I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Hmmm I needs to gets me some of that!”
Everyone’s thinking it. Productivity. Everyone wants it. Everyone wants to do it. Everyone wants to feel like they are doing enough, or that they are doing something at all!
But life is hard and life is fast and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Pretty soon you don’t even even have a to-list-, let alone know where yours starts or ends.
But productivity is simple. There is just one word associated with it: DO.
As Nike says, just do it.
Here are some tips to be more productive with your time.
Work with your Most Important Tasks.
Every morning wake up and write down your three most important tasks of the day. The three things that, come what may, you HAVE to get done. These are not the things you would naturally do because you have to (Such as going to work/school/eating), but those other bad boys that keep coming up on your to-do list day after day.
So write down your top 3. And then make it your life purpose to get these things in your day. If nothing else – these three items must be completed by the end of the day. If you’re a superstar, you can try to get all three items done before midday, if the task permits.
Work with your energy levels.
Work with your energy levels, not against them. We go through troughs and peaks in our energy throughout the day, and it’s different for each person. A high energy period is a period of time where you are pumped and ready to do “high energy” tasks, that requires more thought, attention, energy, focus, physical input etc. “Low energy” tasks are tasks that do not require too much attention and care, but can still be “done”. Examples of low energy tasks are – booking appointments, making phone calls, responding to e-mails, laundry, cleaning etc.
The secret to being productive is to not do high energy tasks all the time. The secret is to understand your own personal energy levels and patterns through out the day and work through your tasks appropriately. For some people, mornings are very high energy time periods for them, and so they can get lots of great productive work done during the early hours of the morning.
Then by afternoon, when their energy levels begin to dip a bit low, you can switch over to more low energy tasks. You’re still being productive. Just at a different pace. A pace that works for you.
The resistance comes when we try to do high energy tasks in a low energy time (trying to study physics during afternoon nap time? Nuh uh. Not gonna happen!), or even when we do low energy tasks during a high energy period (being stuck responding to e-mails/phone calls when I’m super inspired and ready to go out there and kick butt. No way!).
So first things first, ask yourself “am I high energy or low energy right now?” and act appropriately.
Batch like tasks together.
Batch similar tasks together – such as making phone calls. Make all the phone calls you need around the same time. You will be on a particular frequency when you do a certain task, so it makes sense to similar tasks while you are sittin’ at that frequency too.
Generate an energy wave.
Here’s a great trick that seriously works every time! When you have a task ahead of you that you just can’t seem to get started on, what you need to do is go and sit down and set a timer on for 5 minutes.
And for those 5 minutes, all you are allowed to do is to think about the task. Nothing else.
An example for this would be cleaning my room. For those 5 minutes I will think about cleaning my room. I’ll practically clean my room in my mind. By about 2 minutes I am ready to go, but I force myself to stay there for the whole 5 minutes.
Within these 5 minutes I generate so much energy within myself, that all I want to do is clean my room. And the great side effect to this trick is that you will most likely complete this task in a fraction of the time you thought it would take.
It really works! Try it!
Just put in the time.
Sometimes our impending projects become way too big that we are too scared to even start. We don’t even know where to start. We don’t know when it is finished. It’s just this big cloud of impending doom. Well that attitude ain’t gonna get us anywhere.
Whenever I panic about the enomity of the task ahead, and how I don’t even know where to start, Miss Prescot will always say to me “Malavika, just put in the time.”
What does she mean by that? She means that when a task is too big for us to get our cute little heads around, all we need to think about is putting in the time. Don’t think about how much you even plan to achieve in a certain time period – but just put in the time.
If I’m writing an essay, I don’t have to think “okay I am going to finish half the essay in 2 hours. GO!”, instead all I think is “Ok I’m going to spend 1 hour on this essay.” That’s it.
And then I spend one hour on the essay.
And I feel better. And I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because I’ve done something. I’ve done something other than just sitting there freaking out about it. I’ve made progress. I’ve taken the first step.
And if I can do that, I can do anything!
So next time, instead of panicking about HOW MUCH you have to do, JUST PUT IN THE TIME.
If you put in the time, everything else will fall into place.
The other day I was meditating and I was talking to Miss pdubs about how I felt like my to-do list was building up and I was getting caught behind. And how it was overwhelming. And how I needed to make a plan.
She gave me the best advice. She said:
“Malavika, having a plan is important. And you should definitely take the time to make one. But at the end of the day, the secret to getting ahead is to start NOW with what you have.”
That’s it. Don’t wait for other resources to fall into place because we already have enough to make a difference now. We have what we have. And we have right now. This is our moment of power.
What can you do right now that will make your life a little bit easier, a little bit more productive?
Just do it.