Do you want a successful life?
Or do you want a peaceful life?
What if you can have both?
Today, I’ll share five ideas about worry-free productivity from a variety of sources. These ideas are effective enough by themselves. But in combination, they become powerful.
Let’s go over each of them.
The Ivy Lee Method
Forget about the latest gadgets and apps. Instead of increasing your productivity, they distract you. Our first idea comes from a productivity consultant from 100 years ago.
The Ivy Lee Method is simple.
- Determine the six most important tasks on a given day.
- Prioritize them according to their importance.
- Work on the most important task on your list until it’s complete. Don’t switch to another task.
- When the task at hand is complete, start the next task on your priority list.
- Repeat the steps 3 and 4 until all tasks on your list are complete or your working day is over.
- At the end of the day, move the incomplete tasks to the next day and prepare a list for the next day.
This is such a simple yet effective method.
Having only six tasks on your list gives you peace of mind and confidence that you can complete them.
If you have more than six tasks on a given day, try to batch them together, so that you have only six batches per day.
You avoid losing time by not switching between tasks. Having a single task completed at the end of the day is much better than having six tasks started but none of them finished.
How to decide on the six tasks of the day?
The second idea comes from a 70-year-old book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Don’t let the age of this book and its simple title mislead you. This book is full of wisdom and useful ideas. My favorite idea in this book is day-tight compartments.
Suppose that you determined your most important six tasks for a given day. Does it make sense to think and worry about the days after today? No, it doesn’t. That’s what the day-tight compartments are all about.
You focus on what you have to do today and don’t worry about what comes after today. You take it one day at a time.
If ideas and problems pop up during the day, just write them down and move on, unless they are emergencies. I use Evernote for this purpose. I write down ideas and problems on a backlog note.
I go over my backlog once a week to prepare the plan for the next week. Once the weekly plan is made, I don’t need to worry about future anymore.
Peace of Mind Comes from Doing What Needs to Get Done
Peace of mind doesn’t come from recklessness. It doesn’t come from ignoring your responsibilities. It doesn’t come from indulging in distraction or entertainment. They’ll only increase your worries.
If you want to reach a peaceful mental state, you need to develop your willpower to do what needs to get done. How to do that? I recommend reading the following posts to improve the execution of your plans.
- Optimize the Execution of Your Plans with This Simple Exercise
- The Overlooked Variable of Time Management
Let’s say you determine and complete your most important six tasks every day and you’re still worried. In that case, I recommend the letting go exercise from the book Letting Go by David Hawkins.
I quoted Hawkins’s original explanation in the post Using Emotional Intelligence to Overcome Your Dysfunctional Patterns.
It comes down to staying with the emotions without trying to suppress them, escape from them, change them, or invest more mental energy into them.
Emotions will come and go, but if you resist them or invest more mental energy into them, you’ll reinforce them. If you don’t do that, their power will decrease over time.
The Power of Now
Eckhart Tolle and his book the Power of Now became popular a decade ago for a good reason.
The Power of Now can be misunderstood. It can be interpreted as avoiding your responsibilities and indulging in pleasure. I don’t think this is what Eckhart Tolle meant in his book.
The ideas in Tolle’s book are more in line with the views in the book Letting Go. If you let go of all the distracting emotions like worries, you can be 100% present in the moment.
Imagine what you can achieve if you can concentrate that kind of presence on the task at hand. Imagine how your relationships would be like if you were 100% present with your loved ones. Imagine how fulfilling your life would be if you savored every moment of your life.
That is what I understand from the Power of Now. In this context, it can be a significant boost to your productivity.
Being at peace and productive aren’t mutually exclusive. On the contrary, peace of mind increases your productivity, and productivity increases your peace of mind.
Time management methods like the Ivy Method increase your productivity. Ideas like day-tight compartments, letting go, and being present in the moment increase your peace of mind.
If you apply these ideas in combination, they create synergy and amplify the effects of each other. As a result, you boost your productivity and peace of mind at the same time.