4 Ways to Be Super Productive (Part 2 of 3)
In the previous post, I covered 4 ways that I personally use to be productive. In this segment, I will be sharing 4 additional ways in which I recommend to help you become a productivity machine.
Being productive means that you should be getting more done in the same amount of time that you have previously allocated for work purposes or similarly it means getting the same amount done in less time. I am hoping that your increase in productivity leads you to use that extra time to spend time with family, doing things you really enjoy doing, or things in general that are helpful for your physical, mental or spiritual health. This healthiness is imperative to ensure you are able to last for the long run, without getting burned out.
Being a productivity machine can burn you out if you are not careful, it can eventually backfire on you. Just like you build up your stamina gradually as a distance runner; you build up your capacity on the amount of time you are able to focus on 'productive' things without feeling exhausted. By the time you know it (with practice and repetition) you will realize that you will begin getting a lot more done that you realized you could.
Tip #5 - Learn to Say No
A fact of reality is that you cannot do everything. Given this fact, you will realize that you may seem to be making sacrifices of doing certain things or even sacrificing time with people. You must be able to make tough decisions and say 'no' to taking on additional responsibilities, taking on more projects, going out with friends, to other things you actually enjoy doing. The reality is that time is limited so you must use your time wisely - so you will need to learn to somethings say no to doing more things. It is much better to accomplish a few things very well than a bunch of things at mediocre quality. If you make a decision to spend time with family, you should be fully focused on your family at that time (this refers not only to what you are doing but also what you are thinking). Don't spend time with your family at low quality, be fully there. Same applies to whatever project or task you are working on.
Tip #6 - Master the Art of Prioritization
We all have a list of 'things' we need to get done by the end of the week or by whatever time-period. Sometimes you can get them all done and sometimes you cannot, in either case you need to be able to prioritize properly. By prioritizing, I am referring to your ability to make very conscience and intentional decisions on what you will work on and in what order. There are various factors and methods that you can use to prioritize.
The methods that I use most often are: a) by most important, b) by most impactful, c) by shortest to complete, d) by easiest to complete, e) by soonest deadlines, f) by sequential dependencies, or g) by items others are waiting on you for.
Often you will find yourself prioritizing using multiple methods simultaneously. The important thing is to define what is priority and begin executing sequentially based on that order you have determined. I highly recommend, you constantly prioritize and revisit your list daily to re-prioritize your list if necessary. Things change, so re-prioritizing is perfectly acceptable, the important thing is that you have a solid understanding of why you are choosing what you are working and what you are pushing off to later and understanding the consequences.
I am personally constantly doing mini-planning of my activities for my day, even on days off. I use my Notes program to write out that sequence, which sometimes includes if I am going to bathe first or clean, and then if I am going to eat before or after I shower, will I perform my stretches at the beginning or end, etc. It is funny in a way, but it has become a habit of mine.
Tip #7 - Become a Time Pincher
People who are Penny Pinchers are people who ensure they make best use of every penny within every dollar they spend. These people make conscience decisions regarding things such as: if I have $1.50 to spend on a snack, should I buy that bag of chips that I really like or 2 pieces of candy. Or they may make the decision to get a cheaper bag of chips and a cheaper candy to be able to enjoy both. It is a very conscience decision, but they really stretch their dollar. Utilize that level of discipline when it comes to time as well, become a Time Pincher.
Employ a level of awareness of every hour to every minute that you spend on your activities. Treat 'time' as if it is a finite commodity that has limitations, because it is. Treat time with the same level of respect that the Penny Pincher treats money. Always be thinking, "how can I squeeze more time out of this or how can I shorten the amount of time I spend on that".
Tip #8 - Enjoy What You Do
Because you will be spending so much time on these 'productive' things, ensure that whatever it is that you are spending your time on is something you enjoy. Enjoying what you are doing can come from 2 forms. You actually enjoy what you are doing, so it does not even feel like work. Or the other form is, you don't really like it, but you are going to approach doing it with a positive attitude so that you do enjoy it. Fake it until you like it or fake it until you become it.
If you do not 'enjoy' what you are doing, you may be putting the quality of what you are doing at risk or you may risk getting bored leading to burn out. This may appear like strange advice, but having a strong mental state will ensure last the long run. This is what being a productivity machine is all about, not only about being able to do a sprint, but being able to run at sprint speed for a marathon distance.
Being a productivity machine is about doing more in less time, treating time like a finite resource, and lasting the long run. One point to make, regarding being a highly productive person, if it is not obvious, is that it is not easy. It is very hard to be highly productive person, just realize that if it was easy everyone would be one.
1. Do you have any examples when you were too afraid to say 'no' to something and you ended up failing in both things?
2. What other methods do you use to prioritize?