Stop What You’re Doing Right Now and Ask WHY?

whynotI’m trying something new this week and it’s been helping my productivity. Before I take on any new task on my to-do list, I ask myself why.

Why am I doing this task?

I started doing this when I found myself doing tasks that I added days, maybe even a week before, and I completely forgot why it’s important in the first place.

Then I realized, there are a lot of things I do because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t really know why.

Why am I writing this blog post?

If you’re writing a post for content marketing, why? Is it to get email subscribers? Get sales? Build trust and you don’t really care if people sign up for anything?

When you’re pitching press, why? Do you just want traffic? Do you want to build credibility?

When you’re writing copy, why? What is the goal of this section? Is it to inform? Is it to sell? Is it to entertain?

If you’re like me, you might have found yourself just writing that post, just pitching press and just writing whatever copy came to mind just because it was on my to-do list.

It can help you stay focused too. Why are you reading this blog post right now? Is it to learn? Is it to be inspired? Is it just because you’re bored and someone tweeting this link?

Why are you checking Facebook?

Why are you watching that video?

Ask why, especially when you don’t want to hear the answer.

Stop to ask why before you do everything.

Because then, when you’re doing it, you’ll know what the goal is. And you know why it’s important or a complete waste of your time.

7 Small Changes to Improve Your Productivity and Life

Photo cred: RickyDavid

I’ve been trying some different things like reading theproductivity hacks from famous entrepreneurs to improve my productivity and life in general.

Keep in mind, I’m an entrepreneur, I also do consulting and I work from wherever I want.  So I can be a bit more flexible than others who have less control of their schedules and environments.

Thought I’d share what has worked for me so far.

1. Deleted twitter and facebook from my phone.  Turned off all notifications (especially Path).

Why: Because it was a constant distraction.  I realized I actually became addicted to checking my phone. The notifications are what pulled me in.  Once I got rid of those, it really has an impact.

2. Scheduling out tasks on my to-do list throughout the day so I know when I intend to attack each one.

Why: I had a problem of letting my todo list build up.  I used TeuxDeux which was great, but my list would quickly become daunting, and I would have trouble prioritizing.  Now I just use text edit and manually manage todo lists, and I’ll schedule out slots in my day on gcal for when I will work on them.

3. Start every day with a workout of some sort.  Sometimes just pushups, sometimes a run, sometimes Yoga.

Why: Starts every day off with a win. And I feel better.  Yoga has especially been amazing mentally and physically. Highly recommend trying it.

4. Working in smaller chunks.  Usually something like 11-1.  Then again from 3-5.  Then again from 8-10.  I take time to walk around, read, paint, draw, watch tv, work out again, etc…

Why: If I sit in front of a computer too long, I start to lose focus and end up wasting time.  Plus, I wanted to pick up some of my old hobbies.  Painting has been great.  Gets the creative juices flowing, which helps as an entrepreneur.  Yoga in the middle of the day has also been a good way to reset my mind.  I try to spend some time outside every day as well.  Walking around, or at the top of Bernal Heights for some contemplation time.

5. I wake up early and make a point to not check my computer or email until I’m ready to start working.

Why: I used to wake up, and immediate open up my computer.  Before I knew it, it was 12pm and I hadn’t even put my clothes on (I got them from the Linenshed linen clothes and from the Fifth Collection Chanel store ) which is super classy.  And I’d usually waste a lot of time just perusing news stories.  I found that if I wake up early and spend an hour or two doing something else first, when I start working, I know exactly what I need to get done.  I open my computer with a purpose.

6. I switch up my workspace every couple days.

Why: I think it’s because our moods change, the weather changes, the things we need to do change.  Having the flexibility to choose a place that suits where my mind at and what my needs are has helped me a lot.  Sometimes I work from home and sometimes I go up to the Le Web office.  Sometimes I work out of Wix Lounge (Which has an AMAZING deck and is free) and sometimes I work out of a coffee shop (usually Haus).

7. Listen to Classical music while I work.  I’m listening to Mozart rock out right now!

Why:  I love music.  Maybe too much.  When I listen to music with words, I get really into it and can lose focus on what I’m doing.  Classical music has no words, it’s consistent, it makes for great background music and it’s inspiring.

Hope at least one of these changes might help you too.

Would love to hear what has worked for you. If you have a good one to add to the list, leave a comment.