Productivity , such a challenge isn’t it? I find it challenging everyday to be the most productive self I can be as it takes a hard strain on your mind focusing completely and at all times in ONLY getting things done and not slacking off. On a daily basis I go to the university, manage two businesses, go to the gym & read 50 pages of a book of my interest on the side. I manage to get around 6 hours of sleep each day on average. Not ideal I know but enough. I don’t slack off or waste any time. Of course I am not perfect and sometimes make mistakes but I can say with confidence I do a pretty good job at managing my time and being productive. Its something I can be proud of.
Know your activities & Manage your time
I know that maybe you came here to read an article to know how to fit who knows how many things into your schedule and manage your time in an unbelievably amazing way to get them all done and in half the time! Hah right…. Let me tell you something. If you are like me I unfortunately can’t help you do that and I wonder if someone can because when your schedule has become insurmountable when compared to other activities because you know it will become a bigger and bigger snowball that’s when you know you are not managing your time correctly. Don’t get me wrong you may be productive but you could do better. When you are at that point productivity is not enough. When you have too many activities on your table you need to turn to Adam Smith;s specialization theory. Lets take a look.
Be like a needle
What I mean by this is that you should manage your weekly schedule in a way that allows you to maintain yourself in a given activity for as many hours as possible. Why? Pretty simple because when you do a lot of things in the day changing from task to task takes time but more importantly effort and concentration. Whenever you start a new task you need to get back on the rhythm, whilst if you just stay on the task longer you will get more done overall because you did not waste time switching between tasks or regaining your concentration. Makes sense right? Here’s a good example I think we have all been guilty of at some point: Checking your phone. Have you ever wondered how many times a day you check your phone? The most common range for this is from 100 to 150 times a day. Amazing right? However why do you check your phone that many times why not only one or two times? I mean ten will surely do the job right? This a good example of jumping between tasks because each time you check your phone you lose concentration. So keep it in mind, be like a needle and focus decisively in a point at a time. This mindset will help you be more productive & get rid of each and every distraction in your work space at the moment of the task. Our attention span these days is shorter than ever; the solution: don’t leave things around that can take your focus off and of course don’t multitask.
Here’s a common excuse and how to tackle it: If you are a photographer and are going through the editing process chances are you don’t need to have your phone around… BUT SOMEONE MAY CALL you say. Maybe but it wont be the end of the world if you don’t reply right away. Give your responsibilities their rightful place and time and place them where they belong, on top. That’s what it takes. So next time you are editing pictures turn off your phone or bury it deep in the ground until you have completed your task.
Knowing your plans ahead of time and checking them everyday keeps you focused but that alone wont do it. A crucial factor is keeping track as this releases endorphin’s when you get things done; providing your mind with even more positive incentive as you know you are moving forward. In my case I check and update my agenda daily. To track my progress I highlight the things that I have finished. When at the end of the day everything’s been highlighted I can call it a day, a glorious day.
Avoid Traffic or get a bike?
Obvious maybe? Yeah surely so why haven you done anything about it. I know it may sound hard but keep this in mind if you provide value people will understand. If you don’t have your own business like myself where you can accommodate your schedule to avoid traffic then try speaking to your boss. If you have invested in yourself and provided value to your company as long as hes not an asshole he should understand, in exchange stick to the daily work hours but get off later and be productive of course. Show him this will help you and him…..Ohh you are saying you have meetings everyday in the morning? Well then maybe you really are fucked and your only way out is getting a bike and being like those GP riders. You’ll not only save time and money but will also find a new hobby. Don’t blame me I am just giving ideas. It’s best if you fly to work like this guy.
Drop things that don’t matter
For me being productive is being able to achieve what I set out for my day without losing time in things that I find no value in. Its interesting how as my schedule has gotten tighter and tighter leaving no windows to rest I have come to really realize what really matters to me. I used to love watching TV, movies and playing video games. Its not that I don’t like those activities now .its just it doesn’t fulfill me. They just feel empty. I will not get into much detail in this as I think this deserves its own post; however I’ll say this. There’s a point in which you just know what you want so well and what you need to do in order to get there that you value investing in the things that will help you get there and stop valuing others you may have valued before because they just seem insignificant and a waste for yourself. Its like the activities no longer feel worthy of yourself and that’s the way you have to think. You are a valuable person, don’t let just anything feed your mind and grown in you because others do and enjoy doing so.
The people around you matter incredibly. Of course more important is your willpower but if that’s still something you are working on I suggest surrounding yourself with people that highly value their time so you can understand how they work and strive to be better.
Lets get to it
Since new year most of us are trying even harder to be the very best version of ourselves and to fulfill our goals and dreams by staying focused and working hard ; however, there are obstacles that sometimes overcome our will even if just for a moment or somethings that we don’t notice that set up back from getting ahead.
Now assuming you have nailed down the earlier step and can focus on one thing lets make you even more productive. Next up what you want to do is keep that productivity up. For that we need you to persevere with the task at hand till completion every time that its possible.
Example: Now let’s say you are a part time sales person and you have to make cold calls and get some sales. Most people will do them every day little by little so why not just go ahead and take 2 days a week to do it at predetermined hours. Did you know Tuesdays are the best days for cold calling? Don’t believe me? See for yourself here. You are welcome.
Anyway this will not only make you productive but will also set you in the mood and more hyped, believe it or not it will be easier to complete whatever task is at hand. In the case of closing deals you will close more and use less time overall.
Take care of yourself
This last one will probably sound like something you hear every day but trust me it impacts your life greatly. Sleep well(haha yeah I know maybe I shouldn’t be saying these; however I can manage myself with the hours of sleep I get. If that’s not your case then sleep more), drink tons of water, eat healthy and exercise.
Why is it important for productivity? To put it simply what happens when you don’t feel so well, you don’t feel like working and are a total mess when you go at it. Exercising helped me drop the amount of time I stayed sick in a year from over 30 days on average(DONT GET ME WRONG I DID WORK ON ALL THESE DAYS BUT I HAD COLDS AND FLUS MOSTLY) to around 10 days. That may not be your number but for me it was I got sick a lot. If that still doesn’t convince you try doing a light 15 minute workout and then jumping to work. Woooo! I know right? it feels like you are high on caffeine or even took a pre-workout if you know what I mean ;).
So next time you are in your work space I am expecting a SUPER EXCITED face and you killing it. If you slip up don’t worry its not the end of the world. It has happened to the best of us, every now and then I also slip and cave in to these “obstacles” and end procrastinating or being less productive. But the previous tips I found to have really helped me the most . They will also help you build your inner confidence as you manage to get them done. Try doing one a day and adding the next factor each day. By the end of the week you should be a beast of productivity.
That’s it for now, I hope this helped you and please don’t be shy feel free to email me Ill be very glad to hear from each and every one of you. Cheers!