My Little Personal Productivity Hack – the Path to a Better Life

 In Featured, Industry News, Our Own World

For more than forty years I have suffered from a to-do list that was always longer than the time I had available.

Am I alone with this challenge? I don’t think so.

When I started my own company in 2001, I was convinced that now I would get full control over my to-do list and find a better balance between my activities and my calendar.

Nope, it didn’t happen.

Although I was in full control over what made it to my to-do list, there were still more activities than hours in the day, and the discrepancy kept growing.

It was frustrating and stressing.

I tried all sorts of tools to get a grip, but it made no difference. TimeManager, TimeSystem, Reminders, Trello, Basecamp, Jive, Pomodoro-Technique, The Seven Habits of Highly Succesful People, Getting Things Done, Tony Robbins, Don Miguel Ruiz  – you name it. All great tools, books, and people, but none are a remedy against overcommitment.

A couple of weeks ago I finished a huge project that I had been working on for more than three years and had the pleasure of cleaning up my to-do list and being able to consider what to do next.

Then it struck me.

The Calendar

If I made my calendar my to-do list, then I would be forced to consider how much time each task would require and when I could or should execute them. It is clear that I cannot read a book and write a blog post at the same time. I cannot write a chapter for my next book and review a client report at the same time. I know that I can only do one thing at a time, but it becomes visually more apparent when I have to block hours in the calendar. If someone calls or writes to me for help, I look at my calendar and I am forced to decide what I will forego if I accept a new commitment.

I have people working for me, and sometimes I can delegate. Delegating requires briefing, follow-up, and reviews. That goes into the calendar too.

Some of my projects require reaching out to people I don’t know to make them do things for me (such as review my books, answer questions, agree to interviews, etc.). Such activities suffered substantially on my to-do list, and I kept procrastinating. Now, I allocate an ample block of time for each call – and now they get done – on time.

I still use a collaboration tool for the stuff I delegate (www.producteev.com), but I have skipped my to-do list and replaced it with my calendar. Just the standard Google Calendar linked to the calendar apps on my MACs, iPhone, and iPad. I have allocated blocks of time to manage my activities (now time-blocks in my calendar)  and check them against my objectives and strategy.

This approach works wonders for me.

Would it work for you?








Hans Peter Bech
Hans Peter Bech is an Amazon bestselling author. He is a frequent blogger on issues related to growing information technology companies to global market leadership and has written several books and numerous whitepapers on business development in the IT industry. Hans Peter also facilitates workshops for the TBK Academy® and is an advisor for governments and companies. He holds a M.Sc. in macroeconomics and political science from the University of Copenhagen. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/hanspeterbech
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