Advertising

Why You Shouldn’t Care About Other People’s Productivity

Why You Shouldn’t Care About Other People’s Productivity
Advertising

“You won’t believe this…Jeremy actually got to inbox zero!”

If the above phrases don’t make you want to narrow your eyes, shoot a darting glare at someone and/or grit your teeth with jealousy, then you’re probably in denial. Because yes, your desire to increase your productivity can produce a nasty green-eyed monster called jealousy.

Advertising

It sure can be annoying hearing about yet another work colleague getting to inbox zero or collating 200 copies of a complex marketing presentation in 30 minutes – better, stronger and faster than the Six Million Dollar Man himself (cue a rousing chorus of booing and hissing). While you might seek solace in loving to hate people who are more productive than yourself, the truth of the matter is that you really shouldn’t care about other people’s productivity. And the best way to increase your own productivity is to ignore what everyone else is doing, and follow the only guide or measurement over which you have control: how you work.

Advertising

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t care about other people’s productivity and what you can do to increase your own productivity:

Advertising

Why You Shouldn’t Care About Other People’s Productivity

  • You are you. You are not other people. You are not “them.” You decide and are responsible for how you want to make the most out of your energy and time.
  • You waste more time and effort chatting, talking, gossiping and scheming about other people’s productivity. All of that energy could have been used to help you become more productive and get more work done in a shorter amount of time. Instead of putting in extra hours at work, you could be at home or at the beach relaxing!
  • Talking about other people’s accomplishments diminishes your own accomplishments. You can compare yourself to other people until you are blue in the face, but what good will that do? You’ll belittle what you just accomplished, or what you could potentially accomplish in future.

What You Can Do to Increase Your Own Productivity

  • Give yourself a passion-filled reason to improve your productivity and get stuff done. We all have different reasons for becoming more productive. Why do you want to finish processing your email inbox at a reasonable hour at work? Do you want to get home to spend more time with your family, or to go through that giant stack of DVDs of The Wire you’ve been meaning to watch?
  • Know what slows you down when working. Do you take a long 15 minutes (maybe one hour?) checking Facebook or Pinterest? Do you procrastinate at work when it comes to filling out your travel expenses? Do you get bored and fidgety after staring at the computer for 30 minutes straight? You know more about your own work habits than you think.
  • Specify and target your own goals. Do you want to process invoices faster, or perhaps get that ton of paper filing done in 30 minutes? You can set your own target, do research for tips, ideas and hacks on how to become more productive, and reach your goal…at your own comfortable pace!

The next time you hear of another feat of office productivity prowess that makes you want to run off and scream in the office supply closet, think kind and good thoughts towards the Suzannes and Jeremys in your life.

Advertising

Remember, the only person whose productivity you should be concerned about is yourself.

Choose your target and blow it out of the proverbial productivity water!

Advertising

More by this author

Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

7 Ways to Define Your Own Success 10 Helpful Tips To Effectively Declutter Your Home 15 Bad Habits Which Always Destroy Your Productivity Everyone Should Know These 10 Tips Before Returning To Work After Vacation 15 Useful Tips To Defeat Procrastination, Once And For All

Trending in Productivity

1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity 3 5 Values of an Effective Leader 4 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 5 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Advertising

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next