The Productivity Hack You’ve Been Missing

productivity hack


Aug. 23 2016, Published 3:30 a.m. ET

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46 items.

It was a Thursday morning, and when I opened my TeuxDeux app, I counted 46 items on my to-do list…for that day.

My brain immediately took me to a Whitney English post noting a person could really only successfully complete three tasks a day, which immediately made me feel defeated because I knew it was true.

Sure, I was capable of doing each of these tasks, but having to shift my focus from project to project over a 24-hour time span was the impossible part. Tasks like redesigning the homepage of our website and brainstorming podcast guests were not as easy as mailing a letter or emptying the trash. It was going to take undivided attention, which is admittedly in short supply.

“But how are all these other women doing it?!” I thought. The ones with multiple business. The ones with babies. The ones who watch a House of Cards season in one sitting.

Over the past two years, I’ve spoken with multiple women about their “typical day” and how they “do it all,” but there was one tip I had been missing that became the secret to my productivity hacking.


I realized the problem I was having came down to the fact that I was trying to do each task every day. Post on social media every day, check email throughout the day, research content every day. This was depleting my focus, and only allowed me to give half-hearted effort on everything instead of doing a great job on one thing. So I started batching. Schedule all the social media on Sunday, write website content on Monday, record podcasts on Tuesday, reach out to new partners on Wednesday, and so on.

I found I woke up with a sense of readiness to tackle the day because I knew my mission. I knew if I accomplished my “one thing,” I would be good to go. This not only improved my personal focus, but it helped focus our team as a whole. Interns knew when to schedule meetings, team members knew when content was going out, and the structure gave us peace of mind.

Above my computer, there was a quote that read, “you can do anything, but not everything,” and now I mentally add “every day” to the end. I think it’s safe to say increasing focus and attention while decreasing the number of items on your to-do list will be a positive, simple way to avoid unnecessary anxiety and function at your best.

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