Small-moment Productivity

I had to make a forty-five minute drive for a sales meeting. As I don’t commute far for work, the trip felt eternal. I knew it would. In preparation, I’d gone through my to-do list for calls I needed to return and projects I could check on via phone with coworkers during the drive.

Our most precious resource is time.

How can we maximize it?

As a goal-oriented creature—at least since friends sat me down for an intervention a few years ago—I need to seize every moment for something that helps fuel me forward—even if that means doing nothing. (Yes, I actually block time to do nothing. To thrive and focus when it matters, we all need to clear our heads.)

I’ve heard it said that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person. Busy people have had to master managing time and energy.

One busy-person lesson learned: Productivity accelerates when you identify small spaces in a day or a week—like driving to and from the middle of nowhere—and determine what to-dos might fit them.

In what would otherwise turn into dead time, I've outlined articles and blog posts, called friends and family, researched topics, looked into trips and upcoming events, run quick errands, and learned something new—all of which tied to work initiatives and personal projects (and all of which, in the big picture, link back to my goals).

Of course, to make the most of small moments, you need to have a to-do list that breaks goal-related activity into daily, weekly, and monthly activities and that tracks the daily and weekly tasks that come up in the course of life. I keep all these to-dos—work and personal—in the same system and spot.

What have you accomplished in the small moments?