Nowadays, you simply have to be productive. In school, at work, in your personal life. We live in a create-on-demand world so you must feel the pressure every now and then. The thing you always have to remember when it comes to being productive, regardless of the context: you’ve got to have a clear mindset. Clarity of thoughts, needs, of the objectives you have to attain. Apparently, wearing the same thing every day could also help, but that’s not on our agenda today.
Some people have a natural skill in making the best out of their time. They are living the prolific life. They achieve so many things by the end of the week, as if they worked 100 hours instead of 50, and they still have the energy to enjoy themselves. They are efficient, brilliant and healthy at the same time. If it’s not your case, don’t panic because you are not the odd one out. You just have to work on your productivity habits.
1. “Frogs for breakfast”
Do you know Mark Twain’s notorious quote that says: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”? It inspired Brian Tracy to name his legendary personal productivity book.
The whole meaning of this unappetizing advice is that we should start our day by dealing with the tasks we feel like postponing. They are the most difficult and important, and this is the very reason for our hesitation. On the other side, once you’ve solved them, you will feel free and rather enthusiastic for any other assignment.
Let’s say there are mornings in which there are one too many “frogs” for your taste. My advice for you is to cut your day in a couple of chunks, each of them with its own frog. It works perfectly for me. Taking a break after each part will make this technique easy and rewarding.
2. Manage your energy, not your time
Productivity is about doing the best job and still have energy and room left for other activities. There are numerous techniques that promote dividing your workday into sprint-break cycles. Some people find it efficient to work for an hour and then take a 5-minute break. Others are more loose, they work 45 minutes and go outside for a 15-minute break. You’ll have to experiment until you find a technique that suits you best.
The moment you’ll realize that you have to be productive in the long run, you will find ways to prevent burnout.
3. Healthy self-analysis
Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and see your productivity flaws:
Do you have problems prioritizing your tasks?
Do you start the day already stressed out by the full amount of work you are dealing with? Do you head to the pit stops too frequently… texting, tweeting, sending e-mails or socializing on Facebook?
Try to brainstorm a little about this and mind map your productivity habits. It’s very important to be completely honest in the process. Once you have the big picture, you can start setting deadlines for the changes you want to make. Mapping your progress and rewarding yourself can also be very stimulating.
4. Anchor yourself in the present
Pay attention to the way you connect with people, the way food tastes, how you feel about different matters you come across, and how you are influenced by the outside world. It will uplift your awareness, and you will pay more attention to details. Eventually, details will turn into original ideas. And you need creativity in order to be productive.
5. Make the best out of your resources
Productivity is about being efficient while using your resources. You have to plan carefully all your work, set deadlines to speed up the rhythm, find people who can add value to your projects, and objectively assess your actions according to the achievements. Whenever you skip planning, you eventually find yourself reacting to the day’s events as they occur, rather than being proactive about your objectives.
Feel free to share any other hacks about boosting productivity!