Productivity is defined as “a way to measure the efficiency of a person completing a task.” In basic terms, making 1 product in an hour isn’t very productive, but making 10 products in an hour is seen as being much better.
But how do we calculate productivity in our daily lives? It’s easy to use units as a way of measuring productivity but that isn’t always the case.
So what exactly is productivity and how can we use it to optimize our success every day? Let’s discuss it.
What is Productivity?
Author of the book, Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg defines productivity as “making certain choices in certain ways” that moves us from being “merely busy” to “genuinely productive”.
We often assume that productivity in our daily lives means getting more things done each day. Well, what if I told you that isn’t exactly correct.
Instead, productivity is getting important things done consistently. No matter what you are working on, there are really only a few things that are truly important in a given day.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
What Productivity Is Not
Often times we think of productivity as being busy all the time. We see that person at work who’s always running around getting tasks done and their desk is covered under a pile of to do lists.
Well I hate to break it to you but being busy is not the same thing as being productive.
When you are missing deadlines or running 10 steps behind you are not actually being productive. When you are truly being productive, you’re more likely ahead of schedule.
Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day. Being truly productive means you are making the most of every day and achieving your goals rather than always chasing endless deadlines.
Like my dad always told me growing up: “Work smarter, not harder.”
How to Be More Productive Every Day
1. Manage your energy, not your time
If you stop and think about it, you are less productive during certain times of the day. What type of energy do you have in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Before bed? Determine how much energy each task needs to determine what time of day you should aim to complete certain tasks by.
2. Prepare the night before
If you only do one thing each day it should be to organize your to-do list for tomorrow. If you do it right, you’ll spend less time and energy the next day determining what you should focus on that day.
3. Don’t open emails all day long
Having email notifications is one of those big distractions you should elimate. Set a designated time every day (or a couple times a day if needed) to check and respond to emails. Getting distracted by the sound of the notification every time you get an email can do a lot of damage to your productivity.
4. Develop a “before work routine”
I often just call this my morning routine. Everything I do in my morning routine helps me prepare for the day. I drink a whole glass of water, do some yoga, and journal every morning. By doing these things every morning it sends a signal to your brain that you should get ready for work mode or school mode, or whatever mode you need to be in right after your morning routine.
My Top 5 Productivity Strategies
- Time Block Your Days: This time management method is where you divide your day into several blocks of time where each block is dedicated to a specific task.
- Understand How to Stop Wasting Time: Once you understand why you often find yourself wasting time, you can learn to catch yourself in the act and skyrocket your productivity.
- Having a Daily Routine: This strategy is pretty straightforward. When you have a routine set in place you already know what is planned for each day. I recommend setting up a morning routine and evening routine first and perfect those before going too crazy.
- Eliminate Distractions: Everything seems to demand your attention these days. And they can affect your productivity if you let it. Take note of what distracts you throughout the workday and get rid of it.
- Follow the Pomodoro 25 to 5 Technique: The Pomodoro Method is a time management system. The main idea, I like to call the 25 to 5 technique, is simply breaking your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. And after 4 of those rotations, you should take a longer break, 15 to 20 minutes.
Note: I will be making separate posts about each strategy listed above and dive into more details. To get notified of when I post them, sign up for my newsletter.
Some of my favorite books on Productivity:
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey
Final Thoughts on Productivity
How can you be more productive?
Remember, there is a big difference between checking things on your to-do list and actually getting closer to achieving your goals. Not every task on your to do list will contribute to your overall success of your goals.
Try implementing any of my ideas for being more productive every day. The idea is to find the best tip that works for you and gets you closer to achieving your goals.
Stop wasting time and start focusing on what you truly care about.
What tips are you adding to your daily productivity strategy? Let me know in the comments below.
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