So, the weekend will officially start in just a couple of hours, and we’ll all be out doing things that we were looking forward to the entire week. Friday might not be the best time to post some tips on productivity, but, if we think about it, the weekend is the time when our brains are more relaxed, thus, you might just regard some of the props as good ideas to try once the working week starts.
In no specific order, I have compiled a list of 9 tips to help you increase your productivity, even when you think you can’t. I, myself, have tried them all, failed at times, and then tried again. So:
1. Make a plan for your week ahead.
Seeing your entire week in perspective gives you a clear image of what must be accomplished, in order to get your workload done. For those days when you feel lost or energy-depleted, don’t sweat over your plan too much, try to do the bare minimum, or, on the contrary – the scariest tasks.
Result: you’ll be surprisingly satisfied and the general feeling will be of “wanting for some more”.
2. Take every task of your day as a game.
Checking-off those tasks is a hell of a job! Been there, done that. It can drain you of your energy and creativity in no time. Yet, you can “spice up” your day by regarding your to-do list as a game. Think games like “City Quest”, “Treasure Hunt”, “Brainstorming”, make up your own rules and try to create a process that is as fun as you want it to be. Somebody says you can’t do something? Dang wrong: you can DO IT ALL, ‘cause you’re a rock star, no matter what you do!
3. Always keep your final goal in mind.
Productivity is a tricky thing, I’ll allow myself to say. You wake up one morning thinking and feeling like you can accomplish everything, but, by noon, you fall into a swirl of overwhelming activities. In those crucial moments – by all means, do not give in! Allow yourself a little time to feel those negative feelings, accept them as an essential part of you, focus and remember why you do what you do, in the first place. Then, take the very first and simple step towards your goal. This step could be getting out of bed in the morning, doing a little research for your big presentation, reading an article on something that you need to know, etc. As long as you take this step, you do get closer to your final goal, don’t you doubt it!
4. Define what is IMPORTANT to you.
I will repeat myself (referring to my last post on “Turning Problems into Solutions”), but spending a little time on understanding what is Important to you in life, in order to achieve your goals and dreams, will actually put you on the path to where you want to be. Every day, we get distracted by requests from X or Y, e-mails for new projects, unexpected tasks, obligations, etc. But, surprisingly, not all of the requests we receive are important to us, but rather, to the requester. When we take “on board” these inquiries, we end up spending our energy on something that doesn’t serve us or our goals in any way, thus, feeding off our productivity. Say NO tactfully when you can and don’t feel guilty for anything. It’s your right to do so.
5. Celebrate your Fails and Wins.
That’s right! Celebrate your Fails – they’re just as big of a part of you as your Wins. Will you be surprised if I told you that your fails actually teach you more than your wins do? Will you deny that you feel stronger and better after a fail you hate admitting to? Aham… that’s what I thought too. I’ve had huge failures in my life, just like anybody else, but man, how much they contributed to my productivity once I accepted them and claimed “Defeat”. Fails determine, most often, our future path. Moreover, they are those secret boosters that make us work harder for what we want. So, don’t forget to cheer for them every time you can.
6. Take a day off from intellectual work.
It’s pretty cliché, but we all know that intellectual work loads our brain to the brim, every single day. When possible, it is advised to veer off from this type of work, by doing other things we enjoy, like watching a movie, or pot a plant, or go see some animals, or write in our journal, or do some shopping; whatever detains us, yet scores some tasks done from our to-do list works magic. This type of days can also bring a fresh perspective upon our life/work/vision, so don’t hesitate to switch up your activities.
7. Relax. Recharge. Repeat.
This point will convey pretty much what the rest of the points above did, but with a twist. The pillar of “Relax. Recharge. Repeat” stands in the fact that you must create your own relaxing routine when you feel like you’ve hit a wall of non-productivity. Some examples could be: spend 5 minutes before bed doing meditation, go to the gym, start a book club, take a short vacation out of town, go dancing, Friday-night recurring meetings with friends and family – just whatever keeps you relaxed and entertained. Kind of like an “escape route” to what you love doing most.
OK, now don’t judge me on this one, but daydreaming is one of my favorite things to do when I need a jolt of energy. Daydreaming was also proven to be very effective in helping people visualize their goals, resulting, accordingly, in a productivity increase in order to achieve them. To be exact, daydreaming promotes increased creativity and problem-solving ability; focus; enhanced memory; and incubation, meaning that problems that puzzled us moments ago become clear and obvious.
9. Spend time in Nature aka Change your usual working environment.
The benefits of Nature were long ago related to the world so I won’t talk about them. Yet, I will tell you that changing your office environment to a terrace or park lawn will reduce your stress level, lower your blood pressure and benefit your immune system. As a result, you’ll hit the “refresh” button for your brain (if that ever existed), increase productivity, focus and creativity.
When I worked for a big corporation, once every while, our manager used to take us out on Fridays, to brainstorm new projects or discuss recurring issues. Surprise-surprise: we always ended the day with a strong bond, all projects sorted out, and, what’s more, new ideas that always got approved by our CEO! How great is that?
Now, with this post, I don’t recruit you to try all the 9 tips above, but rather find one or couple of them that will work best for you, fit your personality and your lifestyle. Let me know if any of these worked for you or not, and share with me other tips you know that I haven’t covered.
With my deepest admiration for you, my dear reader, I wish you a wonderful weekend and may your energy always serve its purpose in the best way possible!