Productivity – there’s always something more that can be said about. A piece of advice, a number of techniques, a bestselling book. Well, hundreds of books. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why people still struggle with their productivity. There are too many tips to follow, too many articles and books to read. Will another one help? 😉 It just might!
That’s because we are going to focus on the simplest habits that do not require practically any effort to master, but they are your first, most important steps towards better productivity. Once you learn them and turn into everyday habits, not only will it be easier for you to organize work and complete daily duties, it will also be easier to move on to those previously mentioned more advanced techniques. Remember, before you start taking big steps, you have to take a lot of tiny ones.
Isn’t it something we all can do? However, not many of us really try to focus – our minds tend to wander off. The ability to focus when the situation requires it is what separates successful people from those who fail. Why? Because they know when the task will make them successful, so they simply sit down and tend to it, doing their best.
You may think – but it’s impossible for me, I can never properly focus on the task, there’s always something else to do. Those who succeed probably have it in their genes, and I don’t. Well, genes are good for the sport, my friend. But when it comes to your mind and to your brain, the focus becomes just another skill you can master – everyone has means to do so. You may find it more difficult than others, true. Should that stop you? No way.
As every skill, it should be practiced. Like running or swimming. Or in the case of our brain, like writing or reading. That’s a good start. Read a book! Every day, spend some time reading and don’t let your mind lose focus of the content. If it does, go back to the place when you lost your focus, and repeat. It’s a simple but quite useful exercise. Oh, but it doesn’t end here. Once you are done with your reading, sit calmly for a while and try to go back to everything you’ve just read – the details, the characters, the plot. You can write it down for the better effects. Practice it daily and each time try to read a little longer. It is a great way to learn how to focus better.
Assertiveness is not just about saying ‘no’. It’s a skill that, when mastered, boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence. First, you have to learn how to say no to things that are unimportant. Or worse, that are harmful and will make your life miserable, while turning you into an unsuccessful person with time. You know, the worst ones, like the really bad company, drugs, alcohol, constant partying, through the less serious but still unnecessary – video games, tv, junk food, laziness. All these aspects are holding you from living a happy, good life. Of course, there is time and place for everything. I’m not saying you should not play video games at all, or go to parties, have an occasional drink or whatever you enjoy. You have to, however, learn how to become the one who decides when you can do those things, not the other way around. If you have a paper to write for the next day but you are spending the 3rd hour playing your XBOX, then isn’t this a bad decision? (I wanted to write “the worst possible” but I’m sure there are worse ;p)
Those are impulses that your brain associates with pleasure while doing the hard work is something your brain associates with pain. Problem is, once you spend your day wasting time and now you sit till the early morning hours trying to write the paper you were supposed to do long ago, aren’t you in pain? Another problem is when you were wasting time you weren’t feeling any pleasure, as there was this voice in the back of your head that’s been nagging you about the work that had to be done. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Learn to say no. Before you make a poor decision, rethink it. Focus (hope you’ve learned that already) and ask yourself – what would the better version of me do? What should be done? Surely you know the answer. So clench your teeth and get to it! If there’s no value in it (but remember, your self-satisfaction and joy is a big value, just make sure that you’ve done your duties), then say no to it.
3. Just Do It!
It’s a little bit about fighting the procrastination. Below you will find some more articles we wrote on this topic that you may find helpful, but for now, try to think of those:
- Keep a track of your work – have you ever caught yourself not knowing when the half of your day went and what were you doing for all these hours? Keeping track of your daily computer activities will get you on the right… well, track.
- Give yourself small prizes for the good work – So you have a motivation when you get to work in the morning. It can be something very trivial, like watching the movie that you wanted to see for some time if you manage to do everything you wanted. You know yourself best, so you’ll think of something 😉
- Do it for others – You can get some extra motivation by thinking, for example, of your relatives. The more successful you become, the happier they will be for you, and the easier your life will be (at least in those aspects that money can buy 😉
- Do it! – Don’t overthink, simply sit down and get to work. Don’t let any doubts get to your head, don’t let irrelevant thing draw your attention.
- Make the right choice – Be honest with yourself. You know you’d prefer to watch the latest episode of your favorite series but you also know that there are time and place for everything and that you will later loathe yourself if you run away from your duties. Choose wisely!