It’s a universal thing that we all love to become productive. Becoming productive means we create value and result out of doing a specific task. It is about working smarter to working harder. Whenever our productivity booms we reach one step closer towards our goal. Imagine building a house and how each brick sets the foundation to build a whole new house. So it is through little productive tasks we reach towards the goal we want to meet.
Having said that, being productive is not an easy as we speak but is definitely not impossible. It takes our time and commitment to apply into our daily habit. Also, reframing our underlying thoughts on doing things plays a good role in staying motivated to become productive. Yes, our mindset, once we know the way how we can reframe, you start noticing change . Also, there are some productivity techniques that are quite helpful to track our ever wandering brain.
Before starting my personal development journey back in 2015, I merely saw only a thin line between being busy and being productive. Being busy doesn’t really mean that we are being productive. Like I said earlier, productivity aligns with what creates value and results in our goals and mission.
These techniques I am about to share, works wonders for leveling my productivity. I hope this will give you inspiration to boost yours as well.
Using time stamps
I put this method first on my list because this is the first thing that crosses my mind when I need to focus and stay committed to a certain task, specially for writing. Usually when I give an open time to write, I am more prone to spending extra time fidgeting on researching, getting distracted in between. Having a time-stamp is a great technique to stay focused and productive. Also, I remember to not over commit beyond my limitation .
Tip for you: If you are willing to start this technique I recommend to first start by batching the huge task into smaller tasks and put least time to complete the task. Furthermore, you can add or subtract the time according to your workflow. You will eventually know the exact time you need to do that particular task. I love setting a minimum of 30 minutes of timer depending on the task I am doing.
Okay! I cannot be more grateful for this technique since I found somewhere in the internet. This is more of a mindset work that works wonders for me. If we see, we suddenly remember to clean, make that chat, check out our IG, etc when we start to begin a certain task. Even if we manage to cross few hours to get our work done by the time it is half way done, little distracting thoughts come into our mind. I tell you these tasks are usually not urgent but usually the defense created by our brain to protect us from being vulnerable, seen and challenging our potential.
So, during those occurences of distracting thoughts ,what I do is keep a record of the thoughts. Nothing so detailed just a few words here and there. I create my what and why list.
Some of the distraction I wrote yesterday while writing my blog were:
What & Why?
Check viber if my friends have messages me something important (It will be there, always)
Check my IG feed to just scroll (!!!???)
Call that friend because I said I will call later ( I could have called my friend later)
Clean my room just because I think I should (It was not even messy)
So, by keeping this list on my journal, I hold myself to do that particular tasks later convincing that It is on the list. Most of the time, I only happen to check few from my distraction lists. It amazes me how those lists were only my distracting thoughts that swooped across my mind to avoid my task.
Using my calendar
I usually set an hour of a week to set and update my calendar. I put my everyday tasks there so that I don’t have to wake up and think about what I will be doing for that day. Trust me this saves a lot of time along with your will power before starting your day.
For this, you can use a printable or digital calendars like I use my google calendar linked with my iCal which is good when I work offline. In my opinion this is a good technique to set my activities in a big picture. Try and workout which way best fits you.
Setting a to-do-list
So after setting things in calendar , I love to jot down the to-do-list for each day. I try to make this list as simple as possible to avoid burnout and over commitments . I take my to-do-list as my intention for the day but not a life-or-death commitment.
So, there are some days, when I do not manage to complete the listed tasks. On those days, I usually set that unfinished task for another day. However, in my experience if I manage my time and set time for each activities, I usually tick off my planned tasks. I think this skill comes with practice. Do not get unmotivated if you stumble upon balancing your time and task. Get to know your desired pace and work accordingly.
This is as important as the time you set for your work to get finished. For me, giving breaks means a short treat to rest and get ready for another task. Form what I’ve know, our brain produce best when given certain mental breaks. Therefore, I usually give 10 minutes break in between my tasks but If I feel like taking more time, I add more minutes out of necessity and rather not procrastinate. It is really hard to differentiate but you just have to be aware. Also, some times I do not give breaks in between tasks whenever I feel like I am going on a flow. Yest, I commit myself to give extra break later after I break that flow of task.
For this, a bit of extra awareness and dedication demands. I’m a kind of person who give my 110% commitment when I have to show up for others and serving others. So, when it comes to showing up for myself , the percent decreases up to double. So, having that self commitment within ourself helps build our self-esteem as well as helps us stay faithful to ourself.
For this I first had to change my self-image into the person who shows up for herself, which is my next point.
So, self-image is our ideas about ourselves about our personality,abilities and whole outlook. If we notice we act in a particular way according to our perception of ourselves. For example if a person says ‘ I am a kind person. I don’t don’t kill animals’. This is a self-image created by this particular person that s/he is kind and s/he could never be found killing animals underlying that belief on the self-image s/he has created for themself.
So, understanding this, I created this self-image of myself that shows up for myself. This was a huge transformation on my mindset which changed my productivity as well as the other areas of life.Seriously, I really wish I had known this when I was younger. Since you know now, you can practice taking that self-image that you always wanted to create like: I am a morning person…(If you want to wake up early in the morning and workout); I am an adventurous person…(If you have always want to go on a trek or those soul searching mountain climbs.),etc.
Breaking my all-or-nothing mindset
Well, I put this last on my list but this is a game-changer for me. Often times as perfectionists and indulging procastinators, having a certain do-or-die mindset has always been spoiling the broth. I tell you my story from 2015, whenever I started a fiction book and happened to skip for few days, I did not wish to go back from where I left. Instead I re-read from the beginning and the process continued ending up not reading the book. Yes its quite impractical for some while reading the fictions because there is this whole flow going on but even skipping a day and starting from the next day is better because usually the thoughts of not starting comes from the day we start to purposely skip. That’s where we need to work if we really love that thing to do. So, my point is I had this all-or nothing mindset that blocked few activities like : regular reading, exercise,etc. Pinching away the all-or-nothing mindset wasn’t only fruitful for my overall daily life but also for my productivity. Whenever I spend ew minutes of my work time with my loved ones, my puppy, I do not feel like wasting all the time not doing my work. I get back from wherever I left. See, this is where you need to practice compassion and let yourself be free despite being obligated with track of time.
How to start your day productive?
So, since I’ve shared my techniques to stay productive , I just want you to let you know that when you try to merge someone’s advice practice on yourself before thinking it is unachievable. Because trust me , nothing is unachievable. It’s just your thoughts. Here to these techniques, I swear it works like magic once you get used to it.
To follow these productivity tools, I use them as a whole during my single task. Some of the techniques are action oriented while some are more into mindset work. So, if you ask me start with a distraction journal and start working on your project using the time tracker. Also, build in that mindset of breaking all-or-nothing mindset and letting yourself find your self-image.
Hope this was helpful!