Most of us would love to be more productive, but find it a real struggle to get a handle on our tasks and accountabilities.
What may surprise you is that productivity is not about doing more. It is about working smarter on the important tasks and by managing your time, focus and energy.
The typical Grey Person works at such a frenzied pace that their intentions become dispersed and fails to see the meaning and value of their work. Meanwhile, a Yellow Person takes the time each day to be at peace and reflect upon what’s meaningful and works in balance.
The optimum working pace is to identify what’s important and purposeful enough to accomplish your goals. To find this perfect pace, you need to manage your time, focus and energy – the exact same values I honour every single day and a master of.
And so, I bring you keys to becoming productive in a balanced way.
After all, you can have all the energy in the world, but you won’t accomplish much without a well-managed schedule. On the flip side, you might have a well-structured plan to finish your tasks, but it’s useless if you’re wasting all your energy on something or someone else.
On top of this, both time and energy is wasted when your mind is constantly wandering and cluttered, which is why focus is the third key to the productivity formula.
How you can increase productivity by recognising your personal values and motivations, then planning for your day and week.
Step 1: Before you do anything, you need to find your why. This is your motivation.
They’ll help you create the right schedule that keeps you on track toward your goals. If you try to skip this step, there’s a strong chance you’ll be faced with bad habits and poor routines that will work against you and not for you. Particularly in the long run.
I made this mistake when he first set out to become more productive. I would stop going out with friends to avoid drinking alcohol, so that I could lose the weight. Or so I believed.
With the extra time and energy saved from being with my friends, I would invest it by going to the gym 8 hours per week. Many months later, it dawned on me that I was just performing this schedule so others believed I was accomplishing a lot – but there was little personal satisfaction for me. In other words, I hadn’t thought about why I wanted to be more productive, which made it impossible to create a schedule that matched this goal.
What I truly desired was to have more energy to be active with my friends. What was missing was the quality time. It was as simple as changing our habits of drinking alcohol to doing more active activities together. The weight loss was a byproduct of this.
I went from: time, energy and focus in the gym to achieve weight loss. Lasting 3 months.
To: time, energy and focus of being healthy with friends. Still on-going, 4 years later!
To avoid the mistake I made, you can ask yourself a simple yet effective question to identify your why:
if you were given an additional 2 hours per day, what would you do?
By answering this question, it should point you in the direction of the true why for greater productivity.
Do you want to spend more time with friends and family? Consider that you’re most strongly motivated by the values of relationships and meaningful connections. If so, you probably wouldn’t benefit from a schedule that keeps you away from an active social life.
To recap on step 1: consider your reason for wanting to be more productive to begin with. Ask yourself, what’s important and meaningful…FOR YOU and not for SOMEONE ELSE? Remove the negative narrative, social norms and expectations. It is your life. Live it how you want it to be.
Step 2: By answering these questions, you are designing a sustainable schedule and becoming more productive. Now it is time to ask WHAT & WHEN are you going to perform the tasks that close the gaps between.
A useful tip for a good weekly schedule is to improve your efficiency by selecting the top 3 tasks to complete for the week. Then break them into smaller tasks for each day. Making them super manageable and achievable, without burning out or overwhelming yourself with getting them done.
Your top 3 tasks can be anything from; spending time with the family, starting the brainstorming for your next project, meditating with intention, organising the food cupboard, paying the bills, updating the website with new content.
With these tasks in place, your end-of-the-day tasks might be to arrange a lunch with your parents, finish the next chapter of the book, decide the topic for your next blog post and book a meeting room for brainstorming.
It might sound simple, but that’s part of why it’s so effective. By looking ahead at what you want to have accomplished both day by day and week by week, you’re already figuring out how best to structure your time, focus and energy on what’s important.
To ensure the tasks are not too ambitious or unrealistic, check your calendar. Consult your calendar to make sure you haven’t already dedicated your time and energy to another task.
For example, if you are deciding which content to create and publish, but your calendar reminds you of the 3-day workshop, it may be best to focus on preparing, reflecting and relaxing instead of overloading. Full-day events are super tiring even if you are sedentary. Give yourself time to replenish.
To recap on step 2: being productive also means being smart about your daily and weekly schedule, so don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable tasks and overloading yourself.
NEED FURTHER HELP?
If you are like many, uncovering your why is no easy task as our education system hasn’t taught us to be self-aware and emotionally intelligent. Book your free 60-minute call with me where we can break down the surface level fluff and get to your root why.
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Have a fantastic day and remember, when you are feeling Grey, Go To Yellow with these simple tools and techniques.