Productivity is a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important.
There are some great productivity tools and methods out there that are readily available.
- We can eliminate tasks that are time wasting by using the mighty Eisenhower box. This box allows to make more effective decisions by organising tasks by 'urgent and important', 'important but not urgent', 'urgent but not important', and 'neither important nor urgent'. This is a simple framework that helps organise work and get more done. It can be used for any tasks from broad to smaller, or for daily plans.
- Warren Buffets 5/25 strategy: how to prioritise your time like a Billionaire. This is a simple 3-step process that will help you to chose your focus and prioritise your time on what really matters. Not to mention its also a great way to learn how to say "no". You start by writing 25 goals and then you move onto circling 5 of them that truly matter and boom, here you are, step 3 is your top 5 goals to focus on. Saying no to the inessential is essential. You could find this method useful for making decisions and getting yourself to commit to doing one thing straight away.
- The Ivy League Method: it's super simple. Write down the 6 important tasks at the end of the day for the following day. Mark them in order of importance. Then execute the following day when you wake up or start your work day.
- The 15-Minute Routine by Anthony Trollope: This strategy company from someone who has written over 40 books with it. In one of his books he talks about the importance of implementing small but consistent habits to see remarkable results over time. So if for example your first task is super mighty and you start procrastinating, Trollope recommends breaking it down to smaller milestones to start making progress toward the goal itself.
Other ways to be productive are to focus on managing your energy as opposed to your time. There are certain times of the day that we're better at carrying out certain tasks. Ask yourselves what your energy is like during the mornings and afternoons. This will help give you a more realistic view on what you can get done when and determine which tasks you will allocate accordingly.
Prepare the night before. Like the Ivy league method suggests, having a clear picture on what you want to get done the next day which is a task that only requires around 10 minutes will give you so much confidence to start your following day. Start with a small short list but prep in advance. Trust me, this will save your 2 hours from the following day.
Don't check your email inbox until noon. Sounds silly, I know. But nobody actually implements this. We all wake up with the urgen to check our emails, our Instagram, Facebook, making sure we've read all incoming messages and caught up with what was happening in the world whilst we were asleep. We have to realise that this is counter productive to our productivity as we will always be pulled into another direction and our priorities can shift in a second. Everything can wait and nobody will send an email or an instagram message about a true emergency. Use your mornings to focus on what's important rather than replying to urgent emails.
Keep your phone away from your reach. I have started doing this before I go to bed in order wake up in the mornings and not reach out my phone as the first thing I do in the mornings. Instead, I wake up, have a 5 minute yoga stretch routine that I conclude with a small meditation, then make myself a nice up of warm water with lemon or quite often a coffee then start my day off with my priority number one. This way I elimiate the urge to check my social media and by dividing my attention among meaningless tasks.
I also set my work space up accordingly. I make sure it's cool, tidy, and clean. Having a nice work environment free from distractions and stuffiness it like having a healthy body. So pleasant to be in and the rest comes so easily. I also make a conscious effort to stand up every now and then so I keep the blood flowing and my posture in check. When you sit hunched over a desk, your chest is in a collapsed position and your diaphragm is pressing against the bottom of your lungs, which hinders your ability to breathe properly. Sit up straight or stand up and you’ll find that you can breathe easier and more fully. As a result, your brain will get more oxygen and you’ll be able to concentrate better. All these small things make a whole load of difference, trust me.
We all have goals and want to be produtive in our daily lives, but it can be difficult to stay focused and stick with them. We all start our week with good intentions. We say we are going to start eating well again, start working out, or be more poductive at work. Yet, we often find ourselves struggling to stay consistent with our intentions . We easily slip back into the same patterns.
I hope the above methods will help conquer our daily struggle of productivity. Especially during the pandemic when every day seems to be the same routine. This makes being productive even harder as it almost feels like we're adding another routine into an already mundane life. If you want to become better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. In ther words, you have to fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves. If you want to read more into this, I recommend the book 'Atomic Habits' by James Clear.