I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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Editor’s Note: I’ve been a fan of Glenn Wolsey, a young up-and-coming blogger for quite some time. I’m still amazed he’s 15 years old! I’ve asked Glenn to contribute a guest post to this fine blog. And here he is with his five favorite productivity tips.

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Glennwolsey.com (RSS)
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1. Set times & plan your day

Not many people are going to work well without some structure. Waking up in the morning without any sense of direction for what needs to be done, or what you’re going to do that day is a recipe for disaster.

Start scheduling or setting daily milestones. If you don’t work best on a “hour based plan'”such as writing a guest article from 1PM to 2PM, set milestones for the day–one guest blog post, two blog posts on my personal site, complete client design, etc.

2. Keep an organized to-do list

When you’re juggling half a dozen projects at once, you’re just asking for trouble by keeping a to-do list in your head. Don’t you want to be able to sit down in the evening and have a few worry-free hours from your workload? If you’re not keeping a to-do list somewhere other than in your head, you’ll be heading straight for burnout.

The solution is simple. Buy a moleskin notebook or pop open TextEdit on your computer, then spurt out all the tasks and actions you need to achieve. Don’t worry about the order, just pump out everything that needs doing. Once these are on paper, focus on organizing them. It’ll feel much better having a visual action list you can look at to see what needs to be done.

3. Set goals & milestones

In addition to your newly developed to-do list, start setting goals and milestones. For instance, if you have a blog, a goal might be publishing 5 entries per week for four weeks straight, while a milestone might be hitting 2,000 readers via your RSS feed.

Goals are very important, not enough people set them. I for one have set goals to keep me focused, to keep me looking straight and ahead, and they are perfect to use as motivation for something to work toward.

4. Disconnect yourself from the outside world

This falls under focusing on a single task. When you’re writing, the last thing you need is to be distracted by Twitter messages, or emails. It disrupts your overall flow and makes starting your piece again hard to do. On occasion, one simple email can ruin hours of your work day.

You don’t have to close your email program, practice ignoring notifications. If you hear the new email sound ignore it, keep working, and keep in the flow.

5. Focus on a single task

Multi-tasking can be fun, and can be rewarding. You think you’re getting a lot done at once, killing two birds with one stone when all you’re really doing is dragging out both tasks longer. Spend some time on a single task or project and focus. Don’t try to write an article while also dealing with marketing related emails. Keep them separate. When you’re doing, one ignore the other–allowing you to work more quickly and efficiently in the long run.

Glenn Wolsey is a freelance content creator from New Zealand. His personal blog (RSS) features articles on topics such as technology, photography, and blogging. He also has a community based video show which can be viewed on iTunes or YouTube.

11 Comments

  • Julian Schrader

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    9:55 am

    All I read today somehow relates to you –” first of all, your own blog, next the interview with Shawn Blanc and now your guest post here. Everything’s got quality –” I like to read your stuff, keep it up!

  • Joel Ciprianno

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    11:45 am

    I follow these steps every day. I remain myself organized and in the end of the day I obtain to finish all my tasks.

    Some times are difficult. It is easy if to distract with the Internet :)

    Congratulations Glenn :)

  • Jon

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    4:18 pm

    To do lists are vital – I would recommend using something like TaDa lists or Backpack from 37 signals – they are easy to use and work very well.

  • Jason

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    7:46 pm

    I think the hardest part is to remain completly focused. That requires a lot of dedication!

  • Emerson Whitfield III

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    8:10 pm

    Great article, I am a journalism student and newbie blogger. I read this and truly thought it was very on topic, concise and insightful. Thanks Glenn and congrats on your guest post. Keep up the good work.

  • Patrick Allmond

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    8:42 pm

    Not bad ideas… but in the future can you have more depth?

  • Tim Neilen

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    8:46 pm

    [quote]can be viewed on iTunes or YouTube.[/quote]

    these links are the wrong way around, itunes points to youtube and youtube points to itunes.

  • susa

    gravatarAug 20, 2007
    9:43 pm

    Ok, but that’s pretty f*cking boring, eh? Havent we heard it a million times? It’s common sense. When I see a list with a title like that I expect that there will be something new or interesting or presented in a new way or SOMEthing…not just this stuff…if I could do that I wouldn’t look at a list about it. Sorry, but that is L A M E.

  • michael

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    3:50 pm

    Glen, I thought your list was helpful and provacotive! Susa might have saved the comment! Who needs negative people. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve been thinking a great deal about my own lack of productivity. I think it all starts with having passion for your endeavor. I personally lack the passion I’d like in my work. As a consequence, I find myself performing at levels well below my abilities.

    I’ve identified this issue and yet, I am stuck. I make a good buck and I’d like to create a more interesting work environment. I’d appreciate your feedback.

  • Evans

    gravatarDec 9, 2008
    1:36 pm

    Hey bro i have to do a big assighnment on Productivity and your stuff is very impressive i was hoping i could have your permission to use bits and pieces of it. I would greatly appreciate it thanks a ton zack

  • Prince O

    gravatarFeb 3, 2009
    1:40 am

    I am really impressed on your 5 steps to greater productivity, i will need more on productivity cos oi want to realy work on myself this month to attain a greater productive standard