Working Smart


Productivity isn’t about becoming a robot.  It’s about focusing when it’s time to focus, getting work done and having them to do the things you want to.


Here are some tips to help your time focused thinking:

  1.   Know Where You Spend Your Time

Do you end the day wondering where the time went and what you failed to achieve?  You may think you have been focused on your work for hours a day, when you are really spending more time than you realise on social media, news or shopping sites (Kiwis check Facebook alone 14 times a day on average and that adds up to a whopping 50 minutes a day).

Why not find out exactly how you spend your time, keep an honest log, so that you can adjust your habits.


  1.   Block Distracting Websites

If you’ve logged your time and are not happy with the results, you may need to lock up distracting websites.  We often look for distractions when the thinking gets tough.  Having a coffee or taking a short walk might help you solve a problem.  Engaging in distracting tasks will probably not help.  If you have trouble staying away from distracting websites, you’re not alone.  That’s why there are so many apps that will block social media or any sites that you specify for a specific amount of time.

WasteNoTime (  is a browser extension that has a time quote feature to block selected websites for a preset amount of time each day.  Don’t forget that you’ll have to put your phone in a drawer to remove all distractions.


  1.   Batch Two-Minute Tasks

Do you have a build-up of small two-minute tasks that you move from one list to another because they will never become your highest priority?  Eventually they may drop off your list.

Knowing you need to complete those small tasks can become a mental burden when you add them up.  So, do a mind map as a note-taking tool.  Then batch those tasks together and get them all done.


  1.   An Alternate Two Minute Rule

There’s another two-minute rule floating around that you might prefer.  If something takes less than two minutes, do it in the minute that the tasks arises, and you won’t even have to write it down, e.g. answering e-mails.


  1.   Capture Notes in One Place

Do you have post-in notes stuck all over your desk and even yourself?  Select an app like Evernote.  It’s a real bonus to have all your notes in one place.

Some alternative note taking apps include:


  1.   Declutter Your Desk

A cluttered desk is a sign of creativity.  Yeah right!  I’ve added this although I am not well known as an exponent of a clutterless work area.  However, many people in creative fields have clutterfree work areas as they say it encourages innovation.  In fact, some productivity experts say that every bit of clutter takes up a little mind space.  So, try decluttering your desk at the end of every day for one week.  See if it makes a difference in your level of clarify.

I’ll start tomorrow