Senior UCT economics lecturer Paul Maughan teaching (supplied)

In order to persevere and complete tasks, you need to be motivated, says senior UCT economics lecturer Paul Maughan. 

Simon Sinek encourages us to start with the why [you do something], which will also ensure that we stay on the path to mastery,” Maughan told Business Insider South Africa.

Maughan, who became the youngest recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award in 2013, announced in May that he is leaving UCT after lecturing for more than twelve years.

Maughan gave Business Insider his top three tips to being more productive, based on the work of productivity consultant David Allen.

1) Sort out email before it gets you. 

Clogged inboxes will weigh you down and make checking your email a chore, says Maughan.

“If it will take less than two minutes, do it immediately.” He says if it takes longer, put the email into an action folder to which you can return later.

2) Identify longer-term projects and keep at them.

“We all have different roles and responsibilities but can lose sight of them as we get stuck in the loop of responding to urgent, rather than important tasks,” Maughan says.

He suggests creating a list of all the projects you have to do and reviewing it weekly for the next steps to be taken.

3) Identify the next step with every project. 

“Instead of writing, ‘Buy mom a present’, get specific like ‘Check online store XYZ for a present for mom’ or ‘Call sisters to arrange a joint present for mom’,” Maughan says. 

“Taking time to identify the next step, makes for much higher completion rates for tasks.” 

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