3 things I do that help my productivity

I adored reading this blog post from Ramit Sethi. It’s one of my favourite blog posts of all time.

One of the main things that were insightful for me is that fundamentals are first, second is psychology and third are the details. Most people focus on the details when they actually need to start focussing on fundamentals.

Fundamentals are things like sleeping enough, psychology is being able to say no or set good boundaries, and the details are what type of notebook or app or calendaring system I use to plan my life.

In that post he actually says that we need to focus on those details only 10% of the time and I had an aha moment or two.

Because seeing the % split like that puts things in perspective, and also I’ve been subconsciously focussing on a lot of it already.

I thought it would be fun to share 1 thing in each of those areas that I do, and then you can share your things too.


What I do: I sleep an average of 7 hrs 30 a night. You all know I diligently track my sleep because when I stop measuring, it all goes off track.

In this category we also have environment, soul care and exercise, in addition to managing your stress.


What I do: I have very good boundaries and I know when to say yes and no.

Also in this category is knowing if you’re a time optimist or realist, and unplugging from social media when it starts being detrimental for you.

Those top two areas aren’t very exciting but they’re so very necessary.


Well, you know I’m doing a hybrid this year of my bullet journal and my shining year planner. And then I added a gorgeous purple moleskine. My favourite pens are both Pentel energel and Pilot G2. Lately my absolute, super favourite pen is my metallic violet Pilot G2, which you have seen in almost all my instagram posts the last month or two 🙂

Over to you!

What do you think about the triad of productivity?

What are the things you do in each of those three areas? Very curious minds would love to know!

Are you getting enough sleep?

I realised on Sunday night as I got into bed at 12:30 am that I’ve been slacking on my bedtime.

Yes, I’m a night owl so my natural tendency is to work late because my brain is most awake then.

However, I work full-time so I don’t have the luxury of living totally in tune with my body clock.

I used to have a rule about my bedtime and, to be honest, it still exists. I’m just not following it all that well.

I like to be sleeping by 12 so I need to be in bed by 11 since I read for an hour every night – bliss!

And here’s my rule – computer off by 10:30.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

So my question to you is this – are you getting enough sleep?

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

I need 7 hours a night. On the weekends I get an extra hour and sometimes even an afternoon nap with the babies, also known as my two-year-old twins.

Do you know how much sleep your body needs?

The other day Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, wrote a post asking about bedtimes.

She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11 or 12, depending how you look at it), if you ignore your bedtime, you’re then consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

I love it!

So here’s this week’s coaching challenge:

– What is your wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract that time.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep and let me know how you feel by posting in the comments.
– If you need help getting control of your time, let me coach you! Email me now.Google

3 myths about lists

There are two types of people in this world – those who like lists and those who don’t.
This post is for those who don’t like lists

lists are boring

A list is only as boring as your imagination! You can and should put some fun things on there as well as tasks to do.

I recently started putting things like “finish James Patterson book” on my weekend lists because all I was doing was chores.

I loved the change so much that I now regularly put fun things like “phone _____ for a lovely, long chat” and “paint fingernails” on my lists just to jazz them up.

lists are a bind because they have tons of items on them

Well, that depends on the type of list.

A master list and a checklist often do have tons of things on them but a daily to-do list really should have no more than about 6 items.

I’ve shared before how when I only have 6 items on my to-do list, I get through them all easily but when I try to be SuperWoman and add lots more, I get even less than 6 done!

I showed a coaching client my diary once and she was amazed that I almost always put less than 6 things on my list.

When you find the right list, your life will change

No, no, no! The list is only the tool.

I used to subscribe to tons of productivity sites and really, many of them were all about the perfect tool.

A tool is only something to help you get something else done.

Many people are so intent on creating the perfect list or finding the perfect planner that they get into an analysis paralysis mentality.

Because when you’re obsessing about the perfect to-do list, you stop actually doing the things on the list, right?

The truth is it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you get it down somewhere – whether on a post-it note, in a gorgeous notebook or in your phone.

So how am I doing with my lists?

I still use a weekly list and take off up to 6 items (sometimes a lot less) to do in a day.

My new favourite thing is doing a mind-map list for my weekly planning. I do a spoke for each area of my life – husband, babies, house, work, business, health and fitness, etc. And then, off each spoke, I make new mini-branches with things I have to do.


Do you harbour any other myths about lists?

Are you a list-maker?

Are your lists working for you?

How to become 50% more productive

There’s a little-known secret that, once understood, will absolutely change the way you run your life.

That secret is playing to your strengths by using your natural energy cycles.

When you work with your energy cycles instead of against them, you save time because you do things faster, with more clarity and with greater focus.

Quickly grab a piece of paper and answer these four questions:

1. Are you a night owl or an early bird?

If you’re a night owl like me, then plan your life so that you start the day off slowly and work up to your peak. Or vice versa.

2. When do you do your best creative work?

I don’t know if the real creative types will agree with me but I think that any form of writing uses the creative side of our brains.

When I need to do some writing, I’m generally great first thing in the morning (well, for me…) or very late at night (9pm onwards). If I try to write from lunch-time onwards, it takes me at least double the time, if not longer.

When I leave the project and do it at one of my prime writing times, the ideas flow easier and the quality is just better.

3. When do you do your best logical/ reasoning work?

This involves things like budgeting, playing with spreadsheets (that’s what I call it to make it seem more fun!), working with numbers, etc.

Figure this out and as best as you can, try and schedule these kinds of tasks when that side of your brain is awake and kicking!

4. When do you prefer to exercise?

Um, never 😉 Okay, let me rephrase: if you had to exercise, when would be the best time for you?

This usually works the same as number 1 but if you find that if you’re stuck, lacking motivation or just feeling overwhelmed, you might want to add in some exercise to jump-start yourself.

This week’s coaching challenge

a. Pick a task you’ve been procrastinating on or that you just can’t seem to get going with.
b. After you’ve identified the type of task, work on it at a different time of day.
c. Get it done 😉

You can do it!

Marcia Francois is a speaker and time management coach. If you want to break out of overwhelm, I’ll show you how to get more organised and save time by getting the right things done. Visit http://marciafrancois.com for your free Organising Success Pack worth $37.

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