People are constantly looking for new ways to improve their productivity. This is because there are only so many hours in the day, and yet there is always so much to do in the allotted time. Productivity habits not only motivate us but also help us lay claim to time that is slipping away, unused, or wasted on activities that are done out of boredom — time we actually want.
Productivity should be an essential focal point for anyone who wants to live a more fulfilling life. This article will discuss productivity and its impact, far beyond simply checking tasks off your list. It will address how productivity can evoke positive thoughts about ourselves and our work, which will allow us to grow into more productive people in the long term — and help us fill our time with soul-filling activities.
Productivity and Its Impact Beyond Work
Finishing what you set out to do feels great. Have you ever had a rush of satisfaction after checking off that last item on your to-do list? Feeling satisfied and fulfilled about what you are doing is the essence of great productivity. Of course, it means you are getting stuff done, but you are also getting stuff that is actually important and meaningful.
Here is why productivity can mean much more than simply crossing something off your list of things to do.
Helps You Contribute to Society
We feel more fulfilled when we contribute to something more than ourselves. Lazy days can help us visualize our impact better. We all have these lazy days, and sometimes they are nice — but they can leave us with a sluggish feeling, sometimes nagging thoughts, and a guilty feeling of lost time.
While it is important to treat ourselves to a break, and wisely use some time for self-care — being a productive person can rid us of the dissatisfaction of not being a contributor. In addition, productivity can make us feel overall better as individuals because we have a sense of accomplishment.
Encourages You to Embrace Yourself
When we “do,” we share a piece of ourselves with the world. Our work can speak volumes about ourselves. Every time we decide to be productive and take action to complete something, we are embracing our identity and who we are. Being able to choose our efforts and be who we want to be is a rewarding feeling.
However, it is also essential to ensure you are doing it for yourself and are not trying to meet someone else’s expectations of you. For example, some younger kids will play sports that they hate to ensure the happiness of their parents. The kids are doing it for their parents, rather than themselves.
What happens when you don’t do it for yourself is twofold; First, you become dependent on someone else’s validation. Second, you cannot truly embrace who you are as a person. Productivity can be a fulfilling tool, but if you are not being productive for the right reasons, then it can backfire and hurt your wellbeing.
Helps You Achieve Balance
For example, productivity applies to many more areas in your life than work. Productivity can apply to sitting down and reading that book you have always had on your nightstand. Or, further, it can apply to prioritizing time to spend with your family.
Productivity isn’t just about getting work done; It’s about using your time effectively to live the balanced, fulfilling life you want to live. You shouldn’t stretch yourself thin to get an impossible amount of tasks done. Instead, try to focus on the things that give you the most happiness and satisfaction.
Below are several actionable steps you can take to be more productive.
Actionable Tips to Be More Productive
1. Understand the 80/20 Rule
Learn how to use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states: “20% of your efforts actually contribute to 80% of your results.” For instance, 20% of your effort in a sales role may contribute to 80% of actual sales. To understand this rule in your life, write down all the tasks you do daily.
Afterward, try figuring out how each task relates to concrete results. While the rule is certainly not infallible, it does help us think about how we use our time. For example, what are the 20% of efforts that actually lead to results? How can we prioritize these efforts and minimize the other 80% of actions that do not lead to anything?
Understanding more about how our efforts contribute to actual results helps us get more out of our actions and, in turn, will help us achieve a more accomplished and fulfilling life.
2. Organize Your Schedule
Develop a schedule that works for you. If you get specific tasks better at certain times in the day, it might make sense to align those times with the tasks on your schedule. Productivity may be more about planning out an excellent strategy for getting things done rather than complete execution. If we embrace a plan to organize our time, we’re setting ourselves up to accomplish the tasks we have set out for ourselves — and this is productivity.
We become less worried about whether we’re using our time in the most productive way because we’ve already pre-optimized our schedule. From your schedule organization efforts, you’ll be able to organize your day into something that works well for you.
3. Find Ways to Prioritize
Prioritize what’s important, and focus your efforts on that. For instance, you could write down the single most important thing to get done for the day, and then plan on making it the first task item you start your day with. Understanding what is most important each day can help you avoid meaningless tasks. In addition, you will begin to feel better about yourself when you start focusing on what you deem meaningful and vital.
4. Write Down Your Why
Take some time to write down your why. In other words, try understanding the reason behind all that you want to accomplish. For example, you might write that your why is “providing for family.” Or, perhaps your why might be “getting to do exciting things in life.”
That piano is not going to practice itself, the gym will not come to you, Babbel isn’t going to finish your Spanish lesson, your next research paper won’t be written if you don’t do it, the drawing sitting in your creative room will not complete itself, and a visit to a sick friend won’t happen without you. And are you missing out on this level of productivity because you got sucked into a video game? Well, I do, and most people I know admit to doing the same time-suck activities.
You want a life lived in the present.
No matter what you write for your why — this exercise helps you understand what drives you. You’ll be motivated and driven with a revitalized understanding of why you started something in the first place. This also enables you to ensure that what you are doing actually provides fulfillment and purpose in your life. If you are doing something that does not align with your true whys — it might be a good idea to eliminate it from your life.
5. Listen to Music
Listen to music more. Next time you’re doing dishes, you could try playing some upbeat music in the background from top-hit artists, such as Pitbull, to get some energetic beats going. Science shows that listening to music while working actually makes people more productive. So not only can music be fun, relaxing, and exciting to listen to, It’s also going to make you feel great as you see yourself in a new, productive, and music-loving light.
6. Be More Consistent in Communicating Tasks
Be more consistent in communicating tasks with teammates. For example, let coworkers with whom you work closely know when you start a new project. You want to avoid any miscommunication or potential duplication of project efforts.
This goes back to the idea that productivity is not just about getting things done; it is about getting things done with a purpose. Knowing that you are starting a fresh, new project makes you feel like a more fulfilled teammate since you know you’re doing something valuable.
7. Use Time Tracking Tools
Using time tracking tools is excellent for productivity – and accountability. For example, you could set a 25-minute focus timer on an alarm clock to get a task out of the way. Many apps even have AI to help analyze how you are spending your time. There are plenty of time-tracking tools out there to find.
Find which productivity method works for you, and start reaping the benefits to your soul.
You’ll find yourself feeling more focused and level-headed — and happy. When you start getting more done, you’ll feel satisfied knowing that your planning efforts have been successful. Overall, your productivity will reflect in more areas in your life than just one, giving you more time to spend on what truly matters.
Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!