clients at one time or another have asked me for one of their passwords. I guess it’s nice knowing that they inherently trust me but I’d rather see my clients improve the way they handle their online security.

People think that password management, if they even know about it, is only about security.

I propose that it’s only half the reason. The other half is decluttering your brain with insecure information and not wasting time trying to find the password you wrote down somewhere or resetting it only to forget it the next time.

I happen to use 1Password but with minimal effort, you can find lots of them out there.

Please note that I have received no compensation from the makers of 1Password for this article.