Photo credit: yoppy (CC BY 2.0)

Here at Lifehack we offer tips, tricks and ideas on how you can be more productive. We deliver them almost every single day. We love doing it because we not only want to help you become more productive, but we also want to be part of a group who wants to be more productive.

By why do you want to be more productive?

Why do you look for tips, tricks and ideas to hack your life? Why do you test new and eciting products and theories so that you can produce at more optimum levels? Why is improving your productivity so important to you?

When you really think about it – I mean, really break it down – there are 10 reasons why. Some of them work in tandem, some don’t. Some rate higher on one person’s scale than on another’s. Some are practical, some are quite silly. But all of them are reasons – and there are only 10 of them.

And here they are.

1. You want to do more with your time.

This one is at the top of the list. There aren’t enough hours in the day to allow us to meet all of the demands we have, so by being more productive with the time we have we can do more stuff. To-do lists keep us moving forward, checklists track our progress and reminders and calendars serve to keep us on schedule.

But is that enough of a reason to want to be more productive? Just to do more stuff? Speeding up doing the stuff you’ve already got on the go just so that you can do more may seem like a good move, but it depends on what the “more” is. If the “more” is the important stuff, then you’re on the right track. If it’s just stuff, then you’re way off course.

2. You want to do better with your time.

This one should be at the top of your list. Putting some form of productivity system in place – a trusted one that best suits your personality – will allow you to achieve better results of the stuff you do with that time. You”l be on the ball more often, be able to move fludily from task to task and not get lost nearly as much with a trusted system at your side.

The fact that you want to do better with your time means you’re stuck as-is. You know you’ve got more in you, and you’ve decided that you’d much rather to better with what you have than add more to your plate just to appear better to others. You can’t fool yourself or others with this strategy. This is clearly a case where less is best.

3. You want to earn more with your time.

You figure that by being more productive (or being seen as more productive) you’ll increase your earning potential. This can be true…if you’re willing to work on this over the long term. It also will work if you manage what you have rather than add more to what you’ve got to do. If you fail to do the latter, then you’ll be in a perpetual state of overhwhelm. And no amount of extra earnings is worth that.

Outsourcing your owrk can be one way to earn more with your time, but you need to take the time to choose wisely about what you’re going to offload. Make the wrong call, and you’ve got twice the mess to clean up. Treat your time as a commodity and you’ll have a better chance of taking advantage of it when the chips are down.

4. You want to have an easier time.

Some people just want to be able to relax. They want to know that everything is able to run on autopilot so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labour. Being more productive can make life easier for you, especially if you commit to the system that will work best in keeping you on top of things.

Adopting the system won’t be easy, though. You’ll face challenges that are both external (Why do you need to capture that?) and internal (I’ll remember that…I don’t need to write it down). If you can overcome hurdles like those then you may very well have an easier time with things going forward.

Let’s just hope that “easy” doesn’t turn into “bored” before too long.

5. You want time to do something different.

You hate what you’re doing. It’s not your calling. Or you want to take on a hobby that you’ve been eyeing up for awhile, but time just won’t permit it – at least not the way you’re using time now. That’s when being more productive with your time can make the “same old, same old” turn into opportunities for new and different things.

Whether you’re pursuing a passion that you know you could make a living at or want to take up knitting, you can get there by planning your time better. That may mean giving up stuff that isn’t moving you closer to that new and different thing (cutting back or eliminating television, starting your day a little earlier, etc.), but it’s a big first step. That’s how you’ll go from being more productive in general to being more productive with purpose. And your purpose is really the best one of all. Work towards that purpose with productive use of time in mind.

6. You want more time.

This one is more a matter of how you handle time than actually gaining time. We all have the same amount of time; how each of us uses it can be the difference-maker.

You may be the type of person who needs a rigorous schedule. So do that. You may be the type of person who can only take on one big project at a time so that you can get it done and have more time for play later. So do that. You may need to scale back on your current plans so that the bigger plans you have your life can stand a chance. So do that.

The more time you’re looking for is time you already have; it’s just used in a way that doesn’t work for you. So make it work for you…because we don’t have a lot of it.

7. You want time on your side.

Time seems to run away from you. You can’t keep up. The clock works against you and there’s nothing you’ve been able to do about that. You figure that by being more productive with it then it will start to play nice with you.

It won’t. Not unless you give it the respect it deserves.

Time hates to be abused. You abuse time by wasting it or squeezing the life out of it by using every second of it in the act of doing. Time needs a break, and so do you. So you can’t just be more productive without really looking closely at how you treat time.

Proper planning and knowing when to just let go will go a long way in making time a fast friend. But it’s a fickle beast – and that makes it a tough friendship to maintain.

8. You want to control time.

This is one of the silly ones, and yet people put systems and checkpoints in place so that they can try to do it. Things happen. Plans go awry. Balls get dropped. Why?

Because we’re human…and we live in a world full of humans.

Increased productivity doesn’t happen because of how you handle the moments you are in control; it happens because of how you handle the moments that you’re not.

9. You want to free up time.

This one works in conjunction with making things easier on yourself, but with a slight difference. Those who free up time tend to be more fulfilled than those who just want to have an easier time.

That’s because the freeing up of time presents a variety of things to do, places to go, people to see and more. The peopel who want to free up time have things they want to pursue with that time. The people who want an easier time simply don’t want to do much with it other than know they’ve made their lvies a little bit easier.

So, do you want to live a more fulfilled life because of increased productivity or just have “less filled” life because of increadsed productivity? The answer separates those who want more freedom and those who want it easier.

10. You want to improve over time.

This one’s a big one, and it ends the list because of it. It seems to many of the other reasons but has a distinction about it: It’s focused more on the journey than on the destination.

How you improve over time is subjective when you aim to be more productive. It could be in work, life or elsewhere. It could be in many areas, with the focus on improvement being shifted when either the priorities shift or the mood strikes. By looking as far ahead as possible, you put yourself in the position for major renovations in your life. As you gain knowledge and wisdom, your productivity will improve. You may not be more efficient at things, but you’ll be more effective.

When you have this reasoning in mind, time is your friend because you’re not in a race against it. You’re working with it, alonside it for years and years. You learn how to treat it and it learns how to treat you. There is an ebb and flow, a give and take. And the struggles and skirmishes are minor and forgotten. You don’t hold a grudge against time and it doesn’t hold one against you.

The journey is essential to the improvement, and you’ve brought along all of the right equipment (upgrading as you see fit along the way) to make sure it’s an amazing one.

What are your reasons?

Which of these reasons are behind you wanting to be more productive? Do you have several…or just one or two? How do you plan to keep all of your reasons in mind so that you can get to where you want to be?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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