How to be productive today

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What does productivity mean to you?

I asked myself this question recently. Here are a few thoughts on the subject:

1 • How much do we need to be truly productive? The answer is, whatever time you have. If you have 15 minutes, you can be productive. If you have 45 minutes, you can be productive. You have to be the master of your time and assign it to your goal for the day. If you don't have all day to meal prep, you can set aside 30 minutes to prep your breakfasts for the week. Use the time you have. Do what you can.

2 • Let that perfectionist mindset go. I remember working hard all day but my counters were not clear of clutter. I started to feel guilty. Never mind that I had to go to sleep so I could gain energy to be productive the next day. I told myself to let that perfectionist mindset go and embrace a positive mindset. Progress over perfection reminds you that Rome wasn't built in a day. The clutter in my counters didn't end up there in a day and I would take the time to clean. I was able to sleep well that night. The next day, I set aside time to work on the counters. I cleaned them. When productivity is the long-term goal, we get there with small, incremental steps. 

3 • Productivity is as diverse as the people of the world. I don't believe in cookie-cutter productivity because we all have different dispositions. What productivity means to me is different than what it means to you. Once I accept my individuality, I can find a method that works for me. I remember thinking about emptying my entire bedroom so I could organize it. I stopped after the second sock drawer. I was changing 3 diapers at the time. I had to keep an eye on my little kids who had time to empty an entire room? There was no way to set aside an entire day/weekend to get everything out of my room. So I found a method that works for me. I have practiced this method for the past 7 years. My method has given me a lot of freedom. I know this because when things get out of control (as they often do), I know what to do in order to get back to a functional place. Find what works for you. Do not compare yourself to others, no matter how much a creator wants your money. 

4 • Dealing with distractions is part of being productive. It may be that 'ding' coming from your phone every so often. It might be your neighbor calling you. It may be the dishes in the sink. Distractions only start calling your name when you are focused on doing something important. I am learning to be okay with distractions. Here is what I do. Let's say I am focused on a task and a distraction shows up. I stop what I'm doing and I basically say, "oh hey, I see you there. I will deal with you in 45 minutes." If I'm afraid I will forget something important, I keep a pen and a notepad so I can write it down. You can also negotiate what you will with common distractions. For example, text messages are common distractions when I am writing. I negotiate this common distraction before I sit down to write. Here are the terms: unless it is an emergency phone call, I do not answer text/phone when I am writing/studying. I will answer them after lunch. I bet the same things keep distracting you when you are trying to be productive. Work on your negotiation terms.

5 • Rest and productivity go hand in hand. A few weeks ago, I was closely monitoring how much rest I was getting daily. I wrote down what I discovered. I learned that the more rested I feel, the more productive I am. I tweaked the time I go to bed so I can be refreshed in the morning. I also added a little downtime during the day, if I can afford it. When I am tired, it hurts my productivity. I wonder if you ever thought about this correlation. 

I hope you have a productive week. Be productive on your own terms!

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