Quick Hits Friday: Productivity, and the Importance of Listening

“Being productive” is a phrase that elicits one of two responses:

  1. Eye-roll (blah blah blah)
  2. Enthusiasm (I had no idea!)

With one in two chance, we’ve got some productivity tips for you. Both Victoria Santoro and Heidi Alexander recommend Wunderlist. Santoro describes why she uses it over the Tasks function of Outlook:

 If I were to create a “task” in Outlook, I would have to either flag an email, or go into my calendar and create a new entry, a cumbersome and time-consuming approach. Wunderlist streamlines all of this.

She demonstrates how she uses Wunderlist, emphasizing its ease-of-use and “virtually no learning curve.” Alexander provides a more in-depth post, walking you through how she has Wunderlist setup with sub tasks, notes and other project management features. She also highlights other useful features:

  • Sync: Wunderlist syncs in the cloud, making your lists available on all your devices.
  • Notifications: You can set reminders to email notifications or push notifications.
  • Sharing: You can share lists via email and with others that use Wunderlist (enabling collaboration).
  • Mail to Wunderlist: Forward an email directly to me@wunderlist.com and it will arrive in your Wunderlist Inbox with the subject of the email appearing as the task heading and the body of the email in the note section.

List making is an effective way to keep track of things and stay on task, which in turn helps you be productive by making the most of your time. A tool like Wunderlist can be useful.

Now, onto the importance of listening.

Sounds simple, but some of you rolled your eyes at the word “productivity” and it’s a good bet skimmed the top half of this post. Do you also roll your eyes when you hear the word “productivity,” even if a client says it? Are there other words or phrases that cause an auto-tune out?

We’re not always aware of words that we tune out, and sometimes we’re not aware we’ve tuned anything out until it’s too late. Dan Siegel provides four examples from various businesses, one of which is a retailer of flooring and other building materials. The business has been successful the founders “tuned out,” ignoring changes to the real estate market as well as the advice of their management team. It nearly killed the business, but as Siegel points out, the founders

realized that they needed to listen and widened their “circle of trusted advisors.” The result is a company that remains in business, albeit with a management team they encourage “to ask hard questions and offer honest answers.”

Are you listening? Think of that the next time someone mentions the word “productivity” and your eyes start to roll. Perhaps there is something more being said.

Featured image: “Fist hitting, fist punching” from Shutterstock.

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