A Personal Productivity First-Aid Kit


“By making today great, you can make your life great, because when you take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself.”
John Maxwell, Make Today Count

Life is funny sometimes. It throws you some curve balls; some unexpected punches in the gut even when you’re down. There’s so much stuff in our lives and it’s often very difficult to see the trees from the forest.

There is this perception sometimes, because of what I do, that I have it nailed. I am the ultimate state of Zen, and that I am a black belt in GTD (if such a thing exists). But the reality is that, my productivity system is far from perfect. It has flaws; more accurately stated, I have my flaws. There are mornings where I wake up at 5:30am and realize I don’t have a plan or a good one to start my day, because I had such a long evening the day prior. There are times that my Fridays become so exhausting that I won’t do a weekly review until Sunday night.

When life gets muddy, it is increasingly difficult to find the right motivation; find the right spirit; and find the right drive to push forward and overcome obstacles. I know. I’ve been there. What I have found though, in times like these, is that it is how we deal with these situations that will ultimately set us apart, and help us become a difference maker; both for yourself, your family, and at work.

What I hope to provide you with in this post is a Personal Productivity First-Aid Kit. The kit is for those times when you are down; when life gets you down. The kit helps you see clearly. There’s really no magic to it, really. The kit has just three tools.

First, a motto to tape to your monitor or frame on the wall and stare at it often: “By making today great, you can make your life great, because when you take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself.” These words of John Maxwell were some of the most inspiring words I have read. I read his book, Make Today Count, several years ago, and to this day, I will always remember these words. Why? Because, these words symbolize to me the zen we all try to achieve every day.

The second tool is your hand. Use it to disconnect from your phone, tablet, and computer. Complete a difficult task offline. We often get so distracted by incoming emails, IM’s, tweets, and texts. Allow yourself the ability to finish that report, that presentation, or that client pitch without being distracted. You will feel infinitely better once you do. While you’re offline, make a better plan for your day, your week, and your month. Allow your mind to relax and focus on what your next actions are to complete your goals.

Finally, the last tool are your feet. Use them to walk outside. Guest blogger and fellow productivity author, Jeremy Roberts, once wrote on this site that by going outside to clear your mind is one way to take back control of your day. It allows you to breathe in some outside air, gets your blood circulating as you walk, and helps you re-focus.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to lose focus. But, if you use your Personal Productivity First-Aid Kit with me, together we can encourage each other to push through. Together, we can see the trees from the forest. Together, we can do so much more.

Your Next Actions: Read this post a second time. Process it. Then, make it happen!


About Daniel Gold

Daniel Gold is a productivity coach, keynote speaker, author, and podcaster. He is most well known for his eBooks, Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, Simplify your Life with Springpad, and Make it Happen: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your eBook. Daniel is also the co-host of the GTD® Virtual Study Group podcast.