Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ How to Increase Productivity



This morning, I heard an interesting article on time use and efficiency on the local public radio station. You can read the article here. The gist of it was that of the 8 hours most Americans are at work each day, only 5 of it is spend in productive work. Various guests had different solutions for this perceived problem. My favorite was from Teresa Amabile, a Harvard Business School professor. She said that “documenting progress on work, no matter how minor, is by far the most effective tool [to increase productivity].” Just staying motivated, she says, is still the best way to get work done.

Of course, I tried to imagine how this information could be applied to decluttering.

It seems to me that those of you who keep lists of the things you are decluttering, which I did for the first two years, are off to a great start. Every day when you record what you’ve decluttered, you are documenting your progress.

Also I find that making a list of what I want to accomplish each day keeps me focused on those tasks. Crossing off after a job is done is another documentation of progress.

Taking before and after photographs of a cluttered, then uncluttered, space definitely creates motivation and documents progress.

Successfully selling your decluttered items and keeping a record of the money you’ve earned is another doubly positive form of documentation.

Is there some way that you document your progress so that you stay motivated?

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter an unwanted gift ~ No explanation necessary, sell, donate or regift it.

Eco Tip For The Day

Eat at home more often. The food has to be cooked either way but going out to eat usually required driving which wastes fuel.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Am I being nonproductive at work when I read this blog at my desk???? 😉 Absolutely Not! I can declutter at the office too!!

    I am a serious list maker – love taking a big marker and drawing a line through tasks as I get them done.

    • Michelle – I add things to my list during the day, just so they can be crossed off too.

      • Hey Moni – I like to start the list with: “Get out of Bed” and when that is accomplished, boy howdy, do I feel good! 😉

        • Michelle, I get you there. It takes forever for me to drag myself out of bed and then get through the “getting ready for the day” routine.

    • Got to say I have been know to write tasks on the list after I have completed them and then cross them off. This is oddly motivating although probably a little pointless otherwise.

      • I’m all about keeping motivated! If it makes you feel good, do it!

      • I do this too. Often because there are so many things to do I forget to write them down and then at least I can say at the end of the day I did do something, otherwise the list makes me feel like I did nothing! 🙂

      • Colleen, I need to do this as I go along through the day cause at the end of the day I can’t remember what I did and then Mom asks me what she did. Ha.

  2. I didn’t take photos before starting nor did I keep a journal and really, really wish I had. I’ve heard of someone who weighed everything as she decluttered and kept a running total on a board for everyone to see – that would make a good talking point.

  3. I tend to be forgetful about housework , and most things in general, so lists are really necessary for me. Also alarms and reminders regarding ironing, exercise and appointments I find helpful.
    I read a meme somewhere that said ‘ not sure if I have lots of free time, or I have forgotten to do stuff’ I can relate to this!

    • Interesting meme there Wendy – recently I decided to tackle on the jobs on my ‘to do’ list which had been around for months. Afterwards, I kept trying to write my updated list and felt like I had forgotten lots of things – result? The free time I had been aiming for but with a feeling of ‘I’m sure I must have forgot to do something!’. Kind of defeats the point of completing jobs – perhaps I need to learn what its like to have an empty list for once and enjoy the time rather than wandering around trying to ‘invent’ jobs because I’m convinced there should be more! Funny how things work out 🙂

  4. The most effective way for me to stay productive is to plan out what I am going to do each day. That way I have set ideas about how I want to spend my time and I can just work my plan.

  5. I do wish that I would have documented and photographed all that has left my house, but I didn’t. I did not make a list either, but I find that for everything else that needs doing, I do make a list. It keeps me from overlooking what I need to accomplish. I know how much money I have made from things that I have let go of, but more importantly I know that I no longer have to have them as part of my house inventory. One thing I do that helps me is, I try to set mini goals for myself. If I start a donation bag/box at the beginning of the week, I try to fill it up by the end of the week, so that on Saturday I can go to the donation center and drop it off. Also, if I have an area to declutter, I give myself a goal of when I want it completed.

  6. At my workplace we work 8 hour days but it’s generally accepted that only 6.5 hours of that will be in any way useful, so when we’re calculating deadlines and that sort of thing it’s based on a 6.5 hour day. To be honest I think 6.5 hours might be overly ambitious!

    It doesn’t work like that in places where people have to be busy at all times, e.g shop work, restaurants, drivers, but for jobs that mostly require thinking and planning and analysis, it isn’t realistic or even desirable to have people working 100% of the time. A few breaks and distractions (with reason of course!) benefit everyone and make the real work flow better.

  7. Early on in my career I was sent to a Franklin Covey class and was expected to keep a planner. Well I did a good job until they went digital and gave me a blackberry. I eventually had that, a pager, a cell phone and a laptop. To say I was plugged in and available 24/7 would about cover it. I did a good job of planning and doing and staying busier than I wanted to be. When I went on disability I dumped it all. I have a laptop and that is it. I turn it on about 9 AM and off about 5 PM. I don’t use my Kindle for emailing. I use Outlook so that I can set tasks to pop up and remind me of things I need to do. I make a loose list of things that need to be worked on but I set few timelines. It’s sure freeing, less stressful and helps me to not get too caught up in “have to’s.” I do wish I had made a list of the things I have decluttered along with taking more pictures.

  8. I have a List Making Compulsive Disorder hahaha. I always make lists. I actually have a list pad thingy that is headed with “Things to Do if I don’t Die Today!” Keeps me motivated. I have kept lists of what to get rid of and then crossed them off. I actually came across the exercise book I started with, and I read some of them. I honestly couldn’t even remember having the thing I got rid of. Just goes to show how ‘Unimportant “THINGS” are’!!! I have a few pics of things too and I have them roll through as a screen saver on the Comp when I need a little push hahaha. Works for me.

    Now back to the Scrap Room and the GARAGE!! AGAIN!!! have a beautiful day everyone!!! Oh and my Money Tin for-charging-myself-for-getting-rid-of-things – is getting heavy 🙂 🙂 🙂