The trick to being productive in 2017...

2016 To Do List

Is wrapping up 2016.

Before moving forward into the New Year, consider finishing up your to-do list in these final days of 2016 and organize your work-area to be ready to start anything next year.

A few things to consider while organizing the spaces you use on a daily basis:

  • Put away everything on your desk and wipe off the surface
  • Pick up all the clutter around your home and find bins/storage for things you want to put away
  • Clean up your car and clean out your trunk
  • Clean out your work bag

Doing these small tasks helps the hippocampus region of your brain and frees it up to focus on more important items, like moving short-term memories into long-term.  I wrote more about this in an earlier post here.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Clear off as many items from your 2016 to-do list as possible

Clear off as many items from your 2016 to-do list as possible

Finally, look back at 2016 and decide what you regret not doing last year. Commit to this in 2017 and do it. Don't let another year go by living with the weight of not doing what is most important to you!

 The Volt Planner is a great notebook tool for 2017 as well.  Check it out  here .

The Volt Planner is a great notebook tool for 2017 as well.  Check it out here.

To help with getting ready for the New Year, I recommend a book by Chris Bailey, The Productivity Project.  Mr. Bailey has demonstrated his knowledge and experience through his blog at http://alifeofproductivity.com/ where he writes about testing all manner of productivity tools and systems. This book is a great summary of the outcomes and worth the money to have only the useful options and examples laid out in an engaging format. 

I appreciate the open source writing style that shows the truth behind how he arrives at his conclusions and take-always. This is what sets this book apart from any other productivity book as this allows the reader to actively learn and retain the most important teachings of the book.

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to free up more time to work on projects they care about.

The Productivity Project is available on Amazon HERE

 Find more information on Rule of 3  here.

Find more information on Rule of 3 here.

I had a chance to ask Mr. Bailey what he thought people should focus on when looking to 2017 and his response hit at the core of his teachings around time, energy, and attention.

I think one of the most powerful ways to accomplish more—whether on a daily basis or in general—is to work more often with intention. My favorite rule for doing this is the Rule of 3—where at the start of every week, as well as at the start of every day, you think forward to what three things you’ll want to have accomplished by the time the day and week are done. We should do this at the start of every year, too. Instead of creating a massive laundry list of things to get done, for 2017, choose just three goals. This will help you separate what’s important from what isn’t to really decide what’s important and meaningful to you.

 

Chris Bailey's latest TEDx talk is a great introduction to his year of productivity experiment.

To help get you started working on your own three goals for 2017, I encourage you to leave a comment below with the things you will be focusing on. As an incentive, I will send a copy of Mr. Bailey's book to one lucky winner chosen at random, to be announced this Friday, Dec. 23rd. I hope this will encourage you to get working on your goals with intention and purpose!  

Cheers and Happy Holidays! 

 

Paper Notebook Gift Giving Guide

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The Holidays are here, and if you need a gift for someone who appreciates quality notebooks, here is a list that may help you make the right choice.

 

Programmer - Code & Quill Hard Cover Origin - $20

To help keep notes and ideas organized, the dual page layout is ideal for professional creatives.  

Code & Quill Origin Notebook

Teacher - Passion Planner - $25-30

From Planners that follow the academic calendar year to Undated Planners, this company has a great line-up of notebooks for teachers.  

College Student - DotDash Pocket Notebooks - $10

Every student needs to write things down eventually, and these are the best-looking pocket notebooks around.  If you are looking for something other than a notebook, the whole lineup of products offered by Nock Co will make anyone look good.

PHOTOGRAPHER - BARON FIG CONFIDANT - $16

As my photography friend, Michael Tallman, told me, "writing down notes from client meetings and conferences is key to keeping track of everything and available." The Baron Fig line up fits well in any bag and are beautiful notebooks. Check out their limited Work/Play II edition.

Traveler -  Midori Travelers Notebook - $38

This is the gold standard in travel notebook sets, and it has developed a huge fan base to help show how to use this simple system. For a primer on this, Jet Pens has a good resource here.

COLLEGE PROFESSOR - APPOINTED NOTEBOOKS - $24

As most professors have a need for spiral bound notebooks, these are the one they have been looking for.  They look amazing, have great quality paper, and lay open while lecturing.  

Appointed Notebook

Children - LEGO Moleskine Notebook - $24

Gifts that don't require batteries are a great option, and this is one that they can literally build on with the lego board on the front.  It also helps hold the LEGO pen!  

Bullet Journal Junkie - Original Bullet Journal Notebook - $25

Most BuJo users are always looking for the best notebook, and the top pick is always Ryder's original notebook made by Leuchtturm. The alternative is a dot grid or square grid Leuchtturm1917 on Amazon.

Bullet Journal Leuchtturm1917

Entrepreneur - Hatch Notebook - $25

If you know of someone that comes up with some great ideas for new products, they need a place to keep them all organized.  Enter Hatch, the brilliant and beautifully designed notebook system.  The creators just had a great Kickstarter campaign, and the result is a wonderful notebook that is easy to use and fill with good and sometimes bad ideas :)

Hatch Notebook

Engineer - Rhodia Dot Pad - $10

Every engineer I have ever met likes to have everything in order, and well-made.  The Rhodia notepads are a perfect tool for any mechanical, chemical or electrical engineer due to their amazing paper and overall construction.

Rhodia Notebook

CEO - Levenger Circa - $42

Levenger is the standard when it comes to office supplies for executives. Their folios and briefcases are as common as BMWs but many chiefs don't have the notebook to accompany them on a daily basis. 

Outdoorsman/Woman - Rite in the Rain Notebook - $7

Water and paper don't mix. Unless you have this notebook. This paper is magic for how well it holds up. This is a must for any hunter, fisher, or backpacker. 

Blogger - Commit30 Notebooks - $20-29

The Commit30 Idea Journal or Planner can help your blogging or podcasting friends stay focused and set goals to get their new content completed by setting real deadlines.

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Reporter/Journalist - Field Notes Front Page - $13

Designed by Field Notes with John Dickerson, (host of CBS Face the Nation) this is an updated design to the classic reporter's tool. 

Beer Drinker - Brewers Passport - $24

Drinking beer is a physical action, not a digital one.  So it makes sense to pull out a notebook and pen instead of a phone.  This notebook is a good resource for identifying flavors and ingredients, and goes beyond the untapped app to help remember exactly what you liked about the beer.

Brewers Passport

Writer/Author - Composition Notebook - $2

It isn't about quality for first drafts, it is just about getting it down on paper.  Designer Michael Bierut has an impressive collection that holds all his random thoughts.  If you want to splurge for the new upgraded version currently on Kickstarter, check out comp for $19.

Comp by Aaron Fay

Gadget/Tech Geek - RocketBook Wave - $27

For your friend that doesn't use notebooks, this is one they will be interested in.  First, it is connected to an app that can scan and upload the pages to many different cloud services (dropbox, evernote, google docs and more..) Second, you can wipe it clean by microwaving it!  Find out more here, and they also have a new version on Kickstarter.

Everyday Carry/Survival - Field Notes Kraft 3 pack  - $10

For the guy you know that carries everything in his pockets, he is going to need more of these notebooks.  Just trust me...or the folks over at everydaycarry.com.

 

If I missed anything, or you have other suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Mike