How To Actually Be Productive
It was late last year when I decided to start writing online. Before this, I’d recently started journaling and quickly realised that I thoroughly enjoyed putting my thoughts to paper. In doing so, I found that I was better able to clarify my thoughts, while also being better able to understand the lessons that I was learning.
While initially, my writing was somewhat sporadic, I decided to make it part of my routine. That way I could improve not only my writing but also my patterns of thinking. In wanting to stay consistent, I decided to begin publishing my articles online, where each week I’d share a post to my website.
At first, trying to do this was somewhat tricky. Not because I didn’t have topics to write about more so because I’d find a variety of things that distracted me. While I was able to share a post each week, I was working up until moments before publishing and because of this, my writing started to become somewhat unfulfilling.
In wanting to change this, I decided to track how I was spending my time in hopes of finding extra hours that I could use to focus on my writing. To do this, I tracked how I spent my time for an entire day where I wrote down everything I did from the moment I woke up till the moment I went to sleep.
To say what ensured eye-opening would be an understatement as what I came to realise was that most of the time that I thought I was working, I was instead doing menial tasks. Things such as surfing the web, folding clothes, scrolling social media and what have you. Where what I thought was eight hours of productive work, was actually more like three.
Clearly, something had to give, so I decided to implement some changes, all of which have helped me stop procrastinating while also maximising my productivity. What are these changes? Well, I’m glad you asked! Let’s get into them …
1. Stop Multi-Tasking — For some unknown reason, it’s a common belief that multitasking is the holy grail of ensuring maximum productivity. Yet, there are many instances, especially when writing, where this simply isn’t the case. Where if you want to produce great work and maximise your productivity, the best thing you can do is focus on one task without any distractions. In incorporating focused work into my routine, I came to find that it tremendously improved both my work and ability to focus. Where I found myself completing tasks in far shorter time frames than I was previously used too. Where even though it took less time, the quality of my work was remarkably better than it had ever been.
2. Starve Your Distractions — Everywhere you look there is something ready to grab your attention. Whether it’s the news, your emails, text messages, things, even people. Yet, when it comes to being productive, especially when it comes to focused work, one of the best things you can do is starve those distractions. To set yourself up in an environment that is conducive to focused work, that has little to no distractions present. To actively remove distractions in my own life, I’ve taken it upon myself to avoid the following for the first few hours of my morning. Things such as my phone, e-mails, social media, the news, even sections of the house. When it comes to engaging with these things I have allocated times per day to use and check them, which is after I’ve gotten my work and most important tasks completed for the day. 3. Eat That Frog — With writing being one of the most important tasks I do each day, I make sure that it is the first thing I do each morning. The reason for this is that my best thinking and work is done during this time before I do any other tasks. Also, before I take in any other stimuli such as social media, messages and conversations. Whether the most important task you do is writing, coding, making sales calls or what have you — doing your most important task and eating that frog first thing in the morning is the best way to get all those lingering tasks done, especially those that you’ve been procrastinating.
While it’s easy to get distracted and to want to procrastinate with a variety of things, there are simple strategies that can be used to maximise your productivity. Whether it be focusing on one task at a time, starving your distractions, doing your most important task first thing in the morning, or a combination of these. Each of these are simple yet powerful strategies that when used, can help you move from procrastinating to productive.
Now, I'd like to hear from you! What tips do you use to improve your productivity? Let me know in the comments below.