9 Ways To Escape Productivity Backlog

9 Ways To Escape Productivity Backlog

You’ve got a list as long as your arm. Everything is building up and more is being put on your plate. Here are 10 ways to prevent a backlog that you just can’t get out of.


Mind Dump

Almost literally, if only there was a place where you could actually dump your mind. Figuratively though this is getting it all out, getting it all down, and getting your mindful slate clean. It might be a long list but this is an important first step. The reasoning being that if you are keeping all of this in your head you’ll be constantly bombarded with reminders from your memory to stress out about what you’ve got to remember to do. Getting it all down will take much of this stress away, although if you’ve a lot to do the benefit may not be immediately obvious.


Now Organise

There’s no wrong or right way to organise your tasks as from one list to the next they will all differ. However there are some everyday trends that you can apply to any list to get it organised;

Context –where do the jobs need to be done? Home, Office, Town? Use software to assist you in making lists so that you can reference them only at the time they are relevant. For example when you get home from work look at your home list – this will be far smaller than the overall list that will include your work tasks. It helps to get the mind focussed on the right tasks.

Due Date – Organise from earliest to latest completion date (or past deadlines!)

Priority – regardless of due date, some tasks will just be more important than others, or will just take more time. Tackle the highest priority tasks first if you can. Higher priority tasks will be weighing heavier on your mind as well so you should feel more relief once some of these are complete.

Motivation – if possible consider if there are any tasks that you can complete when tired or demotivated versus those tasks where you need to be at your best. You will have times where you just don’t feel like doing anything, but if you know there are one or two really menial tasks to complete you can usually knock these off at the worst of times.


Batch Process

Get yourself into the zone by grouping similar tasks together to allow you to complete them more quickly than you could if you were switching from one job to another. You’ll also benefit from ticking off a batch of tasks in one go, which is immensely satisfying.


No Distractions

It’s simple, keep it quiet and focussed. Disconnect from the internet and mobile phones if the task doesn’t require it, and even if you like music in the background, avoid TV & Radio as your mind will be tuning into these subconsciously.


2 Minute Rule

If, when you write your list, you uncover tasks that can take less than 2 minutes to complete, then do them there and then. Don’t put it off as it will never get done. This is especially relevant to emails, many can be dealt with and putting them off just makes the inbox worse.

The 2 minute rule can also apply to giving yourself a good start. Just set off with completing two minutes only on a big task and you’ll be surprised how many times you’ll find yourself still going strong 30 minutes later.


Empty Your Inbox

There’s two ways to do this, and either can work. Go through all your emails and deal with them one by one, unsubscribe from pestering spam and get the inbox under control. The other way is to just take the plunge and delete all. It’s a bold step, but one way of looking at it is that if they weren’t of critical importance in the first place then you wouldn’t have been able to ignore them for weeks on end. Additionally if something is critical, someone will remind you soon enough!


Listen To Your Body

We have good times and bad times throughout the day that are just our natural rhythm of energy and lethargy. By learning when you are likely to be up and likely to be down you can plan when you’ll be best suited to what tasks. Don’t push yourself too hard as you’ll end up making a mistake and procrastinate.


Use Decision Trees To Make Decisions

Decision making, or rather, no decision making can take up large swathes of our time. Consider making a decision tree with all the variables and results laid out before you. You’ll rattle through the pro’s and con’s and will be able to move on far more quickly.


Public Accountability

Make a statement about what you are going to achieve. Link office tasks with a coffee break with a work buddy. Tweet or Facebook what you are going to achieve that day – by making it public you’ll push yourself to achieve your goals rather than face your peers with a dropped head.


Header Image Credit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>