Productivity is less about what you do with your time. And more about how you run your mind.
- Robin Sharma
I can’t possibly fit all of my thoughts in this small space, but I’ll try to share small techniques and hacks which I have applied for myself and seemed to work well.
Couple of things which I learned while improving productivity are:
1. You need to think about why I want to do, what I want to do and how to go about prioritizing it. Humans are extremely bad at setting goals (for a variety of reasons) and achieving them. The primary reason for that is, they have unclear about there why & what.
Setting clear goals can change the trajectory of your life entirely & I do so by following these two rules:
Rule1.“80/20 Rule” i.e. 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of your results.
Rule2. Setting “S.M.A.R.T”goals i.e.
- Specific - goals which are clear & precise.
- Measurable - goals which are quantifiable.
- Attainable - goals which are achievable (not too easy, nor too complicated).
- Rewarding - goals should be high enough to feel worthwhile on achieving.
- Time-bound - goals which are deadline based, it brings a sense of urgency.
2. Multitasking is a myth, the brain can do multitasking to some level of talking and walking but research shows that human mind is biologically incapable of attention-rich inputs simultaneously like listening and reading. Thus try to set your focus on one thing at-a-time.
- Clearly define why & what I want to do.
- Set timeline for it.
- Re-evaluate list of tasks against set goals periodically.
Measures for Productivity
Task Prioritization – I start my day keeping five mins aside for making a list of tasks which I need to accomplish. These tasks are systematically prioritized to ensure big, and complex once gets wrapped-up at the earliest. Diary used to be my favourite option for making this list, but lately, I started maintaining my task list on Google’s Keep.
See Cal Newport’s excellent book Deep Work for details.
Handling Boredom – It’s bound to happen that not every task will motivate you or bring the same level of exuberance as other once, so trick I follow to accomplish them is to turn it into a game or into a challenge like “Finish this crap task within 15mins immediately after lunch.”
Flow - “Being in Flow” is essential while accomplishing your tasks. This is the time when you are completely immersed in your activity and enjoy it.
Try to achieve flow when you are on high priority task as it usually in-lines to your bigger goal or purpose. I am still practising this skill and have not mastered it, but over a period I have made significant progress.
Quick Introspection – I end my day keeping five mins aside for evaluating how I went through my task list, any spill-overs& what I need to fix next day.
It’s not easy to derive concrete metric to evaluate your productivity, will share some handy tools which worked for me:
Pomodoros - is a technique for time management which uses a timer to break down work into intervals (25 mins interval), check out this app Pomodoro Timer Lite