That is why I prefer to approach the definition of productivity, in a way that focuses on how people can automate and better manage their lives and projects, thus having more time to do what they really want and dream of.
What Is Productivity?
When we talk about productivity, we refer to the efficient use of our resources in obtaining results, producing goods and/or services. It is also the way to obtain the results we want in less time and with less effort.
In other words, productivity is what takes us from being busy, to achieve the results we are looking for. It is also the best way to achieve our goals and objectives in less time, investing our effort and resources in what matters.
What Does It Mean To Be Productive?
Following that line, we can say then that being productive is obtaining good results while working on the right things. And it is that when you focus on obtaining relevant results, you do the things that you really must do to obtain results. Things that improve your career, your business, and your life in general.
Some people just seem to have been born with the gift of productivity. They always have everything in order, ready, on time, and even more …… it seems that they do it effortlessly. Some manage to do so many things in one day that it is hard to believe it was possible. These people are known as “highly productive.”
But if you were not born with that ability or strength, I have good news for you: some different techniques and habits can help you increase your level of productivity, both in your personal and professional life.
Lack Of Motivation And Productivity
Many people think that productivity goes hand in hand with motivation, and although a motivated person indeed tends to be much more productive, it must be taken into account that we will not be willing all the time because there will always be factors that affect our attitude and mood (even being happy doesn’t necessarily mean feeling motivated).
Motivation comes in waves: some days we wake up wanting to eat the world and we get to work on our projects with all the will and willingness. However, other times the simple fact of getting out of bed costs us a lot and those days you probably sit for hours in front of the computer, without making any progress.
If we wait for that feeling of motivation to start working on something, we will never be truly productive. That is why it is so important to apply techniques that help us always work productively, even when we don’t feel motivated to do so.
How To Increase Your Productivity
Let’s get straight to the point:
1. Analyze The Situation
The first step is to identify the cause of the problem (how and why you are not being productive): Are you very tired? Don’t you like your job? Do you sit next to a partner who does not let you concentrate? You are lazy? Do you spend a lot of time on social media? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work assigned?
2. Forget About Excuses
After you’ve identified the problem, put it aside to focus on improving the situation. If you have things to do and you know that no one else will do them for you, sitting down and listing the reasons why you don’t think you are capable of accomplishing those tasks won’t make them go away.
3. Look For Solutions
Instead of a list of excuses, better make one with possible solutions for the problem you are having, taking into consideration your current circumstances.
You may not like your job and that is because you are not motivated to do it. But we already said that in this case motivation is not everything and you are not going to quit your job from one day to the next (especially if you have debts to pay or responsibilities to fulfill).
Top 10 Steps To Increase Productivity
Once you have defined why you are not being productive and what are the things you can do to improve that situation, it is time to implement the techniques that will help you achieve results:
1. Identify The Activities That Take Time Away From You
Activities that constantly distract or interrupt you and that prevent you from better performance or productivity, are a loss when it comes to generating.
We all have something that always distracts us: it can be an object (like the cell phone that we check every 5 minutes), an event, or even a person (like the coworker who comes to our desk every day to tell us about his latest conquest loving).
These outages seem obvious and easy to identify, but many are unaware that there are activities that appear to be productive, but are actually robbing us of valuable hours. In my case, for example, I was in the habit of spending time designing the ads I shared on social media.
This is something that is part of my daily tasks and it is also something that I enjoy doing, so I was running out of time without thinking. But I realized that spending many hours designing images did not bring me great benefits and that my time could be used much better in other activities.
This is why I am currently trying to use images with default layouts and spend no more than an hour a day on this particular task.
2. Keep A Priority List
Priorities and projects with tight deadlines should be done first. Don’t put them off because the idea of doing them overwhelms you and don’t let other things distract you (even if they are related to your work).
Some of the to-dos probably take months to complete (in the case of a large project, for example) and others should be finished by the end of the day.
Anything that doesn’t need to be taken care of immediately can wait. Focus according to the levels of urgency. This becomes extremely important when you have an online job and/or are your own boss.
3. Set Small Goals
Do not be sad. To-do lists often fail because we make them too long or complex.
If we include absolutely everything that we have to do until the end of time, we will turn our to-do list (which should be our best ally) into an arch-enemy that we will not want to see.
If we divide the big and scary projects into small tasks including them in our daily list (only what must be done on that specific day), we will move on them almost without realizing it.
4. Establish Rest Hours
Research shows that the brain can only focus for 90-120 minutes at a time. After that time, our mind needs a short rest before it can start its next focus period.
Organize short breaks between your tasks. Drinking coffee with a partner, reading an article on a topic you like, or just going outside for five minutes can give your brain the rest it needs to continue the day.
Now, if it is one of those days when you think that the hours will not reach you and you cannot afford the “luxury” of those small distractions, you could use your “rest” time to work on other small tasks that do not require a lot of concentration.
5. Use An Agenda Or Calendar
Plan your schedule weekly and try to review pending tasks in advance. This will help you avoid surprises and/or find yourself pressed for time.
You can keep a physical agenda (some people prefer it), or use a program on your computer or mobile application. The good thing about this last way is that we usually have the cell phone always at hand and if you are a little clueless, the alerts can literally save the day.
6. Keep Important Things In Sight
This technique is very effective and works for anything you set out to do in life.
For example, if you want to start drinking more water, buy a thermos and keep it on your desk or workbench with fresh water all day. Throughout your day you will look up and when you see the thermos, you will remember your goal.
Even if it’s something other than water, keeping the thermos close and insight will likely cause you to drink what is in it, rather than getting up and spending money on artificial juice or soda.
And the same goes for work. If you know you have an article or presentation to do, keeping the document open on your computer will make you aware of the fact that you still have to complete that task.
7. Say No To “Multitasking”
Trying to complete multiple tasks at once will only slow you down. Many do not know that working on several things at the same time takes energy out of your brain because it must change its focus from one thing to the other, in a very short time.
8. Do “More”, Not “Too Much”
They are 2 very different things. Being ambitious is good until you feel like it’s too much and then it backs off.
It is fine to want to be more productive, but everything has a limit. Working until you are exhausted and reaching the point of extreme exhaustion will only cause you stress and anxiety.
9. Improve Your Lifestyle
Some foods give us energy and others that drain it. The things you eat, the time you sleep and the amount of exercise you do are directly related to your level of productivity, believe it or not.
A body that is not receiving the nutrients, rest, and physical activity necessary for its proper functioning will never (forgive the redundancy) function well. Exercising increases blood flow lowers our anxiety levels and helps us be more alert, which in turn allows us to focus better.
10. Ask For Help
Smart people ask for help, not to mention that doing so can save us a ton of time in the long run.
Yes, at first it can be difficult to “waste time” going here and there, asking questions, reading guides, or watching video tutorials. However, in the end, all this will help you acquire new knowledge and be much more efficient in your work.