I’ll let you in on a secret - I’m not really going to change your life by making you a productivity machine after reading this post. But I will try to highlight and focus on a few points that may make you more productive if you choose to make the required changes. They may even make you a happier person! After all, knowing what the problem is already a big part of the solution.
Are productive people just born that way? Do they somehow just lack the desire to procrastinate, go to the fridge for the millionth time just to see there’s nothing there? Is it the way they were raised? Or maybe we’re just all so unproductive because of all the time-robbers surrounding us like Facebook and Instagram, sucking us into the screen “just for a sec” before we realize a full hour has passed… and that’s where the guilt comes in.
There can be many reasons people don’t live up to their productivity potential. There are no dos and don’ts that fit everyone. Some people benefit from working in a shared space, others would prefer privacy to get more done. Some would be more productive defining rigid deadlines and goals while others would find those paralyzing.
Of all the things that block our productivity I can think of, I chose to focus here on three that seemed the most important. Being aware and improving these points may provide a basis for improving your own productivity.
First this is: Do what you love!
We always do the things we enjoy better, more thoroughly and more completely than the things we despise, and as a bonus, we have fun along the way. Of course, reality isn’t that simple. We each must go through a process to figure out what it is that we love and are good at. And life doesn’t always dole out tasks that we love. But it’s surprising how much we can influence what we get to do - both by planning for the long term to be in positions we enjoy (like picking the right occupation or the right team in our workplace) and by trying in the short term to get the assignments we know we’ll be good at. This may include swapping tasks with teammates when you can both benefit, volunteering for or initiating tasks that you know you’ll love or outsourcing parts that you know you hate. Sometimes, all it takes is being keenly aware of how important it is to like what you do.
The second productivity booster is having a balanced personal life.
It’s much easier to focus on your work when your home life is balanced and you feel good with those close to you. You can’t just put your personal issues aside or “deal with them later”. Your social, family, health and love life are a part of you, and you have to invest in it in order to be happy - and happy people are more productive.
The last point I want to talk about is fear.
Fear of criticism, fear of failure, fear of other people’s opinions of us, all hold us back and make us less productive at best, or completely demoralized and immobile at worst. When we associate our work with fear and negativity, we have a strong incentive to get away from it and find other things to do. It’s important to remember that failure is sometimes essential in the path to success.
Actually, I was really afraid to start blogging - afraid of what people might say or think. So there, I made my first step…