So you think you can be productive today? Good. Let’s look at how you will go about it.
First, doing up a little search on Productivity, especially how to be productive, will find you enough articles available (btw, nice to meet you)
Second, there is a wide array of apps available for you , many of them are free , which will keep reminding you about your deadlines, due dates, follow-ups — the shebang. You have done the search, read the articles, and downloaded the app. Well done . You now have unlocked the “intent” achievement.
Well, now you should start using these tools. If after using the app for 5 minutes, you start feeling
- “This is stupid. I don’t need an app to organize myself.” Or
- “I have become such a tool. Every time I need to meet someone, I need to look at my schedule.” or
- “This will never work. My workload is so unpredictable” or
- “I wish this app gave me achievement points for doing my work, which I can post on facebook” or
- “I wish I had a start up and made a cool app like this.”
- “God I need a new phone. I’ve heard IOS 8 is pretty cool. Maybe I should buy a new phone”
- “Wait, did I get extra lives on Candy Crush?”
Or anything except actually working seriously on making yourself productive — you lose all brownie points for showing any “intent”. In this case, the problem is not motivation; the problem is that you do not know why you are not being productive. “Not knowing” is half the battle lost. Lets try to change that.
Productivity is the ratio of output to inputs in production; it is an average measure of the efficiency of production.
So first thing you need to do is — well, do something. You will only be able to measure productivity, once you actually start doing.
1: Just Start!
Starting is the major hurdle. Once you start, there is a high chance you’ll actually see to it that the task reaches its conclusion. This theory, known as the Zeigarnik effect was discovered by renowned Soviet Psychologist and Psychiatrist, called the Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik. She discovered that if we don’t finish a task, we experience discomfort, and intrusive thoughts about the task. So simply, get started on the task. Your mind will make sure it will time and again remind you, to finish it.
2: Willpower is not enough. Neither count on it, nor blame it.
Many studies have shown that willpower is a resource that can be depleted. This concept is also called ego depletion. Willpower itself will help you gather courage and pursue to solve difficult problems aggressively but it will neither help you complete the task, nor complete it well.
3: Have a deadline, and learn to be serious about them
Endless space and time are a lot of fun to experience — but only if you are intoxicated. In the real world, deadlines are important not only for yourself but to also build your experience. All too often, we promise a deadline, and either we do not take it seriously, or miss out on the deadline.
To build your social equity, it is very important to deliver on your deadlines. It makes you a person who keeps your word — which is a priceless asset.
If you do plan to deliver on time, and miss out on it — you’ll gain something worth the whole world — experience!
4: Distractions are dangerous
I personally want to buy a shirt with this tagline. There is a reason why cell phone usage while driving, is illegal. It is dangerous and may cause a lethal accident. While working, any distraction can be extremely counter — productive. You should value your time as a costly resource. If you owned a property, would you rent it out for free?
Similarly, you should be stingy with your time, and not waste it. After all, you own it. Your friends and family require time. Time with them should be well spent enjoying — and not thinking about other work. Facebook, Youtube, Newspapers — should all be given the time they deserve. But not more than they deserve. Catch my drift?
5: The discipline of routine
Discipline is — well — hard to follow. But routine — that is much easier. Remember brushing your teeth? Or taking a shower? It’s a requirement (well it should be), so we follow it. Blindly. We sometimes do it, even while we are half asleep. Integrating our daily task requirements, in our daily routine, defaults the daily task from the “Good Disciple” category, to “Daily Routine” category.
What is required, is to sell the task to yourself that you need to do it. Morning exercise is a good example of this. For more, read my next step.
6: Desire to be productive: Sell it to yourself
The single factor which will make you complete the task well, work hard to complete it on time, and merge it in your routine (if required) is the actual desire to be productive. For that, you actually need to sell yourself, just like a salesman, as to
- Why this task is important to me?
- Why should I do this task on time?
- Is there adventure in this task laddie?
- Is there something I’ll learn from this task?
- What kind of rewards do I expect if I finish this task?
Answering questions like these will help you to be sold on the idea of finishing a task. And that will go a long way. It will make you work hard and, just like they say, there is no alternative to working hard.
7: Multitasking is not only unfair, but also impossible
Yeah, you can’t do it. No seriously, you can’t.
Just like you can’t fly, you can’t breathe under water, you can’t look at the 4 dimension — you can’t multitask. The power of concentration is a gift given to us — just like air in our lungs, food on our table, and love from the family. Use it well, and you will succeed.
8: Practice makes perfect! You’ll get faster at doing each task
Musicians, sportsmen, artists — all have drilled their expertise in their work through practice. This concept works even in optimizing your productivity.
Practice also gives you experience to do your task faster and better. You’ll start developing tools to do things quicker, while maintaining the quality of your work. That is the precise reason why there is no replacement for experience.
9: Sleep Better. Better yet, play hard and sleep
We spend around 30% of our lives sleeping. It’s a big waste it seems, doesn’t it? But it isn’t and, it is something you shouldn’t cheat. It is a proven fact that sleep deprivation not only affects productivity, but also innovation — a critical component to both entrepreneurs and to members of the corporate culture alike. It is a necessary evil to sleep. However, you can make your sleep worth the time — by playing hard!
There is a reason why we like vacations, go out on Friday nights, why we look forward to weekends. We like to have our time to party, relax, and recharge. That is what sleep does, and it should be taken in such a spirit — it is done to relax, and recharge.
10: Get some extra help to have extra moments
There are a few other necessary evils, besides sleep, which you need to take care of. Cleaning the dishes, doing laundry, searching an address, paying bills, arguing with customer service, etc are all such necessary evils. There are Virtual Assistant services out there that can help you with this.
Learn to delegate your work. Free up your time, and start enjoying what you love doing.
All the best ☺