This is the third and final post where we interviewed a number of experts in personal productivity, time management and organization. I wanted to thank everyone who participated and also thank Leo at ZenHabits for putting together the list of 50 Productivity Blogs back in April which gave me a great starting point for these interviews.
The first question we asked had to do with identifying the biggest way people waste time without realizing it. The second gave the experts a chance to share the single change that has had the biggest results in terms of being effective.
The third and final question was:
If someone were to read just one post from your site, which would you recommend the read and why?
Read on for links to what they consider their best content.
Just one? Shoot. How about “The unspoken language of…” The Febreze part still makes me laugh! :-)
Brendon Connelly from Slacker Manager (rss)
Brendon’s post is a humorous look at some of the body language you see around the office–well some of it I’ve never seen around my office, but depending on where you work…
Give your résumé a face lift. Its the most popular post on the blog, and I love it because anyone with Microsoft Word can transform their résumé from drab to fab in less than an hour
Chanpory Rith from LifeClever (rss)
This post is incredible useful. Chanpory shows you how to transform a typical resume into a well designed masterpiece. He also includes a template that can be used for your own resume.
The post “Getting Things Done and the Weekly Review” is probably my “flagship” post, as it details how I manage my Weekly Review for my GTD practice. It also provides an opportunity for my readers to download the Review Checklists, tools that I use to stay on track and keep the workflow moving. It also is an extension of my core philosophy of being prepared, taking a disciplined approach to planning your activities, and keeping your appointments (especially with yourself).
From the introduction:
The Weekly Review has real power, the power to heal your mind and let you get your things done. Left undone, life and work come at you too fast for your overloaded mind to keep up. Once again you will find yourself overwhelmed, surrounded by “opportunities to excel” . When you are surrounded by things that need to get done, tasks to be accomplished and calls to be returned, you can get the feeling that you have nowhere to turn. Without a coherent plan you will have no way to decide what choice to make, and then the feeling that any choice is the wrong one will leave you paralyzed, only to submerge beneath the waves of tasks and responsibilities.
So what do you do? What’s the next action?
Stephen Smith from HD BizBlog 1.2 (rss)
If you follow GTD you’ll probably find these PDF checklists useful for your workflow.
10 Tips to help keep your desk clean: This is one of the most popular of my posts. I believe it’s a quick and easy way for people to control the physical mess on the desktop and make a good start towards being more productive. Besides, something’s got to clean up Ian’s Messy Desk ;)
Ian McKenzie from Ian’s Messy Desk (rss)
Some great tips for keeping a tidy desktop. Ian cites a statistic that says people usually have 36 hours worth of stuff to do on their desk and spend an average of 3 hours per week just looking for things. (If you like Ian’s post, you might also enjoy my tips on organzing your desk.
This one post led to a daily habit of working in a focused manner for 48 minutes and then taking a 12 minute break. I do this every morning while blogging and also implement it during the day when I really need to get something done. It’s simple and it really works.
I also have a free downloadable Goal Setting Toolkit that is very helpful for implementing the 48 minute plan in your life
John Richardson from Success Begins Today (rss)
This post discusses a nice system for organizing your work around goals. It is worth taking a look at–particularly the downloadable “goal cards”.
That’s a tough question. It all depends on what you’re interested in. Without knowing anything about you, I’d recommend “5 Simple Ways to Make the Most of Your Intelligence“. It contains some great ways to make the most of your brain power that apply to everyone.
John Wesley from Pick the Brain: An Analytical Approach to Self Improvement (rss)
Some nice thoughts on how to “get the most out of your gray matter”. If you like the post be sure to read the follow up post as well.
How to Create a Place of Power. Lately I’ve realized the secret to creating ultimate success must come from your ability to lead, and the ability to lead comes from your ability to make yourself feel good about yourself and your life first, even if the world doesn’t give you permission to do so.
Alvin Soon from Life Coaches Blog
Alvin describes what he calls Creating a Place of Power as a solution to empowering yourself.
Setting Goals So You Actually Accomplish Them –
Though technically this is a series rather than just one post, it’s something I’ve been asked about the most. So many people struggle with how to get goals effectively, I wanted to share the process I use that has helped me be successful for years.
Tony D. Clark from Success from the Nest (rss)
Tony uses his marvelous graphics to illustrate his approach to setting goals in a three part series. The process is designed to make sure that your goals are aligned with your values.
Can I cheat? Habitual Mastery. Technically it is a 5 post series. To this date it is one of the posts I’m most proud of. Basically it teaches you how to change the behaviors that guide your life and it forms one of the core parts of my philosophy.
Scott Young from Scott H Young (rss)
This series looks at how to best manipulate your habits. Scott gives a lot of ideas related to making changes in your life and how to overcome habits that you may want to break.
“What does it mean to be a workplace saint?” Posted on Thursday, June 7. For me, this explains why I blog and what my own professional trajectory has been over the last three years. I felt so strongly about it that it became a post that people responded to in kind fashion.
Mike St. Pierre from The Daily Saint (rss)
This post provides a great introduction to Mike’s blog and talks about the “pillars” of being a workplace saint.
Fifteen Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Your Career
Being productive means finding useful things you can fill your idle moments with. Here are fifteen things you could be doing (instead of reading this blog at work) that will help your career, no matter what project you’re working on at the moment.
Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar (rss)
Trent gives 15 suggestions of things you can do today that will benefit your career. He makes a good point that sometimes we focus so much on the future that we overlook what we could be doing right now.
How to Process Email and Deal with Information Overload
Laura Stack, MBA, CSP from The Productivity Pro(R) (rss)
Laura lists her process for dealing with all the incoming email. The process helps you keep a clean inbox.
Paul’s 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming is one of my favorites. It tackles a question that’s always on our reader’s minds, and it offers insightful answers in fun-size portions. That’s our goal on Wise Bread. We bring you useful money making and managing tips every single day.
Will from Wise Bread (rss)
This post gives 20 indications that you may be about to lose your job presented in a humorous manner. Of course losing your job isn’t humorous, but it is fun to laugh about when you aren’t ready to lose it.
The one that started a series that has elicited the most comments – file drawer organization #1.
Susan Sabo from Productivity Cafe (rss)
Susan’s post walks you through the components of a file system. If you have done any filing, most of the ideas will be familiar, but you’ll probably find a thing or two that stands out as a way to improve your current system.
One of my personal favorite posts (as well as one of the most visited) is How to Make a GTD System for About $20 . One problem that I think pervades the “virgin GTD” crowd is the myriad of possible configurations one can adopt for keeping their tasks and projects in order. This post outlines the most basic tools for making that happen, and for a pretty small price tag.
Brett Kelly from Cranking Widgets (rss)
If you are wanting to implement GTD on the cheap, this is a great post on how to do it. Even if you have some extra cash for the system, you should take a look at this post because it will give you some great ideas.
My suggestion would be my Ultimate Procrastination Guide. Why? Because it’s not just any procrastination guide it’s the ultimate guide :D
James from Organize IT (rss)
James takes a mathematical formula that describes procrastination and uses it as a launching point for a nice discussion of how to overcome the tendency to procrastinate.
Get Your Motivation Moving with Small Steps
This article is my advice on how to chip away at that seemingly impossible task. Take a small step. You’ll get farther than you realized. Plus, this article gives you a flavor of my writing and who I am. Hopefully you’ll want to read more!
Andrew Flusche from Legal Andrew (rss)
Andrew talks about taking small steps toward your task with a story about how he increased his distance riding a purple girls mountain bike.
Managing with Aloha is about values-based management, and bringing what you actually do in alignment with your values. Productivity factors into this big-time, and in the spirit of your productivity theme, my choice would be ‘?pala ‘ole: De-cluttering Work Processes. It talks about what we call the ‘?pala ‘ole Rule in the MWA philosophy, and it releases way more energy than you thought you had, opening up added capacity for you.
Rosa Say from Managing with Aloha (rss)
One of the best parts I liked about this post was what they said about the 10%. Rosa contends that no matter how efficient you are, 10% of your time is spent on things that don’t really add any value. Interesting food for thought.
I recommend visitors of my GTD blog to read my article “5 Tips to Create More Time” because it is a compilation of useful productivity tips that I have learned and successfully implemented in my own life over the years.
And finally, if you are interested in implementing GTD as one of the most important ways to be more productive, I recommend you read my article “10 Simple Tips to Start Getting Things Done“.
gtdfrk from Getting Things Done (rss)
I enjoyed reading the post about how to create more time. It covers 5 things you can do to actually free up time during your day with some great suggestions.
5 Reasons Why Relationships Should be Your Top Priority. Sometimes we are so obsessed with other things that we forget how beautiful it is to love and be loved. The most important thing people need is love (not money nor recognition), and we can get it only through relationships.
Donald Latumahina from Life Optimizer (rss)
Donald reminds us that getting lots of work done while letting our relationships go South is a waste of time because we won’t accomplish anything truly important.
Gosh, they’re all so good… :-) A nice starting point might be my “GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist“. It lists some behaviors that, when fully adopted, take many people to the next level of effectiveness. For continuous self-improvement, readers might enjoy “A key to continuous learning: Keep a decision log“.
Matthew Cornell from Idea Matt (rss)
Matthew’s checklist is a great read if you are trying to follow GTD. It is pretty extensive and gives you a lot of good places to checkup on your system.
My Productivity Whitepaper (What I like to call Org-fu)
This describes my system very well along with all of the tools I use, strategies and methodology. It is a long read and I have changes some of the tools I use since I wrote it but it still captures the essence of what works for me. It was my hope in writing it that it would spur others to develop and talk about their systems so that some collective knowledge would help everyone.
Patrick Rhone from Patrick Rhone (rss)
Patrick’s post is a very detailed look at the system he uses to implement GTD. It is pretty extensive and full of idea that will be useful even if you aren’t a GTD practitioner.
Hrm… that’s a toughie. We cover lots of topics over at LifeDev, but I think a great recent “flagship” article would be the Morning Person Tester: Are You Working at the Wrong Time?. I like to write about personal experiences from my own productivity (with a twist of humor). I also get pretty hot-and-bothered talking about GTD, but you can dig around the site for more on that. ;)
Glen Stansberry from LifeDev (rss)
Glen’s post is a very insightful look at the way he shifted his day around to work when he is most productive.
21 links to start with GTD
Frank Meeuwsen from What’s the Next Action (rss)
Frank’s post has 21 links to articles he has written about GTD. There is a lot of content here for people looking to improve or start the GTD system.
This post is about having the guts to change your job. Our jobs are highest cause of stress and biggest cause of unhappiness in our lives. I think we really have to look at this and do something about it, take the power away from the employer and gain our own energy back, we do have a choice, it’s just having the balls to do it that will determine which choice we make.
Steven Aitchison from Change Your Thoughts (rss)
Steven has a nice process for deciding if you should change jobs. He also makes some good points about how people feel like they can’t quite when they really can.
Making Memorable Voicemail Greetings
This one gets the most traffic and is the most practical tip I have. It can save you time, make you more memorable, and help you make it great, all in one!
Phil Gerbyshak from Make It Great! (rss)
I really liked this post where Phil tells you how to create great voicemail message that people will remember. His method has just the right blend of professionalism with humor.
ThinkBuying – Because letting go of clutter isn’t enough to make your life better. You also have to stop acquiring clutter. Understanding how our marketing culture affects us and how manipulation of our impulsive tendencies leads to excessive clutter as well at distraction, disorganization, stress, and even poor health, can make a huge impact on productivity AND on our quality of life. Learning to resist impulsiveness starts with becoming aware of how we are being encouraged to form impulsive habits and then learning to avoid the triggers. My post doesn’t provide all the answers but it does point to some excellent resources.
Ariane Benefit from Neat Living (rss)
Ariane talks about our responsibility as consumers to spend money with companies who share our values. She looks at some of the ways advertising is changing society.
The Time Management 101 post combines the best ideas from the site.
Rosemary Hon from Daily PlanIt (rss)
Rosemary’s post is kind of like a syllabus that covers her view on time management with supporting links to articles from her site and others.
Making the financial sacrifice to get what you want – The reason is that oftentimes people think that things are out of reach when in fact if they are willing to reorganize and give up some things they don’t NEED to live, they can often have what they want.
David from My Two Dollars (rss)
David shows how your goals may be closer to your grasp than you realize. He outlines the steps his family took to be able to live on the beach in California.
I think my most thought-provoking (at least to me) post was about how buying a skidoo changed my perspective on winter. I like to think about this often and try to relate it to my work/research.
GTD Wannabe from GTD Wannabe (rss)
THis is a worthwhile read about how to deal with things you don’t like. In the author’s case: winter.
I would recommend the GTD Primer. I will say up front that it will never replace reading the book itself. But for one who is looking for a summary, this is a good read. Michael did a great job on it.
Jason Echols from Blackbelt Productivity (rss)
This is a great way to help you get familiar with GTD. If you want a good introduction to see if the book is worth your time, check this collection of posts out.
The most important tips on my site, and my overall philosophy, is contained in a single post I wrote recently (which also happens to be my most popular post ever): Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity. If you want to know what my site is about, and only have a few minutes, read this post.
Leo Babauta from Zen Habits (rss)
This is a great post that covers a wide range of Leo’s writing. I like how he includes links under each tip to posts where he has explored the concept in greater detail. It is a great read as a checklist for finding areas you can improve or as a detailed read to introduce yourself to a bunch of Leo’s older posts.
Great stuff, thanks!
Mark Shead says
@David – Thank YOU for participating!
These interview posts are awesome! I hope to make your “short list” of bloggers to interview in the future!
Great idea and well done!
Nice job, thanks for putting this together!
One of the manufacturing guys over at Evolving Excellence came to similar conclusions about “information obesity” while thinking about the bizarre regulatory/demand situation that created corn overproduction.