“Work smarter, not harder.”

For most people, the aforementioned is nothing but an adage – a motivational quote cheapened by the veneer of an Instagram filter.
However for those truly pursuing concurrence, it’s the modus operandi. Like any S.M.A.R.T. goal, it requires information.
Information worth acquiring includes:

  • E-Mail Usage Data — Hourly and weekly volume, top senders and recipients, thread length, word clouds, average response time, etc.
  • Project Progress Data — How much work got done today? Are projects on schedule? Are tasks overdue?
  • Productivity Data — How much time did I spend working? How productive was I during this time? Where did I spend my time?

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” — Carly Fiorina (Former CEO, HP)

Tools that you can use to obtain the information above, include:
Gmail Meter— Get a comprehensive report every week with detailed statistics of how you use your Gmail. Regarding security: data processing happens locally in your Google account.

Gmail Meter identified several opportunities to convert repeating interactions into recurring Asana tasks.

Flowbs— Flowbs gives you a birds eye view of what’s done and what’s not. It was created specifically for Asana to help you analyze performance, task completion, and overall progress.

As your Asana begins to overflow, Flowbs becomes increasingly valuable in saving time otherwise spent parsing through rows of to-dos.

RescueTime— It runs securely in the background on your computer and mobile devices and tracks time spent on applications and websites, giving you an accurate picture of your day.

RescueTime has been a game changer, especially encouraging me to curb indulgences like YouTube and Reddit.

In order to gain actionable insights of personal productivity from these tools, you must bring the data into perspective with…

The Pareto Principle aka “The 80/20 Rule”

The Pareto Principle says that in most situations roughly 80% of effects come from only 20% of the causes (Harvard Business Review goes as far as saying that almost everything is practically unimportant.)
Routinely review to learn if you’re spending your time doing the things that really matter and rethink your to-do list as necessary.

“What gets measured, gets managed.” — Peter Drucker

Don’t stop at personal productivity. Other areas to measure and apply a similar framework include:

This post was originally published on Medium.