3 ways to drastically improve your productivity

We’ve got a great guest post from Amir Salihefendic, founder of Todoist and clearly a productivity ninja at heart! Why not try Todoist to organise your weekly checklist

Productivity is a decision that you make. Even a productivity tool such as Todoist will not automatically increase your productivity if you don’t use it correctly or keep bad habits such as postponing or even incorrect structuring of tasks. If you’ll follow these 3 simple rules:

  • all your tasks will appear much simpler,
  • you will get things done as soon as they should be done, not whenever you feel like it’s time to complete them,
  • you will never miss tasks that couldn’t be completed for some reasons.

Break everything into sub-tasks

It’s easy to make a phonecall, it’s easy to book hotels, it’s easy to pay a fee… but is it easy to “prepare a venue”? If you set it as just one task, it may seem very difficult, but breaking it down into smaller steps will make almost everything seem trivial and the time you invest into create such structure will certainly pay off.
You already do this every single day. Would you agree if someone asked you to work 2,000 hours? Probably not, but this is the average time people work every year, but it doesn’t feel that bad if you only work a couple of hours per day achieving smaller goals on the way.
Todoist - sub-tasks

Never postpone tasks

Of course sometimes there are legitimate reasons to do so, but most of the time, postponing a task will lead to a decrease of productivity for a couple reasons:

  1. A task never becomes overdue – so every day you repeat the decision to “handle it”, often through postponing it again and again.
  2. You justify your decision – often the decision to work on something is more difficult than the work itself and clicking on “postpone” is a decision that’s quickly done and give you the impression that you’ve “handled” a task.
  3. You develop a bad habit – people are learning machines and as much as the first time you postpone a task can make you feel bad, over time you’ll get used to it. It will be OK to do it, you’ve done it many times and nothing happened.

TIP! Postponing a task always decreases your Karma, but you can keep tasks overdue by even 3 days and it will not affect your Karma score.

Always include “overdue” in your search

If you won’t postpone your tasks, some will become overdue and that’s fine… if you learn to treat such tasks correctly and most importantly – find them. Todoist includes overdue tasks by default as you click on the “today” link, but remember to always include overdue tasks to every other custom search or filter you create.
Treat these tasks as highest priority. Seeing that there’s something you haven’t completed on time will be a bitter reminder of your bad habits, but there’s an easy way to avoid it – simply complete the task. This way, you’ll never reach a situation in which you’ll have tasks postponed so many times that you start to forget their original deadline.

Try to follow these rules for some time, maybe just for a month, and see how your workflow improves. You have nothing to lose other than bad habits.


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