The following is part of a series from Trello, which partnered with business and lifestyle experts to bring inspirational advice to successfully stay on track with your New Year's resolutions. Follow @trello and #readysetgoal for more.
No one knows more about productivity than Tim Ferriss. As an author and early-stage investor, he's opened the doors of productivity to millions with bestsellers like The 4-Hour Workweek.
For those who want to get a productivity boost this year, check out Tim's top recommendations below and sign up to get email updates with more tips.
First thing's first! How should you set your priorities? To set yourself up for productivity success, Tim recommends the following five tips to start your day:
- Start your day by writing down your intentions. Tim recommends the The 5-Minute Journal. Just a few minutes each morning can save you hours of wasting time or scattering your effort each day. Get centered on what truly matters each morning.
- Focus on doing the right things (efficiency) versus doing things well (being efficient). Doing things well does not make those things important. New apps can create more work if you're focusing on the wrong things. Tim recommends The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, the best book on the subject in his opinion.
- When in doubt, the most important to-do is typically the one that makes you the most uncomfortable, often including a chance of rejection, pain, or failure.
- Block out at least 60 minutes in the morning before checking email to work on your No. 1 most important or uncomfortable to-do. Here is Tim's detailed morning routine.
- To borrow from GTD, determine your next physical action for the No. 1 to-do that consumes 20 minutes or less, and then take it. For instance, "Clean up desk" is too broad. It needs to be extremely easy to follow without any decision. In that example, "Type all random to-do scraps into Sticky Notes, and then discard paper" or "Remove all paper, and stack on floor for later scanning into Evernote at 5 p.m." (and then set a reminder) are better.
Once you've determined your most important tasks to accomplish, it's important to remove distractions and get on top of your natural inclination to procrastinate. Tim recommends the following tools:
- To help you focus each time you open a tab in Chrome, check out the Momentum extension.
- For automatic followups and scheduling sends in the future, try Boomerang for Gmail.
- Emailga.me helps Tim process email about 50 percent faster.
- The Pomodoro Technique keeps Tim on task.
- Pu-erh tea and coconut oil upon waking instead of coffee to keep the energy up. Here's Tim's exact prep.
Now that you've removed distraction, Tim recommends the following tools for your work:
- Evernote is Tim's No. 1 tool. He uses it 10-plus times per day. For all research, saving webpages for offline reading, decluttering paper from the house, remembering wine labels, etc.
- For writing specifically, Tim loves Scrivener, the word processor he used when writing his latest books.
- Jumpcut allows users to expand their clipboards to 30-plus copied items ... flow heaven.
- For editorial scheduling, flow, and communications, Tim uses Trello and Slack. "They work together beautifully," he says.
- A newer addition to Tim's "save-my-ass (and time) app list" is Shyp, which he uses for all of shipping. "You have to try it to believe how slick it is," he says.
- For caffeine, the Aeropress, designed by the Stanford engineer behind the Aerobie, is the easiest way to get the perfect cup of coffee.
- Last, to logistics--Uber has "saved my ass more times than I can count," Tim says, whether avoiding long taxi lines at the airport or delivery charges from BestBuy, etc.
There you have it! The secret sauce to making yourself as productive as Tim Ferriss this upcoming year. To get more tips, sign up for the Resolution Solution here.