We all want to know the secret sauce to increase productivity. And sometimes no matter how many self-help books you read or planners you buy, you still feel like you’re not doing enough.

Or more importantly, you just don’t have the drive to do it.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned in my professional experience that has helped me with lifestyle planning.

If you know anything about product management, you know that user stories are the meat and potatoes of the product development life cycle.

During the development phase of a product, user stories are developed and maintained on a backlog by the product owner.

What is a user story?

A user story is a task that usually contains the elements, who, what, and why. This is extremely important on a development team because it provides deeper insight into what the client/customer wants to achieve upon task completion. 

Once user stories are placed on the backlog and prioritized, the development of the stories usually happens over a two-week period (sprint). 

I was introduced to agile, scrum, backlogs, and user stories in 2020 while earning a certification in Software Product Management. After years and years of working in project management, focusing on the waterfall methodology, I was really excited about this new method of managing projects. 

This method made me think a bit deeper than project or product management though. I knew how powerful this could be in life planning. I began to structure the tasks in my daily planner like user stories and immediately noticed a difference in my ability to increase productivity in life overall. 

Here’s an example of a user story that I would create today: 

As a busy professional looking to manage work-life balance, I want to recreate my weekly schedule so that I can allocate more time to friends and social activities.

Another example that many people could relate to is: 

As a millennial looking to decrease my expenses, I need to pay a parking ticket by Tuesday so that I do not get hit with additional charges and late fees. 

You can see how this creates more urgency and meaning than, “Recreate my weekly schedule” or “Pay parking ticket” as tasks. 

Also, pay attention to the “who” element. Both of these examples were actual tasks in my planner. But notice the difference in the way I described myself.

That’s because each task might apply to different parts of who you are. Tapping into each persona while creating your stories uncovers a new layer of purpose.

How to get started:

how to increase productivity

Think about what it is you want to accomplish and why. Your “why” is really important. 

  1. Ask yourself if completing this task is in alignment with a bigger goal.
  2. What am you looking to gain from getting this done?
  3. How does doing this get you closer to where you want to be?

It’s a great time to reevaluate the need to do the tasks if it serves no purpose. As busy professionals, it’s kinda wasteful to spend time on things that are not adding value.

Write down your goal(s) and create a list of user stories that will help you to reach the goal(s) and increase productivity. 

The Nerd Bae’s digital planner is designed with all the elements you need to release your thoughts, brainstorm, organize, and plan each month, day, and week more effectively. This digital planner also provides you with instructions on how to use it to make the most of your experience. 

It can be used in most planner apps as well as Adobe and other .pdf editors. All fields are completely editable. The physical version of this planner will be available this fall for all the girlies who love to put pin to paper. I got you, sis, it’s on the way! 

Your guide to increase productivity can start today by using this planner to add more intention and structure to your days.

black woman planning and working

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