Productivity is a buzzword in today’s culture. Brands and businesses talk about it as the ultimate life-hack, promoting the idea of bigger, better, and more without any mention of quality or purpose. What’s the point of it all?
Being productive is different than being busy, and the true benefit is not in the promise of consumerist spoils, but in the ability to reclaim our time, maximize it, and live with intention. It allows us to design the lives we want by efficiently tackling mundane duties in order to make room for the more important things.
Minimizing the decision fatigue, the distractions, and the unhelpful habits are the keys to enhancing your output. Here are five simple changes you can make right now to increase your productivity and reclaim your life.
Establish a routine.
Decision fatigue is the nemesis of productivity. Addressing superfluous questions squanders our valuable finite resources, like our time, energy, and coveted brain space. Establishing routines eliminates the overwhelm that comes from making those unnecessary, often repetitive, daily decisions.
Habits determine how we live our lives, and introducing helpful ones, like routines, prevent wasting time or giving too much energy to trivial tasks. Forming your own will help you streamline your schedule and make the most of each day.
Put your phone away.
From incessant text messaging to the constant refreshing of our news feeds, our phones are an endless source of distraction. They divert attention away from the task at hand, and every time we allow our concentration to be disrupted, it makes it that much more difficult to refocus.
To preserve your brainpower, store your phone away during peak work hours, and only check it during scheduled breaks. As Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything but temptation.” Keep your phone out of sight to keep it out of mind.
Our brains are not designed to do more than one thing at a time, at least not well. Multi-tasking and switch tasking redirect and split our attention, making us less effective overall.
Using tools like the Pomodoro Technique or Tomato Timer will inspire you to work in short, focused bursts, allowing you to maximize your efforts to complete a single task. Working in twenty-five minute increments will quash the urge to juggle assignments, and will increase your concentration & efficacy instead.
Say “no” to anything or anyone that is not a priority.
Because of the guilt or societal expectation, turning someone or something down can be a tough choice. Choosing to declutter those obstacles in your path is essential for you to get where you want to go.
In favor of your workflow and your future goals, say no to the energy vampires that come in the form of unfulfilling or unhelpful time commitments, negative or draining relationships, and anything that is not supporting your highest self.
Make time for your health.
Being burned out or having a foggy headspace is a non-starter. We cannot be effective if our health is suffering. Prioritize adequate sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise to maintain balance. (Including a mindfulness practice, like meditation, doesn’t hurt either!)
Any one of these essentials being out of alignment can disrupt your flow and negatively affect your efforts. In order to approach your work with proper motivation and ethic, you need to take breaks and tend to your well being.
The moral of the story is to work smarter, not harder, because productivity means nothing if you’re focused on quantity over quality. Incorporating these mindful habits will eliminate the enemies of productivity, and will streamline your life, promoting better workflow, self-care, and more time for who & what you love.