How I Stay Productive 99% of The Day

How I Stay Productive 99% of the Day is a video created by Nate O’Brien, where he shares his tactics for staying productive and accomplishing more in a day than most people can in a week. The key, according to Nate, is to minimise rather than organise. By reducing clutter and distractions and prioritising essential tasks, productivity can be maximized. Nate emphasises the importance of minimising small tasks that eat up valuable time and make it difficult for people to contact you to maintain focus.

He recommends using an egg timer to stay focused on a task and tackling the most difficult task first thing in the morning. Nate also suggests batching meetings to specific days and utilising tools like pen and paper or Notion to stay organized. By minimizing distractions and reducing the number of tasks on your mind, productivity can skyrocket, leaving more time for leisure activities.

Adopting the Mindset of ‘Less is More’

How I Stay Productive 99% of The Day

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Minimizing tasks and distractions

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with never-ending to-do lists and a constant flow of distractions. However, the key to staying productive isn’t about organizing every aspect of your life—it’s about minimizing tasks and distractions. Instead of trying to do it all, adopt the mindset of ‘less is more’ and focus on what truly matters. Let’s explore some strategies to minimize distractions and reduce the number of tasks on your mind.

Make it difficult for people to contact you

One way to minimize distractions is by making it difficult for people to contact you. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with notifications and interruptions, setting boundaries is crucial. Consider putting your phone on aeroplane mode or turning off notifications during times when you need to focus. Don’t be afraid to say no to unnecessary requests for your time and attention. By reducing external interruptions, you can create a more conducive environment for productivity.

Use an egg timer to stay focused

Distractions can easily derail our productivity, causing us to lose valuable time. Enter the humble egg timer—a simple yet effective tool for staying focused on a task. Set the timer for a specific duration, such as 55 minutes, and commit to working solely on the task at hand. During this time, resist the temptation to check your phone or engage in other non-work-related activities. The ticking sound of the timer serves as a gentle reminder to stay on track and maintain productivity. Once the timer goes off, take a short break before diving back into the next task.

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Tackle the most difficult task first thing in the morning (Eat the Frog)

We all have those tasks that we dread—the ones we put off until the last minute. However, tackling the most challenging task first thing in the morning can be a game-changer. It’s known as “eating the frog,” a term that may sound strange but holds wisdom. By addressing the most difficult and daunting task right away, you set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Plus, once it’s done, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that can motivate you to tackle the remaining tasks with greater ease.

Batching meetings for a more organized schedule

Schedule specific days for meetings

Having a chaotic meeting schedule can disrupt your workflow and create unnecessary stress. To combat this, consider batching your meetings on specific days. By dedicating one or two days each week solely to meetings, you create a more organized and predictable schedule. This approach allows you to have uninterrupted blocks of time on the remaining days, enabling you to focus on important tasks without constant interruptions. Remember, simplicity and structure can go a long way toward maximising productivity.

How I Stay Productive 99% of The Day

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Writing down tasks and utilizing organizational tools

Use pen and paper to prioritize tasks

Going back to the basics can occasionally be surprisingly effective in an era where digital tools and apps rule. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down three primary tasks for the day. These primary tasks are the most important and challenging ones that need to be completed. By condensing your to-do list to just three key items, you reduce the overwhelm and ensure that you maintain focus on what truly matters. Additionally, write down three secondary tasks—tasks that can be tackled if you have extra time or energy after completing the primary ones. Keeping it simple and manageable is the name of the game.

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Utilize a tool like Notion for organization

While pen and paper can be great for quick lists and prioritization, sometimes we need a more comprehensive organizational tool. Notion is one such tool that can help streamline your thoughts, ideas, and tasks. With its customizable interface, you can create databases, to-do lists, and project boards to keep everything in one place. Notion allows for collaboration and seamless integration of different aspects of your life, making it a valuable tool for staying organized and productive. Find the organizational tool that works best for you and embrace its features to simplify your workflow.

How I Stay Productive 99% of The Day

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Leaving buffer periods in your schedule

Accounting for unexpected tasks and interruptions

No matter how meticulously you plan your day, unexpected tasks and interruptions are inevitable. That’s why it’s crucial to leave buffer periods in your schedule. These buffer periods act as safety nets, allowing you to handle unforeseen circumstances without derailing your entire day. Whether it’s an urgent email, a sudden request from a colleague, or a technical glitch that needs troubleshooting, having the flexibility to accommodate these disruptions ensures that you can continue with minimal interruptions. Embrace the unpredictable nature of life and build resilience into your schedule.

How I Stay Productive 99% of The Day

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The benefits of productivity

More free time for leisure activities

While productivity might seem synonymous with endless work and no play, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Being productive allows us to create more free time for leisure activities. By minimizing distractions, reducing unnecessary tasks, and optimizing our workflow, we can accomplish more in less time. This efficiency leaves us with ample opportunities to pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or simply relax and recharge. Ultimately, productivity isn’t just about getting things done—it’s about achieving a harmonious balance between work and leisure.

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Embracing the mindset of ‘less is more’ and incorporating strategies to minimize tasks and distractions can significantly enhance our productivity. By making it difficult for others to contact us, using tools like egg timers, and prioritizing challenging tasks, we can optimize our output. Batching meetings, utilizing organizational tools, and leaving buffer periods in our schedules further contribute to a streamlined workflow. In the end, productivity grants us the gift of more free time for the things we truly enjoy. So go forth, embrace simplicity, and maximize your productivity to thrive in this fast-paced world.

Recommended Books

For more inspiration, I recommend reading or listening to the following books:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey. Purchase Link: here
  2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. Purchase Link: here
  3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Purchase Link: here
  4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Purchase Link: here
  5. How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do by Graham Allcott. Purchase Link: here
  6. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland. Purchase Link: here

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George Mwika Kayange

George Mwika Kayange is an International Development Professional and Project Management Specialist with over 20 years of experience working with various national, regional, and international NGOs. He is also a Commonwealth PhD Scholar at Loughborough University, London.