Productivity is a much-covered quality. Who wouldn’t want to achieve a lot every day? Who wouldn’t want to become more productive. So let’s look at what productivity is and how you can practice it.
The first thing to understand is that being productive doesn’t equal being busy. Being busy is having a lot to do. Being productive is being clear on priorities. You cannot be productive if you can’t distinguish between what’s important and what’s not. In that case, you’ll just waste your time performing unimportant tasks. It might feel really good to check lots of items off your to-do list, but that isn’t necessarily being productive. Instead productivity essentially is:
Productivity is getting the results you want with less time and effort.– Tony Robbins
So productivity is not about being busy at all. Instead, it is about freeing up time.
3 Tips to Become More Productive
You need to be very clear on your goals to become productive. One way to do this is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. Make a list of tasks and categorize them in accordance with their urgency and their importance. Then focus on what’s important and either delegate (to others or automate) or delete everything else. This will certainly raise your productivity levels.
Most of us spend way too much time on the lower categories – they tend to be easy tasks that can quickly be ticked off the to-do list. But the lower boxes are what keeps you busy, not what makes you productive. Your productivity starts in the upper fields; however, the thing is that those tasks usually are harder to accomplish and demand more effort. But if you want to be productive, that’s where you have to start.
A great way to turn tough tasks into easier ones is to break down the process into small doable steps. So if you have an urgent and important goal like “ace my exam”, then smaller steps could be “study for an hour each morning”, “read through my notes in the afternoon”, “talk with a fellow student about X topic”, etc. This will make it seem a lot easier to reach your big goal.
The flow state is one of the most productive states humans are capable of. It’s a state of complete focus, high creativity, and endless motivation. It is, however, also a state few of us experience on a daily basis. We get distracted, struggle with focusing, and lose motivation when we face obstacles. It takes practice to be able to enter it. To learn how to cultivate your ability to flow, check out our post about flow and our post about focus.
You can also use your social circle as a way to increase your productivity. If you know that someone is expecting you to finish a task, it will be a lot harder to procrastinate – at least if you care about and respect this someone. The expectations of a teacher might not be enough to take action, but the expectations of someone you admire will probably motivate you to do your best.
Ideally, it should be enough to be accountable to yourself. You only have this one life, and it’s your responsibility to make the most out of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean being productive all the time, but wasting your life scrolling through social media would be a shame. In a sense, productivity is also a matter of self-care.
If you need more inspiration, here is a video on how to beat procrastination and get shit done: