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The Benefits of Simple Productivity

The Benefits of Simple Productivity

Simplicity is often perceived as boring, unattractive and unremarkable.  Majority of people want something striking and complicated.

But as Leonardo da Vinci has said,

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Different to the common belief, simplicity is not boring, unattractive or unremarkable.  In fact, simplicity represents elegance and complexity.

The Misconception of Being Productive

The common error of people who aim to succeed at something is the tendency to make the process complicated, such as over analysis and accepting responsibility beyond one’s capacity.

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Take for an instance when an individual or company spends too much time planning and perfecting a product.  By the time the product is completed and released in the market, competitors have already dominated it.  Another example is when an individual accepts a lot of responsibility that is beyond their capacity.  They think that having many work responsibilities and working long hours are marks of a productive and fulfilled life.

However, being productive neither needs too much analysis nor working long hours. If only we knew how to keep things simple.

The Benefits

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~ Henry David Thoreau

If you want to be more productive with minimal effort and stress, learn how to simplify and stay focus. Here are the benefits of simple productivity:

1.  Clarity

Simplicity aids clarity; the directness of expression and purpose. It contributes to the ability of having a clear description of what needs to be done, why it is important to accomplish, and how it will be accomplished.

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2.  Focus

The majority of people are incapable of staying focused. They get easily distracted and lured away from their goal. They lose attention to what is important and needs to be done. This leads to an unproductive and stressful life.

Focus is the next benefit of simplicity. By keeping things simple, it helps you keep an appropriate amount of attention on the most important task at the appropriate perspective and time. By itself, staying focus creates more output with less effort and time.

3.  Elimination

A key to eliminating queasiness is to focus on the horizon. – David Allen

Diseases can be caused by stress and exhaustion. In order to succeed a person tends to abuse oneself in exchange for hard work. They have a habit of sacrificing most areas of their life such as family, social, financial, physical and emotional health.

Another benefit of simple productivity is that it allows you to leave things undone. It encourages you to say no to unimportant things and focus your whole energy to the important ones. It saves you time and energy. You no longer have to sacrifice areas in your life in exchange for work. Remember that the wisdom of life consists in elimination of the non-essentials.

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4.  Effectiveness

There are people who sacrifice quality in exchange for quantity. In order to accommodate and accomplish more tasks they tend to overlook some important process which leads to poor quality and error.

The next benefit of simple productivity is effectiveness in getting more things done. When you are clear and focus on what you want to achieve, you can concentrate on producing quality work. Your attention and effort is centralized; you are able to produce quality and efficient output.

5.  Tranquility

A disease shared by people who desire to succeed is the inability to rest, relax and achieve peace of mind. They tend to carry the weight of their work responsibility and stress wherever they go. It becomes evident in the expression of their face, body and tone.

The benefit of simplicity is that it provides more peace in your life. Simplicity assists you in creating clear goals, focusing on your actions, and getting more done. These factors help in eliminating the clutter and stress produced by undefined goals or purpose. It provides peace and tranquility in your life.

6.  Work-Life Balance

In the past, I couldn’t imagine how it was possible to achieve work-life balance. I’ve spent most of my time working long hours in the office in order to get ahead in the corporate world and achieve my definition of success. But after I learned the value of simple productivity, I learned that life is not all about work. There are other areas in our lives that are as important as career and financial success.

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The last benefit of simplicity is that it helps you have more time on your hands. You are able to achieve work-life balance when you are clear about your goal and staying focused on what needs to be done. This eliminates the unnecessary activity that leads to stress and fatigue. It also gives you more time for other important areas in your life.

People who are able to enjoy life while reaping success at the same time are the ones who understand the value of simplicity in productivity.

I hope this article has somehow enlightened you to the reality that you don’t have to sacrifice so many things in your life just to be productive and successful. All you need to do is to keep things simple and try your best to avoid making it complicated.

For a final note, let me leave you this phrase from the late Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc:

That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. 

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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