There is nothing better than feeling a sense of fulfillment—may it be in your business, career, school, or everyday life. Achievement truly boosts our confidence, and motivates us to continue doing what we do. It encourages us to work harder because we see that our hard work has paid off. In most cases, we experience a sense of fulfillment when we deem ourselves as productive.
A common misconception of the word “productive” is that it means doing more work in less time. However, it actually means achieving a significant result; not just in quantity, but also in quality.
For instance, if you were a shoemaker and you were given an order to make 10 pairs of shoes, and you were able to create all of these pairs in a short amount of time, but with very poor quality, it would not be considered productive since your customers would most likely ask you to redo most of the work, which of course would take more time. Or worse, your efforts might not even bring any additional sales to your business at all.
Real productivity is when you create something of high quality in the least amount of time possible.
Now, you may be wondering how to achieve productivity in general. Sure, there are hundreds of ways to be more productive, but let us take a look at the most unique and effective steps.
1. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a person’s ability to be fully present and to live in the moment. While it is true that each one of us has this natural ability, not all of us know how to use it. Oftentimes, the word “mindful” is just understood as minding your own business, but it truly goes beyond that.
To practice mindfulness in your work means focusing on what you are working on, and only on that. Do not let your mind wander. Daniel Law, a Sydney marketing consultant, is well-known in his industry for being laser-focused when it comes to getting his clients results. This, in turn, has earned him a positive reputation.
When you are engaged in important work, it is imperative that you do not find yourself thinking about your last lover, or your next meal, but instead remain focused on the task at hand. Research has shown, again and again, that practicing mindfulness leads to making better decisions and thus, becoming more productive.
2. Outsource work
If you find that your assigned work is not within your capability, then do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help will allow you to save more time. So, rather than incorrectly doing the job by yourself, outsource the work. Ask someone else who is an expert in what you are trying to do; ask them for advice and tips that can help you work accurately and more efficiently.
3. Make a list
If you truly want to be more productive, make a list of the things you want to achieve. Plan ahead of time and get yourself ready. A lot of people choose to not think ahead about the things they want to attain because of the fear of failure, but when you actually write down your goals and create a checklist when making plans, the things you have to do become real and don’t remain in the back of your mind.
4. Know when to say “No”
As mentioned previously, most people think of productivity as being able to do 100 tasks in 1 hour, which is completely wrong. We already know that true productivity means completing a good amount of work with the right quality, so knowing when you have enough work to do is a major contributor to productivity.
When a person keeps saying “yes” to everything, chances are that person will go out of their mind trying to get so many things done at once. Additionally, that person may also accept tasks that are beyond his/her skills. This will compromise the quality of work, and may possibly lead to wasting time.
As long as you know your limits, you will be productive. Do not go overboard, make sure you know when and what is enough, and learn to tell others and yourself, “No.”
5. Avoid multi-tasking
Contrary to the famously advised art of multitasking, one should not do too many different things at once. Ryan O’Connor developed a massively successful brand in One Tribe Apparel by giving important priorities “undivided attention before moving on to other tasks.” Psychologists maintain that multi-tasking for more productivity is a myth that does not do you any good. It only causes the brain to engage and disengage, again and again, when you shift between different tasks—obviously, this is not what we want if we aim to be productive.
Engaging and disengaging between tasks will take up a lot of time, and will compromise the quality of your work as the brain adjusts to the new task and re-adjusts back to the old one.
6. Develop habits you can associate with good performance
It might sound silly, but it works. The notion “mind over matter” is actually effective when it comes to productivity. When your mind connects habits that are practiced simultaneously with tasks that produce positive or good outcomes, it will make it easier for you to perform and achieve the results you desire.
An example of a ritual may be eating chocolates while writing essays. If this is continuously done successfully, it is possible that eating chocolates will be what it takes for your brain to activate its essay-writing mode. With that, productivity is around the corner.
7. Be courageous enough to decide
Do not spend too much time deciding whether or not do something. Make a decision and challenge yourself. Shaun Ling, founder and executive chairman of iPRIMA Media, built a successful branding company by being decisive and leading his team of associates courageously. Taking too long to decide will only lead to delay in work. Of course, decision-making also involves having the courage to take up challenges—and accept both positive and unfavorable outcomes alike.
Indeed, the journey towards productivity is quite challenging, but with these productivity hacks, there is no doubt that it is attainable.