It's been a while since we benefited from the mind-blowing advice offered on the planet's most important website - Yahoo Personal Finance. Here we have Yahoo's "Brazen Careerist" Penelope Trunk with Five Steps to Being More Productive. We think she even gets paid to write this stuff. Keep reading below and change your life:
1. Do the most important thing first.
Gina Trapani, the editor of Lifehacker.com, calls this a "morning dash [others call it “The Angry Pirate”]." She sits down at her desk and does the No. 1 item on her to-do list [apply to the editorial staff of a more widely read site than Lifehacker.com] so that she knows it's finished.
This requires a lot of prior planning [an updated resume, a long-standing grudge]. You need to write an accurate, prioritized list [of co-workers you could beat in a fight] and you need to block out [the firewall at work] a portion of your morning to accomplish your No. 1 task uninterrupted.
The hardest thing about living by a to-do list is that you have to constantly ask yourself the difficult question [Is it possible to solve all non-deterministic polynomial-class problems in polynomial time?], "What's the most important thing to me right now? [finding an uncensored Lindsay Lohan “slip” photo]"
A good to-do list includes [an animated talking paperclip] long-term [the Great Wall] and short-term [the Not-so-Great Fence] projects, and it integrates all aspects of your life [and you thought picking up the dry-cleaning had nothing to do with your former alcoholism]. "Pick out lawn furniture" is on the same list as "go to the board meeting" [same list, different Queer Eye guy] because both are competing for the same, limited amount of your time [only if you’re on the board of Home Depot].
2. Keep your inbox empty [not even the brazen careerist is immune to the influence of the abstinence lobby].
Your inbox is not your to-do list [your to-do list is not your other completely unrelated thing]; your to-do list is something you compile and prioritize. If your inbox is your to-do list, then you have no control over [the coherence of the thought expressed in this paragraph] what you're doing -- you've ceded it to whoever sends you an email next [StiffyMail, your next J-date].
Productivity wizards [but not productivity clerics] experience less information overload [with the right helmet] because they deal with an email as soon as they've read it -- respond, file, [tattoo] or delete. Nothing stays in the inbox [TSS can really screw you up]. Reading each email four or five [or six] times while it languishes [or just sits] in your inbox [spam folder] is a huge waste of time, and totally impractical given the [time and money already spent on natural and safe enlargement] amount of email we all receive.
Keep enriching your existence after the jump...
3. Become a realist about time. [Because if you're a surrealist about time, all your clocks melt]
You can schedule and schedule and schedule [that appointment to get checked for OCD], but it won't do any good unless you [stop making your schedule based on times and places you could “serendipitously” run into your ex] get more realistic about time [unless you’re a Heideggerian, then it’s kind of a downer]. Develop a sense of who in your life is good at estimating time [Carl, the watchmaker] and who isn't [Fred, the retard], because you need to be able to compensate for the people who mess up your schedule with poor time estimates [who put Fred in charge of scheduling?].
In general, though, we're all bad at estimating time [except for Inuits, New Guineans, some !Kung hunters]. We overestimate how much time we have [I’m sure I can get 8 hours of sleep from 3am-8am, said the banking analyst] and cope poorly with the fact that what we do with our time changes from day to day. So the first step toward being good at estimating time is to [buy a watch, reattach your corpus callosum] understand your own inherent weaknesses [the analogy section]. Then, at least, you can start compensating [dictionary program for the TI-85].
4. Focus on what you're doing [think of baseball] so you can do it faster and better.
Most of the time, multitasking doesn't help you. It works for short, repetitive tasks that you're very familiar with [crying , masturbating]. But you don't want to develop good work habits for boring work. You'd probably prefer to stretch your brain [as to not pull it] and try new things [those beads go where?], and that kind of work requires focus.
A wide range of research has shown that [often common sense observations don’t have to be supported by “research”] even if you can talk on the phone and use email and IM at the same time, multitasking decreases your productivity [take that Windows Vista]. Our creative powers are compromised when we multitask [Einstein developed the theory of special relativity while filings patents as a clerk, but then again he wasn’t a brazen careerist].
The other common culprit to focusing is lack of sleep [or parasites]. Some people think they can use caffeine to dull the need for sleep [and eating to dull the need for hunger], but it catches up with them [sleep-deprived fat-asses]. Fortunately, you only need a 10-minute nap [or hot assistant under the impression that the first rung of the corporate ladder is under your desk] to get your brain back on track. And when you're making up for several nights of lost sleep, you don't need to make it all up -- you just need seven hours to get back on your game [or mono].
Once you know what's most important to you in all aspects of your life [pulling tail], you'll know what to delegate [the feeling of true helplessness]. And the answer will be almost everything [you do results in failure]. The hardest part of productivity is admitting that you can't do everything.
In fact, it's the core of what being an adult is [aside from a deepening of the voice, widening of the pelvic girdle, menstruation] -- as a child, everything looks possible [dinosaur astronauts, no one on a G.I. Joe battlefield gets hit by a laser beam, Lady Smurf doesn't get gang raped]. Adults are hit quickly with the cold reality that they can only do what's most important [sell carpet out of a van]. So be very clear on what that is, and delegate as much of the other stuff as you can [the pool boy can satisfy my wife, as long as I get to pay her expenses].
At work, good delegating doesn't mean dumping your worst tasks on your co-workers [it means not getting blamed for dumping your worst tasks on your co-workers]. In fact, you often need to delegate your most appealing work [data room compiling, painting the deck] and do some of the grunt work [client lunches, swingers parties] yourself. Because in the end [as long as it’s not yours], your No. 1 productivity goal is to [win a game of Hearts in 4 hands] get what's important done [do as little as possible without seeming lazy] -- it doesn't matter who gets it done [Tom from accounting, a Mexican, Beetlejuice], and you're more likely to get a lot of help if you offer your fun stuff.
This holds true for your home life, too -- you can delegate a lot more at home than you think you can without losing the things you care about most [the Spice channel].
Five Steps to Being More Productive [Yahoo Personal Finance]