Let’s take a trip to wonderland, okay?
Do you remember playing Mario, Contra, etc when you were a kid? I am taking “yes” as the answer because I do. Did you ever need a push to play them? No, right?
Let’s get to your teen years, do you remember playing COD, Counter-Strike, GTA, Max Payne (always loved Max Payne), etc? I know you do. Did you ever use “I’m not motivated” as an excuse not to play those games? I know, you played all those games at every chance you could.
Do you ever wonder if you don’t need the motivation to play those games, go out with friends, to binge-watch Netflix, then why do you need the motivation to do your work, study, etc?
Hoping at least a few of you will say that “these are boring tasks, that’s why” and you might not be wrong there. But what if you add a fun factor to those tasks?
This is what we are going to talk about today, let’s dive into the world of productivity and how to get efficient outcomes.
Are you productive or are you just busy?
Let’s not confuse productivity with being busy. Productive people have more time than anyone. They don’t make excuses. They choose where they want to direct their energy. They prioritize. They have plenty of time to pursue their hobbies, and that’s why they are successful (whatever it means to you).
So, what does even the word productive mean?
Being productive means doing the work which needs to get done effectively or how much work we can get done in the smallest amount of time.
Believe me when I say you don’t need 100 different tools to be productive. A simple notepad to write daily goals is enough to get productive.
Now, let’s understand how you can start a day productively.
A good percentage of people are always in auto-pilot mode, and it is understandable when you are brushing your teeth but not when you are working on a project.
So, to come out of that mode, use three simple tips -
- Do the mind dump: write whatever comes to your mind.
- Organize your thoughts - A flow chart is preferable.
- Make an action-based plan - Most of us skip this step - make actionable small tasks to get the “huge” thing done.
Tips from a psychotherapist (Source: Matthias James Barker)
- While working, keep a pen and notebook with you, and whenever you start losing your focus because of some pending work, thoughts, etc, dump those thoughts in that notebook.
For example, you forget to call your mom or you are angry with someone, so rather than losing your focus, write it down in the notebook, fix a time for it, and go back to that task only when you are done with your work in hand.
- If a task takes 2 minutes, do it right away. It is the best way to save time and get more done.
- Try to make decisions in the morning only.
Let’s see what simple steps can help us be productive.
Life Is Simple.
There are a few basic steps you can take to prepare your mind for the tasks:
- Change The Mindset - Rather than thinking that a task is daunting, change the mindset and consider it a fun task. We play games all day with our minds, and that’s what you need to do again. Approach any task like it is a super fun thing to do.
- Make Tasks Into A Fun Game - Find a way to break down tasks into small fun games. For example, make a notion page, list all the tasks, and track their progress - our mind loves getting validation, so every time you complete a task and move that task from the work in progress to the done section, you instantly feel like doing more.
- Ask People To Be A Part - This is the most productive step. Ask your friends, colleagues, partners, etc to join you. The boring and even time-consuming work turns into a fun little thing. You don’t feel the need to get the “motivation”. For example, study groups are always fun.
- Set The Environment - Have a few things around the desk to make it “your thing” - add books, plants, gadgets, or whatever you like to design it in a way that appeals to you. Listen to music that reduces the focus a little but will keep you engaged, so, a small pay. For example - setups we all have seen of techies including laptops, fancy keyboards, led lights, etc, study music videos that are famous among students.
- Do The Weekly Update - Ask yourself if you are working on the right things. Rather than focusing on the tasks that you might have been doing and might have made it more fun but ask yourself is it worth doing?
The above-mentioned points are the foundation of being efficient and productive.
We have the foundation. Now, let’s see some small habits that can help you get more done.
Tips, Tricks, and Whatnot
First, understand the importance of habits, for example, before the production environment, you are in the development environment where you can write code without making any mess, that’s what habits are, you adopt habits and then go into the stage environment, to experiment the habits that you are adopting and where you add and remove some of the existing habits, and only then you go for the production environment, ideally to get the work done most efficiently.
Some habits that have worked for many -
- Prioritize the tasks - Do the shuffling of tasks according to their priority.
- Break tasks into smaller tasks - Easy small tasks are more fun than the BIG task.
- Take breaks - Recharge your battery.
- Make fewer decisions - Outsource some of your decisions: our brain is wired to make only a few good decisions every day.
- Make repeatable shortcuts - For example, setting up a formula in an excel sheet is way more efficient than doing the same thing every day.
- Don’t multitask - Multitasking is a myth.
- Manage your energy - See what’s taking up your 80% of energy but resulting in 20% of the outcome and vice versa.
- Learn to say NO - Productivity is highly linked to how you feel about the work you do. Your one yes is no to some other urgent task, so learn to say No whenever necessary.
Last but not least, knowing your WHY helps in almost everything. You don’t need a clear goal but need a small vision to take the first step.