Why do you want to be productive? Is it because you want to be as successful as Kylie Jenner, Cristiano Ronaldo, Elon Musk, or Warren Buffett, all by the tender age of 25? Look, the reality is that productivity should always be tied to some sort of goal, otherwise it can’t really be classed as being productive. It is more likely that you are stuck being busy doing “things.”
Productivity has taken on various meanings over the years, especially since the industrial revolution. In this day and age, productivity can be defined as ‘doing more with less’ or ‘doing more in less time’. If you think about productivity in the commercial space, various methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma, and Agile are used to enhance productivity, effectiveness and efficiency.
There is no denying that quarantine has disrupted our routines and way of life, but on the other hand, it has given us more time to focus on the things that we usually wouldn’t have had the time to do. But with all this time on our hands and being locked up indoors, how can we start our tasks and be more productive?
Consider your goal
There are a number of things to consider when it comes down to being more productive. The first thing is to focus on the goal.
Ask yourself — what is the goal that you’re trying to achieve? This goal should take the form of a bigger picture (i.e. the end goal) that is based on the final stage of your activity process. This could be things such as reaching 5000 steps in a day, or losing weight by a particular time frame. Then ask yourself, why do you want to achieve it? To make this process easier, this could be based on things that you like or don’t like.
Once these have been established, think about what the main reason is. A good question to ask yourself is — what are you willing to compromise to achieve that goal? Are you willing to sacrifice not going out for 6 months? Or eating lavishly via Deliveroo? These are all things and good questions to ask when it comes to actually achieving your goal.
If you’re thinking about this in relation to your life, then it may be a good idea to break your goals down into different life areas, and then ask yourself those different questions to determine your level of satisfaction. That way you can work backwards and understand what it is that you need to do based on what satisfaction level you want to reach.
Link your productivity to your “passion”
You need to have some sort of passion towards what you are doing and what you want to achieve. Professor Cardon, a professor at the University of Tennessee who specializes in entrepreneurial passion, stated that the number one thing that you need to understand in regard to your productivity is your passion (You can read more about her work here). In particular, she stated that when it came to any sort of endeavour (especially with entrepreneurial endeavours), there is a certain level of passion that you need.
Now I know that there are mixed views when talking about passion, and we could get into a debate about whether we should use the word ‘passion’ or a different word, but passion, when you really think about it, can help you become more efficient.
Develop a routine
If you haven’t done this already, you need to think about your routine. I have previously spoken about habits and the importance of having cues, routines, and rewards to develop habits that boost your productivity (the fantastic book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg also explains this further!). To build a robust routine, you need to base it on how you are going to get to your goal, aka the day-to-day activities.
I personally use Trello to keep me on track. Trello is a fantastic way to streamline what you need to do, as you can assign tasks, organize activities, set deadlines, and colour code according to your goal. I add my activities there to help me track everything I do, and am able to set reachable deadlines for myself, as well as give myself rewards once I reach them. You can also use other tools like Asana or Notion to do the same and even more!
Use tech to your advantage
We’re living in a tech-savvy world right now, and we all possess one thing that is necessary and within arms reach. That is your phone. Your phone contains a variety of Apps that can boost your productivity! I for one, am a massive Google fan and use most of their products. In particular, I prefer to use the Google calendar and link it to different apps such as Trello, so my activities from my Trello board are synced to my calendar as scheduled activities.
Like the great Jim Rohn said — you should never rely on your brain to remember everything. In this tech world that we live in, making use of the free Apps on your phone can do wonders for your productivity!
In addition, I also recommend using the App RescueTime, a great automatic-tracking tool that records your usage on laptop and mobile devices. It will track the links to access, the software and apps and categorize based on your preferences and lifestyle. This has greatly helped my productivity and if you want to do the same, try it out for free here.
Limit your distractions
With distractions all around us, I know that limiting them is easier said than done! One of the most obvious distractions is social media! However, there are ways around this! There are chrome extensions that help block tech distractions such as social media feeds. For example:
Just download them from the chrome store!
Consider your surroundings
Making sure that your environment is conducive to the productivity that you are trying to achieve is pivotal in boosting productivity. This includes thinking about ways in which you can enhance your mental and physical well-being. Things such as making sure that the room is well lit, that you’re in a comfortable chair, that your workspace is clean, even making sure you’re wearing the correct clothes! Yep, you read that right. Comfortable clothes can do a lot! I’m a huge fan of cotton right now (M&S stuff is my thing!) and I’m often told I’m an old man, but that cotton life is really doing wonders for me.
So yes making sure that you’re making sure that you’re in the perfect environment is another way to help productivity.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are so many people that can help you. So think about the people in your life that will help you become more productive. So thinking about all these things are really crucial because, again, if you get to a point of understanding that productivity can be controlled by your outputs and really analysing your environment, then you can design it in such a way where you can be much more effective.
You may want to develop a skill for your development, and so maybe a mentor is the best person for you. Possibly you’re in a situation where you need some sort of advice, maybe it’s monetary and so you might need a financial adviser.
If you would like leadership or business coaching feel free to book a consultation here.
Sometimes you need to develop specialist skills and so maybe you need a trainer. Think about what type of person you need in order to become more productive. Sometimes it means having volunteers, people on your team, accountability buddies, and a mastermind group to improve your situation.
In essence, this advice is not just for quarantine it can be applied outside it too. If you commit productivity, you will be more productive. Do not focus on the process of it, rather, focus on the end goal. It helps to drive you forward. However, measuring your progress daily, weekly and monthly can also motivate you to take more action. Less is usually best, giving you more energy to do more for longer. I wish you well my friend.
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