Everyone assumes that being more productive is simply about getting more done in less time. If you are a productive person, you definitely accomplish more in months than many people do in years. This is why so many strive to learn how to be productive.
However, productivity is more of a way of being. You could be doing less, and, at the same time, be more productive. What do you think of when you think about being more productive in your life?
On your search for being more productive, you are likely to come across a wealth of information on different tools, techniques, and tips to employ. Most of the time, it may seem like common sense; however, common sense is definitely not common practice, and this is why many individuals struggle to increase their productivity.
Most of what you will read will improve your results, but another contributing factor is that some of the suggestions just don’t seem to resonate with people or cannot be easily applied.
I am not going to tell you where you can buy a magic pill to take away any effort you need to make to achieve what you want, but I am going to share with you 4 tiny tweaks that really work as you learn how to be productive.
It is not only about applying the best practices but also applying yourself more and in different ways.
1. Get out of Your Own Way
Sometimes, all you need to do is stop sabotaging yourself and get out of your own way in order to develop productive habits. Sometimes self-sabotage can be obvious, like when you completely avoid moving forward with projects. Other times, it can look like perfectionism, where you are never satisfied with the end result and so never quite do your best work.
You might tend to look at all the extrinsic factors of why you can’t be more productive, and you might blame, complain, and point fingers at everyone and everything, except yourself.
When the blame cannot be directed externally, you might then resort to using excuses, desperately searching for a justification that will give you comfort because “you have no control over what happens.”
How many excuses do you have and live by each day? “I couldn’t do this because…or I don’t have time to do this because…” Your excuses might be valid, but in the end, they’re really only slowing you down; it is an avoidance technique that we subconsciously use when we don’t feel capable of completing the important tasks at hand.
Not dealing with procrastination is a clear example of standing in your own way. If you don’t tackle it, it will be there the next time you attempt to do whatever it is that you are procrastinating on. If that’s a problem you’re facing, you can check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.
Put results before comfort if you really want to change how productive you are. It may be difficult to find your focus at first, but once you get out of your own way and stop making excuses, you’ll find that life gets easier overall.
2. Talk to Yourself Differently
Productive individuals think very differently than others. You need to challenge your thoughts and develop a productive mindset. A productive person avoids thinking about all the things they won’t be able to do for X or Y reasons.
Instead, they think:
- I need to do this and this. What is the best way for me to get everything done?
- What is causing the stress, and what needs to change so that I manage this situation better?
- What can I do to improve this, considering the current circumstances?
The words and phrases you use immediately empower you, or they don’t; they either make you feel better or more stressed. You can use positive affirmations as a form of positive self-talk if you aren’t sure where to start.
The words you use to talk to yourself are pivotal to everything in life because they will be your guide, whether they support you or not. Being more productive will get much easier when your words build you up instead of tearing you down.
3. Adjust the Suit to Fit Your Body
Time management supports productivity, so it’s an important skill to develop when you want to know how to be productive. Most people often overlook the fact that time management is not a cookie cutter skill though, and what might suit you won’t necessarily work for your colleague or best friend.
You need to take the advice given from a meta view, and then adjust it to your specific situation.
Think about clothes shopping:
Sometimes the suit doesn’t fit, and you need to make adjustments and tweaks so that it fits your body perfectly. The same is true with time management and being more productive. You need to personalize what you read to your needs.
If some tips and techniques don’t work for you, instead of throwing in the towel, find a way to adjust them to suit your situation. Maybe time blocking won’t work for your specific job, but can you set a timer and work on something only for a certain amount of time?
Adjust when necessary to find the best way or organizing your time.
4. Identify Your Time Thieves
We all have time thieves, but most of us haven’t yet identified them. For some of us, it can be the apps on our phone that we scroll through. For others, it can be the bad habit of constantly checking email or spending more time taking breaks than actually working during our peak productivity hours.
If you can identify your biggest time thieves, the activities or situations that throw you off course, distract or interrupt you, or the bad habits that keep you from performing better, you will improve your results much more quickly and better learn how to be productive on a daily basis.
If you try to study, apply different techniques, and you ignore your current thieves, the effort will remain fruitless. Productive people know that eliminating time thieves is key to staying focused in the long run.
If you just aim to change one of your worst time management habits, you will change your results immediately. It will most likely also give you the impetus to change what else isn’t working once you feel the reward of your efforts and see the clear connection between what you do and what your reality is.
Think about one thing that, if you changed it right now, would have the biggest positive influence on your productivity. Write this down, think about what causes or contributes to this, and what your solution will be moving forward.
If you aren’t sure what has been distracting you, this guide can help you: How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus.
The Bottom Line
When you’re learning how to be productive, don’t forget to put results before comfort, if that is what you really want. Most people give up without ever knowing that they really can achieve their goals, meet their objectives, and transform their lives. Follow the 4 tiny tweaks above to get yourself moving in the right direction and learn how to be more productive.
More on How to Be Productive
- 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity
- How to Be Productive at Work: 9 Ground Rules
- 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills
Featured photo credit: Madison Yocum via unsplash.com
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