3 Key Questions to Recharge Your Productivity Powers


This time, it’s personal.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we just get stuck in a rut. Instead of rolling on rails, we are wading through molasses with our hands tied behind our backs.

Tasks that used to take minutes are now taking hours. Deadlines are being missed, and before you know it, you’re working on the weekend just to keep your head above water.

Thankfully, there is a solution for this.

Phil Daniels, a noted professor of psychology, developed a process known as SKS. It was designed to help people reflect on what they should do with their lives. Productivity practitioners can use this to get back on track.

Here’s how it works.

Q1. What Should I Stop Doing?

If you feel overwhelmed and your work is piling up, there’s probably a good reason. Something in your productivity system is no longer working. However, not only is it not working, it’s slowing you down and making you less productive.

You have to identify the bottlenecks and eliminate them from the equation. Have you allowed bad habits to take root? It’s easy to do! Are you forgetting to add things to your task manager? Are you not scheduling work on your calendar? Are you spending too much time on social media?

The answer is out there, but only you can find it. You need to look deep within and reflect honestly on how you got to the place that you are in. When you find the root of your problems, move on to question two.


Q2. What Should I Keep Doing?

Once you have identified what’s not working, it’s time to look at what is. It’s easy to think that everything is going wrong, and you are forced to start again with a blank slate. However, the truth is, that’s rarely the case.

Give yourself some credit. It’s important to recognize the things that you do well and the things that contribute to a productive day. They exist, and they are crucial to identify because it is from here that you can build the foundations for what comes next. They need to be brought to the forefront, highlighted, and underlined.

Sometimes the good things in our productivity system are the underrated things. If we did them more often, we would actually be more successful. So, even when everything else is on fire, consider what is going well. How would your work change if you did more of this?

In short, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and move on to question three.


Q3. What Should I Start Doing?

The last thing to consider is perhaps the hardest. Yet, if you have made it this far, you probably know that something has to change.

One of the central tenants of Getting Things Done is to get all the tasks out of your brain and into a trusted system. Why? In the words of David Allen, “your mind is for having ideas, not holding ideas.”

This is the time for ideas.

You have eliminated what’s not working, and you know what is working, so what still needs to happen to get you back on track? Removing the obstacles in your way is a good start, but you need to plan the journey in front of you if you are to reach your destination.

How can you save time, be more focused, and get more done? Make this mantra the core of your rebuilding process.

A Common Problem

People fall off the productivity wagon all the time. It’s happening to someone right now as you’re reading this article. It’s not intentional. Few people see it coming.

The SKS strategy can be your safety net. Sure, you might fall, but you have something to catch you. You have something to get you back on track.

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