Time is the most valuable asset that we have. It’s also completely out of our control. There’s nothing you can do to get more time, but there’s a whole lot that you can do to make the most out of the time that you have.
Being productive is hard. You won’t always feel like working. Inspiration isn’t driving you at all times. That’s why learning tools for productivity is so important.
What is being productive?
There are many different ways to define productivity, but I like to keep it simple. Productivity, to me, is the art of getting things done in the most efficient manner that you are capable of. Other people may define it differently, but that’s what makes the most sense to me.
The most efficient manner doesn’t normally include having a second tab open with Facebook sitting there ready to distract you. It doesn’t normally include a TV going in the background.
We come up with reasons to talk ourselves into letting these things distract us, but it’s really just wasting our time. If you aren’t fully committed to something then you’re always going to be able to do better. And we all know that you’re the type of person who likes to do better at everything that you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading about how to be more productive!
It will be a little difficult to change your behavior because you have developed habits along the way. Being more productive means changing the patterns that you have created for yourself into new patterns that will put you closer to where you want to be.
Don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism. Done is better than perfect. Finish what you’re doing and then move on to the next task. Not everything requires that you go over it with a fine tooth comb.
Being more productive will sometimes mean valuing action over planning. You will plan to a point, and then just start doing. You don’t know what you don’t know and you won’t be able to figure it out unless you just take action.
Failure is part of life.
You will never learn how to do things the right way if you don’t do them the wrong way first. Your productivity will increase based on how many times you fail at something. It’s not a linear progression either, it is exponential. Fail once and you’ve learned one lesson, fail 10 times and you’ve likely learned 100 lessons.
Movement is not always productive. Just being in motion doesn’t mean that you’re actually accomplishing anything meaningful. A lot of us are guilty of “being busy” all the time, but never really making real progress towards our goals.
Setting goals the right way will help you to be as productive as possible. Without clear goals, how will you know when you’re “done?” Having a real plan that is actionable will take your productivity to the next level. Don’t float by with a cloudy and unorganized plan any longer. Get your goals in order and then execute.
Choose the most important goals and throw the rest out. There will always be more great ideas than there will be time to execute.
Focus your energy on one thing at a time. No matter how good we think we are at multi-tasking, we are horrible at it. Human beings are only capable of doing one thing at a high level at a time. Choose what task you want to do and crush it, then move on to the next.
Track yourself using lead measures rather than lag measures. Set your goals for maximum productivity by making them simple. You are trying to go from “X” to “Y” by a certain “date.” X to Y by when. Breaking them down like this makes it really easy to track your progress. See the flow chart below for a couple of examples of goal setting for productivity.
Breaking the goals down like this requires you to actually know what it is going to take to execute. Instead of just knowing you have to eat less and exercise more to lose 20 pounds, you know that you have to drop 500 calories every day starting today and you will start working out 1 hour a day on Wednesday.
Remember the 80/20 rule and these 11 other great techniques for being more productive.
Another technique to being more productive is to learn the difference between urgent and important. How often are you thrown off track by someone else who decides that their idea of what you should be doing is more important that what you are actually doing? It could be a simple text or phone call that gets you knocked off track.
Productivity requires you to understand where your highest point of contribution lies. This means that you will learn how to throw out the urgent and focus on the important when the time comes.
Here is a current list of articles that I have written on the subject of productivity. You can also go to the productivity category to find the articles on the subject of being more productive.
Wrapping it up
Being productive will help you to make the most out of the time that you have on this earth. It’s not always going to be easy, and you won’t always be motivated. You must learn what drives you by reaching deep and understanding your whys.
I look forward to hearing what you all have to say about productivity and the tools that you have used to help you the most!