Well I’m calling BS on this version of productivity. As far as I’m concerned:
Being productive is moving towards what you really want as efficiently as possible.
And sometimes in order to do that you have to stop, or even go in the opposite direction…WTF?! I know – it’s a crazy notion isn’t it. How on earth can you be productive when you’re not doing anything?!
Sometimes productivity comes from doing nothing
Imagine you’re a car for a moment. Your definition of being productive is functioning and using your fuel efficiently so you can get your passengers to as many destinations as possible, right?
But if you’re constantly driving around without taking time to refuel and carry out necessary maintenance, you’re not going to perform as well and eventually you’ll break down – which would make you incredibly unproductive.
You’re basically the same as the car. If you don’t take time to refill your tank and take care of yourself, then you can’t be productive because you just won’t work as efficiently.
Think about it – when you’re constantly obsessing about how much you have to do and how little time you have to do it, how does that make you feel? I’m guessing probably tired, overwhelmed, anxious, demotivated and/or pissed off? Not great emotions or states for getting shit done, don’t you agree?
But when you take little moments for yourself to calm your body and brain, to do something you love or to connect with another human – the pressure valve is released, and you can regain your focus, drive and clarity.
Which is a good segue onto my second point actually:
In order to be productive you must be clear on your destination
Again, it’s the same as being in a car. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, the car can’t get you there. Perhaps if you drive around for long enough you might find what you’re looking for, but that’s certainly not an efficient (or productive) way of going about things.
When however, you get in the car and give it a specific address, it will not only find the quickest route possible, it will navigate any roadblocks that come up along the way too.
Being clear on what you really want and what’s really important to you allows you to prioritise your time way more effectively. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of things to do – but you can’t do them all.
So if you identify which things will have the biggest impact on what you ultimately want to achieve, you can focus the majority of your time on those and get a much greater return on your efforts – meaning you’ll be way more productive because you’ll be working way more efficiently.
Having this clarity also then allows you to understand which tasks can be delegated, and which can be put on the back burner or even deleted altogether.
So there you have it – in order to be productive you must allow yourself time to refuel and be clear on where you’re heading.
4 Actions to boost your productivity
1. Identify five simple things you can do consistently to refuel.
E.g. take some deep breaths, go for a stroll, watch a cute puppy video on YouTube, listen to music, do something creative, have fun with the family, help someone.
2. Do three of those things every day.
Three? I hear you say! Yes, three! You could rock out to your favourite playlist while you get ready for work, take some deep breaths before lunch and watch a puppy video before bed…easy!
3. Map out where you want to be and what you want to have achieved in the next five years.
Be sure to be specific – i.e. grow the business won’t cut it – state how much profit you want to be making, or need to make in order to live the life you want.
4. Go through and prioritise your current to-do list in order of which tasks will make the biggest impact on your five year goals.
Identify what you need to do in order to complete those tasks as efficiently as possible, and commit to focusing on that first.