If you thought happiness was elusive, we can only imagine how the thought of better productivity would totally give you the shivers. We don’t like to say that ‘being productive isn’t rocket science’, because it does require dedication, lifestyle adjustments and determination: however, what we do say is that your mind is in fact the most powerful tool, and YOU RULE IT. YOU ARE THE SUPREME COMMANDER OF YOUR MIND!
We’d like to share with you a handful if basic changes in your lifestyle to begin with.
In fact this is the first lesson: Don’t cram up the lessons as a quick/ shortcut guide to “temporary” productivity. Start with the simplest pointers. You are in fact going to be changing the way you have been functioning all this time, since what you were doing until now, was not giving you the kind of lasting productivity you have been looking for. So start with this: Commit to starting slow. Make the first few basic changes to your habits and master them.
1. Plan for tomorrow, tonight itself.
Whether it’s your to-do list, planner, bullet journal, or your phone’s notepad; planning the night before, instead of *bang* in the middle of your work day, could help you develop nuanced focus and in turn, be in-charge of your day.
Creating a quick task list before going to bed gives you a head start to the following morning as you’ve already planned what needs to be done in the day. Keep it realistic and simple. Most leadership moguls keep two or three top tasks for each day with sub-tasks. Over ambitiously, cramming numerous tasks to your day would get you panicking and feeling overwhelmed and unaccomplished at the day end.
The key phrase here is: KEEP IT SIMPLE (the night before: it even guarantees a good night’s sleep).
2. Trust me, you’ve gotta sleep now.
The next logical step after planning your work day tomorrow, is to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night is crucial for your physical and mental health.
And the fact is that *in fact* you already know that sleep deprivation reduces efficiency and makes you more prone to laziness, putting off deadlines, committing errors in basic work, delays and being cranky in general. On the other hand, being well-rested elevates your mood, boosts your creativity, reduces stresses of all physical, mental and emotional nature, and improves memory. With sharper focus you are able to even take split-second decisions.
The key phrase here is literally: SLEEP NOW.
3. Yes, digital distractions is a real phenomenon.
The average homo sapiens spends nearly one-quarter of their workday browsing through social media for non-work related and non-home related activities. Why not define a pre-decided time of the day to carry out social media activities, retweet, respond to comments, share cute snapchats, update your Instagram story and longingly glance through your friend’s holiday pics? That would ensure you get to do this for the number of minutes or hours YOU pre-set per day, and at the time-slots that you pick for yourself. And, in turn, you’re not aimlessly browsing through distracting content that affects your performance at home and work.
The key phrase here is: SET A LIMIT. P.S: It could also be beneficial to disable app notifications or keep your phone on silent mode while working so that the constant updates don’t distract you.
4. Take that break, and stretch a little.
Take short breaks between work to walk around, have a quick chat with your colleague or friend, to do some eye rotation exercises, splash some cold water on your face. These breaks actually boost concentration, creativity and memory.
Continuously working for long stretches of time leads to stress, exhaustion and decision fatigue; and mind you, these don’t dissolve, but instead keep on accumulating, adding to mental and physical discontent.
The key phrase here is: TAKE A BREAK AND REFUEL YOUR MIND.
5. Why not make a “not-to-do” list too.
This one has to happen *bang* in the middle of your work day. A not-to-do list is a productivity game-changer. Take some time to analyse your day and the things you could have done differently or more efficiently that day. Quickly jot these points down so that tomorrow can be planned better keeping in mind the things you’re doing that aren’t contributing to your personal and professional goals.
You could even take this a notch ahead and actually create a list of all of those activities you’re planning to stop doing in order to become more productive, and pin it up on your work station or refrigerator at home.
The key phrase here is: ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS.
So to sum up, the end goal of our guidance has got to be that you have *in fact* accomplished your daily tasks, i.e., ticking off your checklists, filling up your planner’s daily page: these tasks that YOU have set for each day. Daily accomplishments add up and make your week justifiable to yourself. The weeks add up to months and the entire year is made up of small actions achieved by you on a daily basis. There is no short cut to this. You cannot skip days and think “Oh, I’ll manage tomorrow”. That is why keep your tasks doable and your end goal as large as you want it to be. And if you’re new to this: procrastinating initially is normal. Just keep at it.