Debunking 3 Productivity Myths and 6 Actionable Steps for you to Increase your day-to-day Productivity whether you are working remote, hybrid or in office.
Productivity is the ability to remain focused and efficient in one activity for a particular period. The textbook definition is a ratio of input vs. output; the higher the ratio, the better the productivity. Though this definition is best suited for machines, it has human application as well, e.g., Megan can read 20 pages per hour. Mathematically speaking, she should be able to read an average book of 200 pages in 10 hours. Still, there are various factors in achieving this: rest, hunger & thirst, interest to read for 10 long hours, sleep and work, etc.
Some common myths related to productivity are: ‘The longer you work, the better the productivity’ or ‘Multitasking is the best way to get more done in less time’.
But the question is, are these really true? Let’s bust some of the most common productivity myths together!
This statement is so overrated in the work culture. Your boss and manager will always push you to work for just ‘one more hour. Working longer doesn't necessarily mean that you are more productive or are productive all the time. We must have observed at some point in time that even after a full day of work, we are far off the target.
It is recommended that you take quality breaks between work, e.g. a nap, coffee with colleagues or teammates, and talk/ interact with others. This allows our brain to process the information and remain active throughout the task. For some people, the pomodoro technique of focus works great, especially while doing mundane tasks. This technique essentially pushes you to work for 25 minutes with full focus and reward you with a short 5-minute break.
Another myth related to productivity is that if one is not productive at work, one is a lousy employee/boss/manager/business person. Let's understand that our brain is just another organ.
Like every other muscle, it tires off and needs rest and nutrition. There are times when ideas come like a flash when you are in a toilet or bed. The key is to allow your mind to be calm. That's the whole essence of productivity.
People are so sold on productivity that they wish to incorporate it in every aspect of life, personal and professional. Though there is nothing wrong with trying to be productive all the time, the inability to do so should bother you the least.
Isn't our private and personal life a place to be absolutely and effortlessly ourselves?. If you turn the pages of history, we will find a mountain of examples where effortlessly remaining calm got people into positions, created a multibillion-dollar worth idea, exceptional interpersonal skills, connected with God, and improved spiritual life.
Now that we have understood productivity, let's explore how one may achieve efficiency/productivity at professional work.
You can always customize and experiment what works for you, that's the kind of power only the internet can give you.
These are 6 steps / actions / habits that are repeated in almost all searches/ articles/ books etc. and can help you achieve your productivity goal. Mind you, these are rather simple techniques, simple but not easy, take your time to explore these and find what works for you. Consistency is the key.
Set the most challenging task for the next day. As you get to finish this task, not only will it give you a sense of accomplishment, but also additional energy to stay motivated for the rest of the day. The scientific reason is that our brain creates adrenaline and cortisol, the fear hormone. It is at its highest in the morning when you finish your challenge. Once done with the task, this hormone is reduced significantly and you have less decisions to make throughout the day, thus reducing the decision fatigue.
For example, if you want to finish that code you have been writing so far, schedule it first. If you are struggling to lose weight, exercise first thing in the morning. If you are a student and find Subject XY difficult, do it first thing in the morning. However tough it may seem in the beginning, do give it a try and see the results for yourself.
Some books that may help - 5 AM Club, Deep Work etc.
See more: https://www.activecampaign.com/blog/habits-of-highly-productive-people
Divide a task into the smallest possible chunks. If possible, club some of these tasks by the nature of its activity. Find or make a way to delegate. You may use tools, software products, friends, colleagues, etc. to help you achieve this step.
Though it's definitely not romantic to fail, it's sometimes necessary. It makes you humble, reminds you of your true purpose, pure strengths and nothing can help you improve.
We can see failure as "the end of the world," or view it as a fear. On the flip side, we can look at failure as an incredible learning experience with lots of ups and downs. It all boils down to not beating yourself up for fear and not losing hope. Some positive thinking can go a long way!
If time management is not your strong suit, fret not! Instead, organize your tasks based on your energy levels. We all are aware of our peak performance periods, or the time when we are most focused and have the maximum energy. Try making use of this time to focus on the most important tasks that require the most focus. Time management will also fall into place this way!
There is an abundance of knowledge and literature present, and all you have to do is research, read and practice. For productivity, you may use the Pomodoro technique, 80/20 principle, practice gratitude, Eschew Maricks, and other principles. These are some scientifically proven techniques that not only billion-dollar companies, HNW individuals use, but a lot of people find it useful. So do your research and find one technique that works the best for you!
When you are committed to mastery, Rest and Recovery are not options but necessity.
As you take forward the journey to bring out the best of yourself, give yourself quality and structure breaks. Give yourself rest and recovery time. This will increase your focus and boost up your energy levels.
So what do you do in these breaks? - You contemplate your actions, take a step back and analyze, appreciate whatever work you’ve done, set higher goals and smile. Smiling is non-negotiable, and the plan for the next big thing. Use this as ritual.
Understand your roadblocks and distractions and find solutions to focus better and be more productive throughout the day. Remember to wear the headphones, take frequent breaks, say no to long unnecessary meetings, put your phone away and find a technique that works for you.
It’s not that hard. Techniques like Pomodoro and the Eisenhower Matrix can do wonders for you to keep you focused for long hours.
Lastly, remember to engage in virtual team bonding sessions with your team that will refresh you for your next task.
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