The Things I’ve Learnt About Being Productive
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” Walt Disney
Productivity is, well it’s quite curious in a way. We all chase, or at least most of us chase that feeling of being productive. For all of us that means different things and for all of us that holds a different standard. One woman’s productive day is another woman’s waste. And that’s totally fine because this isn’t about what other people define as productive, this is your productive.
I like the idea of productivity because it so often is completely misunderstood. We are obsessed with ticking things off the to-do list that we focus heavily on that and not really what is on the list. Of course the list, the tasks that we assign ourselves for the day are the magic. If those are bad or wrong or not beneficial you’ll have a productive day of doing unproductive tasks. The more I write the more I’m feeling like I’m entering the matrix but oh well, we’ll keep going.
But what is on your list is a topic for another time. This is all about how we make the most with our days and how we conquer feeling productive and adding value to our worlds. We all think of productivity in a different way but put simply it is the feeling or state of being productive. How vague is that.
So with that in mind I have taken productivity to be super-open ended and I wanted to share how I have become more productivity over the last few months by doing some pretty simple stuff, really consistently.
1. Write a list. I love lists, I don’t know what about lists that is so great but I think it’s because I’m someone who thinks quite a lot and by writing things down I feel like I don’t have to think too much about that thing anymore. I am pretty consistently thinking about all the stuff I want to get done so by being able to download that to somewhere I can let it leave my mind. That then frees up more time to think about the doing of that stuff. The caveat to list making is that you need to be fair. By saying that you are going to renovate your whole house in a day or create a whole working website or write a book or whatever is way too big. It’s overwhelming and you will end up sitting thinking about how overwhelmed you are with everything you have to do, rather than doing anything. I’ve made this mistake before as I am renovating a house as we speak (well obviously I’m not painting and writing but you get the jist). Be fair to yourself and you’ll have a higher chance of getting it done. Remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. You have a lot of time to sort stuff out, focus on being consistent every day rather than overwhelming yourself. I’d recommend have three key things you want to get done and then having a few easy things added in for good measure. When you are lacking motivation you can go and tick some easy stuff off the list to get you more motivated again.
2. Find your system. Why we still all work 9–5, five days a week is pretty beyond me at this point. We need to find the system that works for us and exploit it. What I mean by that is everyone is different. Being self-aware enough to know that you work really well between 6:30–9am is really important. It means that you can get tasks done in that time when you feel most motivated. You can then spend 10am — 1pm chilling or watching YouTube or whatever. You don’t have to conform to whatever society says. Find a system that works for you and use it to your advantage.
3. Aim to create habits. The more I read about habits the more obsessed I get. Habit formation is frankly just fascinating. But more than that, it takes the stress of getting motivated away from you. And that’s the reason most people aren’t productive is because the stress about not feeling motivated. Well if you can just formulate some habits that you can lean on, you won’t need to worry about motivation because the habit will be there to guide you through. Is the same reason you turn up for work everyday or you go to the shop when you need food or you manage to watch your favourite TV show every week. You’ve created a habit, you don’t sit there and think “oh, I really cannot be arsed to watch Made In Chelsea this week”. It’s a habit so it’s easy.
Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on April 18, 2020.