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Day 1178 – 12 Guidelines to Increase Productivity – Ask Gramps
26th July 2019 • Wisdom-Trek © - Archive 4 • H. Guthrie Chamberlain, III
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Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy

Welcome to Day 1178 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

12 Guidelines to Increase Productivity – Ask Gramps

Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.

Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1178 of our trek, and it is time for our Philosophy Friday series. Each Friday, we ponder some of the basic truths and mysteries of life and how they can impact us in creating our living legacy.

As we continue on this trek called life, sometimes we have questions about life, so our Friday trek is a time when we can “Ask Gramps.” Gramps will answer questions that you would like to ask your dad or granddad, but for whatever reason, are unable to. No matter how old we are, I know that all of us would like the opportunity to ask dad or gramps questions about life in many areas.

We may mix it up a bit on our Friday episodes, but will strive to keep them down to earth and enjoyable. If you have any questions that you would like to ask Gramps, please email them to

So the question for this week is…

“Hey, Gramps, you seem to remain very productive in all areas of life while I struggle with productivity and feel like I can‘t keep my head above water to complete even some of the basic tasks that I should. What are some wise tips that you can give me that will help to become much more productive?”

12 Guidelines to Increase Productivity

While it may appear that I am very productive, I have to admit, that I too struggle, at times, to remain productive. I am very agenda-driven and attempt to follow my daily tasks list, but when unexpected, or expected, interruptions enter my day, I too can find myself heading down a rabbit trail. Here are 12 guidelines, or rules, that I have found to be helpful, and if you apply them, they should help you also.

  1. Choose the right time. Nearly everyone has times of the day when they are most effective and times when they tend to drag. It’s smart to schedule the most critical tasks for your most effective time of the day. For me, it is definitely between 7 AM and 12 PM.
  2. Toss it. If a task doesn’t really need to be done, just get rid of it altogether. So often we get bogged down with non-essential tasks. They are just fillers.
  3. Get the bad stuff out of the way. Do the unpleasant items quickly and as early in the day as possible. That way they are clear from your mind, and you can stop procrastinating because you know they still need to be done.
  4. Create your task list the night before or at the very beginning of each day. This way, as you begin each morning, you will know what you need to accomplish that day. This can be even more effective when planned the night before. Once you have a sense of direction, you can spend all your time getting things done!
  5. Eliminate all communication. While you’re working, turn off your phone/cell phone, and don’t check your email. Hang a sign that says, “Do not disturb,” if necessary. You don’t have to do this for all your tasks, but at least do it during the more difficult items. There are very few calls or emails that require immediate attention.
  6. Batch similar tasks together. Do all your emailing at one time. Make all your phone calls at another. Open your snail mail during a set block of time. You’ll waste less time doing your work in this fashion.
  7. Set a timer. Even if a task might take hours, starting will seem easier if you simply give yourself 30 minutes to get as much done as you can. A time limit seems to help many people concentrate and work better, too. It helps to eliminate wasting time when you have a pre-set break time.
  8. Set targets. For example, if you have to make calls for your sales job, tell yourself that you’re not getting up for any reason until you’ve made at least 50 calls. Regardless of what happens, refuse to stop until you hit your target. This could be a number of words written in a blog or a number of accounting entries you have completed.
  9. Use the Pareto Principle. This principle states that 20% of the actions you could take will provide you with 80% of the benefits. So focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most. Rank your task in order of importance and overall payoff. Unfortunately, these are frequently the tasks that are not enjoyable. You might be surprised how little you really have to do if you focus on the critical 20%.
  10. Delegate some of your work. Is there anyone else who can help you? The people around you are resources. Use your leadership skills and designate. When appropriate, use other people’s time and talents wisely to get things done more quickly.
  11. Set a deadline. Having a specific endpoint will really help to focus your time and energy. If a task doesn’t feel necessary, chances are that it won’t get done.
  12. Increase your speed. It sounds silly, but this can really help. Try doing everything a little faster. Walk faster, talk faster, type faster, and read faster. For example, I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and emails at 2 times the normal speed.  In doing so, my brain has adjusted where it is hard to listen to them at normal speed. I can absorb this information twice as quickly.

While the following verses apply to moral attributes in the context of the passage, which we should incorporate into our lives, they also apply to these guidelines which we have reviewed today.

2 Peter 1:8-9

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I hope these tips will help you to be more effective. That is a wrap for today’s question. Join us again next Friday for another question on our “Ask Gramps” episode. Our next trek is Mediation Monday, where we will help you reflect on what is most important in life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along on Monday for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.

If you would like to listen to any of the past 1177 daily treks or read the associated journals, they are all available at I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so each day will be downloaded to you automatically.

Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all, your friend as I serve you in through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.

As we take this trek together, let us always:

  1. Live Abundantly (Fully)
  2. Love Unconditionally
  3. Listen Intentionally
  4. Learn Continuously
  5. Lend to others Generously
  6. Lead with Integrity
  7. Leave a Living Legacy Each Day

I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you on Monday!