Productivity. Everyone has one yet everyone’s talking about how great theirs is.

I have read so many of them my head aches. Everything ranging from Inbox Zero to meditation to drinking Kale juice for making sure your mind is focused.

Most of it is bullshit.

The first truth I learned is that the type of productivity you employ is based on your personality. Some people like lists (the OCD ones that have a tendency to keep nibbling). Some do it intuitively as and when it happens. However, let’s face it, intuitive people can’t remember everything so you need a list which is sort of feeding off the first bucket of people.

My recommendation is to try different systems to find out which ones to take and tweak. There’s no one system that works all the time. There are only those that don’t work at all. Like that Kale bullshit or eye roll meditating before email.

Here are my experiments on it. For both email and completing tasks. I use the Due app because it is annoying af but I get things done. I use apple notes to store and use icloud/gmail for personal (I am transitioning) and Apple mail for work.

The Ivy Lee Method for Tasks

Lee explained his simple method for achieving peak productivity:

  • At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  • Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  • When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  • Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  • Repeat this process every working day.

The Wired method for email productivity.

  • Inbox: the inbox is a holding pen. Emails shouldn’t stay here any longer than it takes for you to file them into another folder. The exception to this rule is when you respond immediately and are waiting for an immediate response.
  • Today: Everything that requires a response today.
  • This Week: Everything that requires a response before the end of the week. Usually do it on Friday if it’s not time sensitive.
  • This Month/Quarter: – Everything that needs a longer-term response. Depending on your role, you many need a monthly folder. Others can operate on a quarterly basis.
  • References: Most items I receive are informational. If I think I may need to reference an email again, I’ll save it to this folder.

What has worked for you? Let me know. karthickgopal at gmail dot com if you don’t want to reply here.