Getting More Productive With Cheat Sheets
Posted on February 12, 2013
I remember back in 2007 there was a study done by The University of Calgary on procrastination and how it has increased in today’s society. The lead on the project was Professor Piers Steel, who said that in the 1970’s about 20% less people considered themselves chronic procrastinators. A figure that has increased along with our significant boost in personal technology.
Being that I have always been someone who puts things off myself, and then panics to reach a deadline, I have to say I agree with Professor Steel when he says that something has to be done. The study stuck so firmly in my mind that I tried to do something in my own life to lower the impact lack of focus has on my life.
Creating personal cheat sheets are a great way to get past this little problem in any area. Now I am a compulsive list maker, and I use it as a guide on what I have to do next. Seeing the next item right there before my eyes makes it easy to move through my workload and tick everything off, one by one. Which keeps me from losing concentration and so productivity.
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Here are some tips on creating and using cheat sheets for productivity:
When you know what needs to be done first, and what can wait until last, it is easier to manage your time. You should always take a few minutes to make sure your list is properly prioritized when you are writing it, even if it takes a bit of tweaking.
Find tasks to combine.
When you have a cheatsheet you might find a couple of items that you can do in combination with something else so you have more time to spare. For example, I am a part of a book club, but finding time to read can be difficult no matter how much I love to. So I started getting books on tape and listening to them as I workout and do housework. Or I save laundry until after work, when I am watching a show and trying to unwind. Or I get all professional correspondences done in the morning when I am having my first cup of coffee.
Get into a routine.
Once something becomes a habit, it is much easier to sort your life out to include it. If you get up every morning and do the same things at the same time every day, then you will be prepared for it and more likely to efficiently move through it. Have a routine and try not to deviate too often. It will help you stay on track.
Stick with little changes.
When you are creating your cheatsheet, ignore the impulse to go all out at once and completely reorganize your life and get productive. It won’t be maintainable in the long run, and may be more stress than it is worth to try. Instead, try making tiny little changes every week. For example, work in a ten minute workout video during your lunch break, or forty-five minutes of uninterrupted work without checking your Facebook account each day. Over time, you will be able to increase your mini goals and you will be surprised by how they add up.
How do you prefer to make your life’s cheat sheets? Let us know in the comments.