Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

Secrets to Productivity

Life is busy, there is always more work to be done no matter who you are or what you do.  So how do you keep yourself productive and happy?  After more than a year and a half of being out on my own and having to motivate and discipline myself, I’ve realized something very important: I actually do more work than I give myself credit for.

Time flies.  I remember weeks and months when I look back and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.  You never finish everything that you want to do – and that can get very discouraging very quickly.  Here’s my secret to combating this:  Write everything down.


This is nothing more than the time-tested-teacher-approved todo list.  Here’s what I do differently.  It’s so simple anyone can do it:

  • Write down EVERYTHING – Make a list of all the things you need/want to do.  Not matter how small.  Keep this list in a place that you can reference anytime and all the time.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.  I just use iCal.  Right from the get-go you’ll feel a huge sense of freedom and security since don’t have to keep everything in your head.
  • Make a DIVIDER – This is the core of the secret.  Everyday when you wake up, look at your list.  Now choose the TWO things you really want to accomplish today, put them at the top and draw a line below them.  Don’t be greedy, two is the magic number.  It’s reasonable and achievable.  There usually are good days where you can accomplish more than those two depending on how big those things are, but if you finish two things everyday, you should feel good about yourself.
  • CELEBRATE your successes – we’re so hard on ourselves a lot of times.  Every week take just 30 seconds to look back on the list and review what you’ve done.  Now pick the item that you’re most proud of and take 30 more seconds to sit and embrace that sense of joy for having done what you set out to do.  A great side effect of this is it always helps me answer the “How was your week” question I get every time I see my friends.  Two birds with one stone – awesome.

Hope that helps some of you recapture those precious minutes.  Life is short, make sure you make something out of yours.

The soul of the lazy desires, and gets nothing,
But the desires of the diligent shall be fully satisfied.

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