Imagine if you could squeeze a few more hours out of each day. Not only could you shrink your to-do list, but you might also be able to find time to unwind. What if I told you there was a way to get this done without wishing for more time in a day? You can get more done in less time if you learn how to manage your time effectively and be more productive. You're probably wondering what it will take to reach your ideal productivity levels.
You might want to learn more from those who are productive. It might be especially intriguing to you how people manage to:
Do tasks that are necessary but boring
Have the energy to do things that matter
Focus on things that are high priority
Before you can begin to be more productive, you must realize why being productive matters.
Why Is Being a Productive Person Important?
Don't you just hate admitting you've wasted time at work? You are not alone. There are a great many people who wish they could accomplish more in a day.
You are more likely to achieve your goals and have a clearer understanding of how to do so if you are productive.
It is challenging to be productive consistently, but it becomes much easier when you consider why being productive is essential. Here are a few reasons to consider:
You'll be closer to achieving your goals
You'll find the best way to do things
You'll avoid feeling guilty about not doing enough.
You'll find it easier to get around in life.
You'll feel better about yourself.
You'll free up more time for the things you love
In short, you will have a more fulfilling day if you can make it a more productive day.
Why Does Being Productive Start With Doing Nothing?
When you try to be more productive, you must also acknowledge that you are attempting to be more efficient at what you do. When you do nothing, you enhance your performance capacity and do better work when you return to it. Therefore, you need to take adequate breaks when you want to be more productive.
Doing nothing ensures we can give our brains the time to recharge before we revisit our work because most tasks we deal with are cognitively taxing.
While it might seem counter-intuitive initially, doing nothing is one of the best things you can do for your productivity.
Don't get me wrong: I understand how important it is to you to do more in every minute available. However, it is a fact that you were not created to work like a machine that doesn't need breaks. Focusing your attention for too long on a single task will wear you out.
However, doing nothing for even five minutes can help you return to your work with more energy.
According to psychologists, breaks can help you on multiple accounts:
Restores energy so you can do more when you're back
Prevents long-term burnout
Makes you more resilient
Improves your mood
Enhances your overall wellbeing
Boosts your performance capacity
If breaks are so helpful, why aren't they taken more often? Most people are too hard on themselves and expect too much of themselves without giving themselves enough time to rest and recharge. Instead of being too hard on yourself, you should practice self-compassion and recognise what you can and cannot do.
Breaks shouldn't be viewed as lost time; rather, they should be viewed as an investment in your future productivity.
Not only should your breaks be planned, but they should also not be cognitively taxing.
During this time, do not scroll through social media or read anything. Instead, go for a brief walk, strike up a small conversation, or meditate.
Once you understand the value of taking breaks, you can implement these productivity-boosting habits:
Habit 1: Set Your Daily Priorities
You should have a clear picture of your daily priorities at the start of the day.
If your daily to-do list is not organised correctly or you don't have a to-do list at all, you will continue to feel overwhelmed and confused throughout the workday. You will feel uncertain about the tasks you must complete and feel stressed when you realise an essential task is still outstanding. In other words, if you do not establish your priorities at the start, you may perform less essential tasks while neglecting more crucial ones.
Without setting priorities, we run the risk of succumbing to the mere urgency effect, where we focus on tasks that are urgent but ultimately less important.
Prioritisation is helpful because it:
reduces stressful feelings related to your work
reduces the complexity from your day by setting expectations
makes it unlikely that you will neglect essential tasks
helps you utilise your energy better
At the start of each day, it's crucial to have a firm grasp on what you'll be working on.
You can set your daily priorities by either:
Determining priorities for the same day at the start of a workday
Determining priorities for the next day at the end of a workday.
Doing this at a workplace may be a little tricky at first. It can be overwhelming to rely on others to define your work because you never know what new task will be introduced. If you report to a manager, you should ask them what your top priorities for the day should be. If you suspect a new task will take too long, express your concerns. Try to reach a consensus on what your daily priorities should be, and you'll be good to go.
Habit 2: Focus On One Task At A Time
Please learn to acknowledge that your mind was not built for multitasking or constant distractions.
When you multitask, you may think you're doing two or more things at once, but you are merely draining your energy by switching between tasks. Distractions operate similarly, requiring you to switch between them and the task. A better strategy would be to focus on one task at a time and avoid multitasking and distractions.
Since you are already aware of your priorities, you can pursue them sequentially. When a new task is assigned, you simply add it to your list and return to the current task you are working on.
Regard yourself as no better than the next person when it comes to avoiding distractions.
Consciously avoiding distractions is necessary because they are the enemy of your efficiency.
Because you will take mindful breaks between tasks, it will be easier to avoid being distracted while you work on a task.
Avoiding distractions and not taking planned breaks will only bring you closer to low productivity and burnout. You will be more productive if you take planned breaks and avoid distractions.
You will only attempt to focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions if you know that a break is around the corner.
Habit 3: Automate or Delegate Work Wherever Possible
When you know that a task is taking up too much time and can be automated or delegated, don't do it yourself.
You need to be realistic when you're on the road to becoming more productive. It is impossible for you to do everything at once. Therefore, you must do what you can and outsource what you can't.
If you can't do something, it is better to hire an additional resource, outsource work to a freelancer, or use a tool that makes your life easier. The less time you spend doing tasks that can be outsourced, the more time you can dedicate to other, more meaningful tasks in your life.
At the heart of it, acknowledging your limitations is a sign of compassion that you know you can't do it all and you shouldn't have to.
When you wish to be more productive, you must relinquish control over each task. You must realise that just because you can do a task doesn't mean you should. When you have lesser on your plate, you can do a better job at each thing that you do and be more productive.
Being productive entails more than just completing tasks efficiently; it also entails recognising how your personal well-being and happiness affect your work.
The Bottom Line
To become more productive, you have to find ways of being kinder to yourself. You need to acknowledge the importance of planned breaks, you need to have your priorities straight, and you need to focus on one thing at a time. Additionally, if you notice that some tasks are better automated or delegated, you should not do them yourself. When you are kind to yourself, you will feel more fulfilled and be able to achieve more in a day.
If you want to be more productive at the start of the day, we have some morning motivation tips for you to check out.
Priya R. Monver is a poet, writer, and lifelong learner. She is a business graduate who is fascinated by nature and mental health. Her love of writing and knack for branding help her grow as a professional content writer. Follow Priya on Twitter.