Over the years, many have used a triangle metaphor to make sense of concepts including the , the Project Management Triangle (cost, time, resources), the Exposure Triangle (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) or the Drama Triangle (hero, victim, villain). I created my own Productivity Triangle to demonstrate that in order to become more efficient and productive, we need simply need to manage our time, tasks and things.
Most of us use some sort of calendar to manage their time and while we are really good at scheduling meetings and appointments with others, we don’t manage the windows in between those meetings as well. At the end of the day or at the start of your day, take a few minutes to time block your entire day with the tasks you need to get done in between your meetings. By doing this, you have a set game plan for the day that you just need to follow. In addition to making sure you get the most important things done, this method also help you reduce or eliminate distractions. (NOTE: Beware of the Bermuda Triangle of Productivity.)
For the most part, we know what tasks need to get done but we don’t use a centralized to-do list. We just wing it and try to get tasks done just in time. As a result, sometimes things fall through the cracks or become a crisis. Try using one central list to keep track of all of your tasks. This makes it easy to remember your tasks, review and prioritize them and then focus on finding time to complete them. Also, don’t try to do everything at once. Pick your top three tasks and get those done before tackling others. I just launched a new task management app called priorigami: the art of productivity to help with this. Try it out!
Last but not least, we need to manage all our stuff. It’s amazing how much time and hassle we can save if we simply find a place for everything. Designate a set place for your keys and put them there as you enter your house. You’ll never have to look for your keys again. If there’s a pile of stuff on your desk, most likely it’s because there isn’t a specific place for some of those things to belong. Create those spaces and you’ll have less clutter and spend less time looking for things.
In future posts, we’ll dig deeper into each of these three dimensions.