How To Be More Productive
The Internet abounds with tips and tricks to help us be more productive. But we seem to keep coming back for more. What does it really mean to be productive? Does it mean to work harder? Does it mean to get more things done in less time (to be efficient)? Or is it about the quality of the end result?
The first step to being more productive is to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Once you’ve identified your goals—both short-term and long-term—you will find that it gets easier to get stuff done. Productivity, then, is all about doing what you want to do in the most efficient way possible.
Here’s our take on how to be more productive.
Time is all you have
Which part of the day is most conducive for you to get work done? What are your primary distractions and how can you limit them? Can you use your commute time to get some things done?
Time management is a grossly underrated skill, and it is one that can work well to get more things done.
Tip: The Pomodoro Technique is a well-known time management technique that recommends breaking down your work into time slots of 25 minutes each, separated by short breaks. This has been seen to improve productivity at work.
Don’t punish the procrastination
Sometimes, half the battle is won when you simply start doing the very thing that you’ve been procrastinating for long. Procrastination is typically dismissed as a sign of laziness, but it is perhaps more than that.
You could be procrastinating the task ahead of you for more than one reason. It may be that you don’t find meaning in what you do. Perhaps you have too much to say and too much to do, and you don’t know where to begin.
Identifying the reason for your procrastination can help you decide whether you really want to be doing what you do, and if so, then how best to get started on it. Once you start, it is a lot easier to finish.
Tip: Productivity consultant David Allen describes the Getting Things Done (GTD) method in his book by the same title. The GTD method suggests that you record externally and break down into actionable work items all your planned tasks and projects so that you can focus on getting those things done rather than spending your mental energy on trying to recall them.
Don’t do what you’d rather not do
We’ve spoken about following one’s passion and why that is important. The key, of course, is to discover what your passion really is before you can begin to pursue it. Productivity is most effortless when you do what you really want to be doing. That’s when you will find that you don’t need external motivators (or deterrents) to get you to work.
Related: How to find your dream job
Look at the smaller picture
Yes, the big picture is important and it is often everything. But before you step back to get a view of the big picture, you do need to lean in and think small. This is where your short-term goals become significant.
Wake up every morning and create a checklist for what you want to achieve by the end of the day. Of course, this requires you to be answerable to yourself. Being your own boss is not as easy as it may seem!
Make no room for guilt
The lines between work and play are swiftly blurring with new-age companies allowing their employees to be more flexible about where and when they work. So, the weekends aren’t as clearly distinguishable from the weekdays anymore. Which means that we think we should be working as much as we can, and all the time that we spend on having fun quickly becomes a reason for guilt. This needs to stop.
Flexibility is a great thing, but you must work out a routine for yourself so that you make sure to make enough time for all things fun. Recreation, entertainment and rejuvenation are an intrinsic part of the productivity deal.
When you’re trying to be more productive, the first thing for you to do is to get moving–physically (exercise is a great motivator in itself), but also otherwise. You must also read as much as you can. It’ll introduce you to new ideas and experiences, and you’ll find that inspiration (the precursor of productivity) is by your side for the most part.
Productivity isn’t simply always about working harder and working more. It’s about doing your best work, however you choose to define that.
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We’re all looking to be better versions of ourselves. But with several day-to-day tasks taking up our time, we forget to look at the larger picture. MeraJob’s ‘How to Be a Better You’ is an eight-part series of self-improvement articles to help you enhance your performance at work and be successful at whatever you choose to do.
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