By, Aaron Sturgill
Summer is here! The students have fled campus and now it’s time to catch up on my to do list…or I could watch this video of baby pandas playing on a slide first. This is the typical inner dialogue going on in my mind most days. Summertime in the CLDC provides a lot of administrative time to catch up on work, that may have fell to the bottom of my priority list during the academic year. The problem with all of this administrative time is that it allows for the mind to wander. When the mind wanders the level of productivity begins to decrease. So, how do I stay on track and reach goals? To maintain high-level productivity and reach my goals here are some strategies/tools I use.
Wunderlist is an app used to create and manage personal or professional tasks. Wunderlist allows you to create to-do lists with due dates, reminders, subtasks and notes. This app will also allow you to collaborate with friends, family, colleagues, etc. by sharing your to-dos. I always have Wunderlist open as I read through emails or attend meetings so that I can quickly add tasks/projects or update deadlines.
Trello is another great task/project manager app that will help keep you organized, stay on track and accountable. The great thing about Trello is the ability to track progress and communicate with others on your team. I am a new to Trello, but can see the benefits of utilizing this when working on group projects.
Evernote is a great tool for note taking and archiving and I use it daily to record important information. The app allows you to record any type of “note”, text, webpages, photos, voice memo, etc. Notes can also have file attachments; they can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched, and exported as part of a notebook.
TIPS and STRATEGIES
At the beginning of each week I set up my to-do list based on deadline and priority. Each morning I review the list and create my daily to-do list. This may seem simply, but by establishing priorities early in the week and day I’m focused on my goals and more mindful of what needs to be finished by the end of the day/week.
As most of my colleagues will tell you, I am obsessed with Crossfit (insert eye roll). I ran across an article in the Crossfit Journal that really had me evaluating how productive I was during the day. The article states, “Studies show that the average American worker spends ten hours a day at the office, yet, after chatting with colleagues, surfing the web, and strolling to the water cooler, accomplishes just one and a half hours of actual work. In other words, 85 percent of the time most people spend at the office goes completely down the drain.” Wasting 85 percent of my day on non-work related meaningless activities is too much! The article suggests applying a popular Crossfit workout format to complete your daily tasks. Tabata is a high intensity interval training method that last for four minutes. In those four minutes you do 20 seconds of work with a 10 second rest for eight rounds. The article suggests taking the eight tasks at the top of your to-do list, do each task for 10 minutes with 5 minute breaks in between. The 5-minute breaks can be used for surfing the web, checking text messages, hitting the water cooler, etc.
A few months ago I ran across this blog as I was doing some reading on how to be more productive personally and professionally. The blog articles focus on living better, being happy and reaching your goals.
Last week, Erika Peyton wrote about the many options for professional growth in the summer – outside of the traditional internship. Pairing Aaron Sturgill’s productivity strategies and tools with those suggestions for growing in your career, can make for a stellar summer experience.
Stay cool Bobcats!