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The Delicate Art of Doing Everything – A Guide (Part 1 of 2)

September 12, 2014

No matter which type of worker you are, we all have times of peak productivity and times of absolute lethargy. We all work in different ways, some are early risers, and some are night owls, but we all must learn to attain competence in the delicate art of ‘doing everything’.

Below I will explore some of the different working personalities, and offer some insights, tips and app recommendations for ‘getting everything done’.

The Night Owl
Reaching peak productivity – only after everyone else is in bed!

Start using sleep strategically. Various authors on the subject recommend going completely without sleep several times a month. There is an efficiency loss of stopping work midstream, whereby pulling an all-nighter can help you compress the whole phase of a project into a single work session.

App Tips:
Gmail extension Right Inbox will let you schedule your emails for the next day, while Buffer will do the same for your social media updates.

The Early Bird
Finding your peace and your most productive hours in the first slice of the day!

Spend these most quiet hours on your most high-value tasks. Wake up and throw 90 minutes straight at the biggest job (your “frog”) for the day.

App Tip:
Fantastical lets you scroll through a full-day view of your tasks, while Carrot offers prizes for completing tasks and reprimands you if you fall behind!

The Multitasker
You wish your mobile browser could handle more than 10 open windows – and your laptop is never fast enough!

Try to focus on one thing at a time. There is no such thing as multitasking. If you’re doing a lot at once, there is absolutely no doubt you are missing some details.

App Tip:
IFTTT lets you create automatic actions between apps, such as sending an introductory email when you save a new phone or LinkedIn contact. Wunderlist lets you create limitless task lists.

The Monotasker
Multi-tabbing is your enemy, you hate notifications, and you get in up to your neck in one task at a time

Being focused is great – sitting all day isn’t. Get up, take a walk every hour or so. Make your meetings stand-up meetings. Monotasking is great for execution, but horrible for generating ideas.

App Tip:
Rescue-Time will let you temporarily block websites you deem distracting and alerts you if you spend too much time on certain tasks. AwayFind will stop your daily barrage of email notifications, except for ones that include senders/keywords you set as urgent.

In Part Two, we will explore more ‘working personalities’ and offer the practical and technological tips to help you succeed.

*Inspired by Fast Company article The Art of Doing Everything

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