If you have often found yourself thinking you do not have enough time in the day to get everything done, you definitely have a productivity problem. The good news is, you are not alone. One way or another, every one of us has thought the same thing.
It’s not easy to stay productive, efficient, and profitable in life and business. There will always be something else begging for your attention while completing another task. Here are three tips to keep the ball rolling in your productivity level.
Have the needed clarity in what you need to do
While most people are busy, only a few of us are ever really that productive. A huge difference exists between the two. Undoubtedly, people will always claim to be busy, with their calendars full of meetings and tasks that need to be done, and with deadlines to boot. They run to lunch meetings, coffee meetings, regular meetings, and video conferences.
The working moms need to pick up the kids from school, attend PTA meetings, go to parent-teacher conferences and fund raising activities, the list goes on and on. Wow, you’d think, if they’re that busy, when do they ever get the time to breathe?
On the other hand, you will find productive people who are perennially busy but they always have a crystal-clear vision of those activities that deliver the needed results in their everyday lives. Productive people can afford to turn meetings down simply because those have nothing to do with what is more important for their work tasks.
Anything, such as coffee meetings, that does not provide a 100 percent congruence with their beliefs, vision, and end goals is inconsequential and does not deserve the time of day for them. Once you know exactly what your life and business should be like, you can plan an entire 90-day period or up to 6 months in advance, which is critical to a productive existence.
You won’t need to have a bunch of stuff going on in your calendar. What you want are results-driven activities, nothing else. Anything that doesn’t match the vision should be pushed off your plate.
It basically takes you up to 7 minutes to get back where you left off for every minute of distraction. This is a sad fact that many of us who are perennially busy realize too late in the day. Multi-tasking may be nice to see, but not giving any task your full attention can only fuddle the brain and encourage poor thinking habits.
Switching tasks will not reward you with a lot of dopamine, which is the feel-good hormone. Completing tiny tasks one at a time in optimal time is better than switching from one task to another and not really finishing up on anything. Maybe you are satisfied with short bursts of dopamine, but this provides a risky feedback loop.
That loop makes you feel like you’ve done a ton of work when in actuality you are not really doing much of anything that requires plenty of critical thought. This is precisely why the addiction to Facebook/Twitter and email checking continues unchecked.
Just focus on a solo task and just move to the next after completing the first.
Stay away from an in-boxed existence
Force of habit: you open your computer and the first thing you do is check your emails. That is what most people do, this writer included. However, when I read somewhere that this is the worst thing to do first thing in the morning, I got to thinking, is it ever really worth it?
Checking your emails immediately after you’ve switched the PC on places you in the mercy of someone else, i.e., those who have emailed you and demand your attention, from spams to the newsletters from your subscribed sites, etc. Pitiful right? Simply put, you’re conditioning your brain that you need to address every single email first in the fastest time possible.
The next thing you know, you’ll be three hours into your workday and all you’ve done is check and reply to your emails.
The better thing to do prior to opening your PC is to write down on a stick-it note what you need to accomplish today. Then you can open your emails only at two different times of the workday. This keeps your email addiction at bay.