There are a great number of recommendations, rules and tips to help you do it all. The hard part is following them: most of us simply won’t be able to, for a variety of reasons. Today we suggest a nearly perfect (as perfection is not attainable) way to become as productive as one possibly can. The great thing about this one is that you can really make it work. It is after all brilliantly simple. So here we go.
Let’s begin by discussing what productivity is to you personally.
Many mistakenly believe productivity has everything to do with the number of tasks completed within a specific time frame. Obviously, this viewpoint is somewhat erroneous to say the least, as tasks can be very different. An impressive number of checked boxed may not mean you are any closer to the GOAL. So what is productivity really about?
Productivity is a sequence of actions leading us to a visible or tangible Result. Our Result or Goal here can be monthly targets for a company’s employee or specific products resulting from our labor.
So how to boost your productivity?
It’s not that difficult to accomplish. Just stop spreading yourself thin: learn to set priorities when it comes to work (pretty handy in life as well). Try setting exactly three tasks for every specific time period (day, week, month or year). Undoubtedly, it will be easier to make plans for shorter periods. So you can start with those.
Define three priority tasks that you need to complete during your work day. These have to be specific, important, significant tasks that will get you closer to the goal you set. The goal can be reaching your targets, completing a project etc.
What’s the beauty of the suggested approach?
The best part is that following these recommendations automatically filters out the senseless tasks we contaminate our day with. By focusing on those three most important tasks we spend time doing what truly matters at the time. The rest can wait or be ignored for the moment.
How is this approach useful?
Besides the obvious benefits of planning your day and organizing your time properly, the suggested approach allows working mindfully rather than auto piloting your way through the day. By being all over the specific tasks we outline for ourselves, we act consciously. This means our work is filled with meaning, so we avoid the hamster-on-a-wheel situation. It’s evident that mindful and meaningful activity wears our body out significantly less than the automatic and senseless kind.
What to do if you cannot handle the three tasks?
It often happens so that while you are busy doing your work, something urgent comes up that requires your immediate attention. What to do in this case? There are a few options here depending on the task at hand. If no one else can do the task but you, your current task will need to be put away to switch to the one that came up. If the deadline allows completing the new task later, you just need to add it to your schedule for the next day. If the task allows delegating, this is exactly what you should do.
In any case, an emergence of a force majeure situation reflects on your daily schedule. In this case there is no need to worry: just postpone the item you did not manage to cross off your list for the next day.
Don’t skip the efficiency evaluation step
Most likely, at the very beginning you will hit a few bumps. It’s unavoidable, especially if you used to work on autopilot, just carrying out the tasks outlined by the management. Make sure you evaluate the work done at the end of every day. This will help you correctly define tasks for the next day.
And always make sure you praise yourself for your hard work, dedication and efficiency. Even if the task was not completed in its entirety, this is a not a reason to get upset and disillusioned. It’s possible you may not have correctly estimated your capabilities given the volume of the task. Or maybe you did not formulate it precisely enough? Just note it for future.
How to schedule?
It’s definitely easier to plan tasks for short time periods, like for a day. It’s best to do it at the end of each work day while your body is still in the working rhythm and you have a clear list of potential goals for the day to come in your head, can visualize the tasks that require your attention the most.
As for more distant plans (a week, a month, a year), you do need some time to think it over. If you find yourself unable to come up with precise tasks, you can use the contradiction principle: think about the obstacles that stand in your way to a specific goal, how your life plans may be affected if you do not do certain things etc.
We are convinced that the approach described above will help you work with increased productivity and fight fatigue. All that just because your work will become more mindful. You may even adjust the approach to fit your purpose and add something of your own. Best of luck with it!