How Being Productive Is Key To Lasting Success
There are those superhuman people who seem to always have it all together.
The big presentation due to the client by EOB? Done by noon.
Dinner for the week? Already meal prepped and in cute personalized containers, ready to go.
Those accounts receivable reports? Done and done.
We are all thinking it: How in the world do they keep all their deadlines straight and their sanity intact?
It is simple really. They have mastered productivity.
What Is Productivity?
By definition, productivity describes the state or quality of producing something. In other words, productivity is the aspect of being useful or profitable.
Understanding productivity helps in improving one’s personal performance. For individuals it involves being self-aware and adopting an attitude that leads to continuous improvement.
For companies, mastering productivity, can help elevate them to the next level. This in turn often results in better turn around, more streamlining and potentially a boost to their company finances.
Bottom Line: When one truly masters productivity, they can efficiently obtain results with less effort and time.
While productivity does involve spending time and energy to achieve your objective, it should not be equated to being busy every minute of every day. It does not mean moving through your tasks with lightning speed. It also does not mean being buried under piles of duties or pushing yourself past your limits in order to meet your goal.
Productive people do not chase deadlines, but instead, they achieve their tasks a day, week, month, or a year ahead of time.
Tips for Increasing Productivity
Most of us love creating “to-do” lists. It could be due to the feeling of accomplishment we get with each crossed off item. However, when was the last time you really paused to consider the items on your list?
Do those tasks on your list actually draw you closer to your goals? I know that I have been guilty of writing down and crossing off items such as “made my bed”. I call these temporary mood lifters. It feels good to see something crossed off but that is about it.
If this sounds like you, fear not. There are numerous ways of actually improving your productivity. It involves selecting the right factors that can lead you towards achieving your goals. The following are easy ways to be productive.
1. Set a Basic Plan for the Day
Have well-organized choices in the morning for this is what will set the tone of your day. For instance, will you begin your day by responding to emails? Does your day start with a focused stress reducing ritual?
Take some time the night before to set out your priorities for the next day. This is when you list out concrete and specific goals that you want to accomplish for the day.
Doing what you have set as priority turns you into a productive person. Therefore, begin with your to-do list and focus on it until you check it off entirely then shift to other people’s demands.
Drifting to other things reduces the momentum to continue pursuing your basic plan for that day.
2. Rank Tasks Based on Urgency and Setting
Every person has a set of tasks to complete that are related to their career, family, friends, investments, or spirituality. It is tempting to think of productivity as getting everything done.
On the other hand, attempting to accomplish everything in a day is equivalent to accomplishing nothing at all.
If you constantly find yourself in a self-imposed rush to get “everything done”. Take a deep breath.
A long list of things to do will derail your productivity, therefore, rank tasks based on your ultimate goal. That is, categorize them into personal life, business, work, or financial freedom and then rank tasks in each category based on their priority.
Focusing on tasks in this manner helps to reduce overall fatigue or half-assed outcomes.
With this method, each of your chosen life spheres will have its own priorities. This helps to ensure that you get the most critical tasks done without neglecting any category.
3. Group Similar Tasks Together
Adopt a time management technique known as chunking or grouping related activities together. One of the advantages of doing this is that it eliminates repetition, thus increasing productivity.
For example, do you have several client emails to send out? Carve out a set amount of time to focus solely on crafting those stellar emails. You can create a template of some sort to reduce your “ramp up” time and to ensure that you are hitting all your points in the email.
You can even use chunking to be more productive outside of your work life. For instance, group together your doctor visits, grocery shopping and your Target returns. This way you are not wasting gas or unnecessarily leaving your house.
Grouping tasks together reduces stress, for it ensures that all parts of your life are touched. Therefore, chunk these tasks, based on their relative proximity or urgency.
4. Set Deadlines
The next step after prioritizing tasks is to set deadlines for each activity on your to-do list. Begin with the task due first. This way you free yourself up for any unexpected problems that may arise in the day.
When setting deadlines also make sure to put down the approximate length of time it might take you to get something done.
This master plan will help you to stick to deadlines, and productivity will come naturally.
5.Establish the Measures of Success
The truth of the matter is that sometimes the outcomes are out of our control. For example, you might run every day for a month and see that the scale does not budge. Does this mean that you have failed? No. It is an outcome we cannot control.
However, we can control the task itself. Focus on the action as a measure of success and productivity. Did you write those blog posts? Did you meal prep for the entire week? Great.
That is the best way to measure overall success. By the effort we put in, not necessarily by the outcome that is produced.
These measurements are indicators of productivity and can be used by you as you focus on flexing your productivity muscles.
6. Audit Your Habits
Increasing productivity includes auditing your daily patterns periodically both at work and at home. It is a necessary procedure for it identifies trends and habits that are derailing your overall goals and strategy. For example, do you spend a lot of time scrolling on your phone each morning? Eliminate all practices that are slowing you down or those that are not goal-oriented.
7. Enjoy the Feeling of Achievement
Assess your progress from time to time and reward yourself when the “performance report” is good. Enjoying the fruits of your labor will drive lasting productivity and make it part of your daily routine.
This begins with confirming whether or not you are achieving your tasks and goals or merely completing tasks. The next step is to derive pleasure from the accomplishment. Celebrating your wins – big or small – will train the mind to focus on the goals.
Furthermore, it will help you to complete your tasks the earliest time possible and enjoy the feeling of achievement for a job well done.
Rewarding yourself shows that you can set goals and accomplish them. It is a clear indication that you are highly competent and driven.
Therefore, the sense of self-efficacy becomes an important tool in increasing productivity.
8. Do Not Dwell On your Failures
You might not always accomplish your goals as planned. Even a master plan can fail one day and that is okay. Do not view your missteps as concrete and finite, learn from them instead.
Audit your past performance and see if there is something that you could have done differently.
It is crucial to have such insight since it can be used when setting new goals in the future. On the other hand, dwelling on the failures will derail you again. Instead, dwell on what will be done differently in the future.
More so, allocate more efforts during the audit on coming up with the solutions instead of problem identification.
It is important to remember that it is easy to pinpoint failures, but it requires more fortitude and thoughts when correcting these problems. Additionally, it may take multiple attempts to accomplish a goal, thus focus on the solution instead of the problem itself.
Habits of productive people
Productive people are not wizards, but they have come up with ways of overcoming challenges that are experienced by many people. They have also learned how to work efficiently, thus boosting their productivity.
Discussed above are ways to be more productive; however, there are things that productive people avoid:
- They do not procrastinate on tasks because they are small or large, nagging, or challenging. Instead, they focus on their master plan and work towards accomplishing it on time before attending to other things that may pop up.
- They do not label tasks as boring or stuff that needs to be just done. Instead, they try to focus on the positive of each task. What new skill can be learned? What new knowledge can be gained?
- They do not attend to other others while working. These include activities such as constantly checking emails or allowing Skype to take over their concentration. Instead, they aim to finish tasks quickly so that they may have time for other things that are not on the list.
Therefore, productive people have learned to avoid these challenges by:
- Staying energized and intrinsically motivated throughout the day.
- Focusing on finishing the most critical tasks on their to-do list before moving to the next category of things or responding to people’s requests.
The Last Two Cents:
The article has provided you with ways to be productive; however, claiming the status of a highly productive person requires continuous work.
These suggestions are the starting point and will help you to increase efficiency and accomplish more.
However, to be the most productive, you must find what works for you. Maybe its all the tips. Maybe one or two will do.
As with everything, practice creates mastery. Comment below some of your favorite productivity hacks and what has worked best for you in the past.
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