Most of us could achieve far, far more than we do in our daily lives – and looking at the incredible success stories in the media of people like Richard Branson or Steve Jobs makes this painfully clear a lot of the time. When we think about it we spend eight hours a day at work, and the work we do – whether it’s data entry or journalism – could probably be completed a lot more quickly and perhaps even in three or four hours. We could then use this time in order to accomplish a lot more, or we could even potentially go home early.
At the same time when we’re at home we spend to use inordinate hours sitting around not really doing anything and while vegetating in front of the television for six hours might be pleasantly mind numbing we can hardly think of it as our time well spent.
If we really worked at the speed we could – without the incessant breaks or the lapses in concentration or periods of procrastination, and if we spend our free time more productively as well… then we could likely achieve twice or three times as much. And what could you achieve with all this extra output? Well you could set up your own business on top of working for the ‘man’, you could pursue new hobbies and interests and learn languages and programming and electronics, or you could make sure that your home was always the tidiest and best looking it could be. If you had all those extra productive hours then put simply there are hundreds of things you could achieve. The world would truly be your oyster.
But how do you become this image of hyperactivity and impressive output? How do you go from being fairly lethargic to becoming highly productive? Here we’ll look at the answer to that question and see how you can make yourself a bit more productive.
Be on Top Form
One thing that helps you to be more productive is to always be at the top of your game. This means having lots of energy, lots of focus and being completely healthy. To achieve this you need lots of sleep the night before, you need to have lots of energy (get carbs from bananas etc for this) and you need to be free of illness (supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals). This will all make it much easier to focus and to put out a high quantity and quality of work.
Be Interested in What You Do
We work so much better and so much more efficiently if we are genuinely interested in the work we do and we enjoy it. This way it becomes not work, but a way of relaxing and enjoying yourself. This way you don’t need to relax and watch TV that evening because you can be working on one of your projects and enjoying yourself just as much. If the work you need to do is not by nature interesting, then think about how you can make it more interesting. Or about changing your line of work/research.
Keep Your Eye on the Goal
Remembering why you are doing what you are doing is a great way to make it seem more enjoyable and worthwhile. Remind yourself that while your friends are watching TV and melting their brain and ruining their body – you’ll be exercising, reading and working on your new business that will make you rich. Know why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing and stay constantly focussed on that and then the productivity should come of its own accord. Meanwhile just focussing on the results you’ve already achieve can also really help you to remember why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing.
Set Targets and Rewards
Setting targets is a great way to make sure you achieve a minimal amount each day and by having rewards once you reach these targets it no longer seems like an endless slog. You’ll find that you start working faster to meet the target, and over time you will become more and more efficient and you can set higher targets. This is also a great way of getting feedback and knowing just how productive you are in fact being.
Real productivity comes from mental focus. Mental focus meanwhile means not just focussing on the job in hand – the article you’re writing or the maths you are doing – but completely filtering out all other stimulus and pushing it out of your mind. Don’t think about what you have to achieve tomorrow, or what other chores you have to think about – instead just think about what it is you’re writing, lifting, repairing or learning.
A great way to truly focus like this is to set yourself a time table to divide your time. It might be that for one hour you focus just on the household chores, then one hour later you catch up with your correspondence, then for three hours after that you work on your new computer programme. You’ll find that this way you can compartmentalise your thoughts so that you are thinking only about chores while you do the chores, and only about work while you’re working.
Get Small Tasks Out the Way First
You should be able to focus on your productivity alone while you need to if you have allotted a time for other concerns. However to make this even easier, put the smaller and more mundane chores at the start of this timetable. That way they are out of the way, they are not a distraction, and when you come to focus on the main job you won’t have any other concerns to distract you whatsoever.