Be more Productive
"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort." - Paul J. Meyer.
Productivity is an ongoing process that requires a lot of hard work and thinking. The more you get in your plate, the more you have to learn how to deal with it.
If you want to build the right systems, improve your decision-making capabilities and achieve outstanding goals, you have to prepare yourself and your environment for that.
That said, let me share with you a few ideas to help you get more productive:
Learn how to deal with information
For most of us, a huge part of our activities requires dealing with information in a certain way. Be it collecting, processing or take action upon it, information has a crucial role in our daily life.
But how much time do you allocate to think about it?
Let me give you a quick example. Let's say that part of your job is to connect with influencers online. How would you deal with information in that case?
Of course, you can follow them on Twitter, add their blogs to a bookmark and check it everyday to see if you find an opportunity to connect.
The problem with this approach is that you waste a lot of time searching for the right information. And sometimes, you can even miss a great opportunity.
Wouldn't it be much better if you had a system that could monitor all activities from these influencers? And what if this system could filter the activities that doesn't matter to you? Keeping track of the conversations you joined so you can follow-up could be a good idea too? If you don't want to lose sight of someone, it would be also interesting to know when your last interaction took place.
So, the first step is to think of what information you need to collect, how you want to process it, when and how to take action, and why not, keep track of it.
Once you know that, you can start thinking of possible ways to implement this system. Luckily, today there are thousands of tools out there to help you put your ideas into practice. But you need first to understand what information you need and how to deal with it before playing with those tools. What's the point of collecting hundreds of articles with Evernote if you never use them later?
That's just one example. There are a myriad of ways to deal with information.
Prepare your mind and body for the day
Are you the kind of person who starts they day running against the clock? What about breakfast? Do you have a nice and calm breakfast or you simple skip it altogether? Do you give yourself time to relax and read a book?
Most people think that being productive means working as many hours a day as you possibly can. So they sleep less, they skip important things like breakfast and exercises, and they don't even take the time to plan their day.
Well, let me tell you a secret: Being productive is about being effective, not efficient. The world cares about results, goals achieved, transformations, not how many tasks you checked in your to-do list.
If you want to achieve your goals and delivery outstanding results, you need to reach to your best state of mind, so you can focus on the most important things and take better decisions. Get 100 things done in a day, but screw up with the 1 thing that would really make a difference in your job and you will not go very far.
But how can you do that? The answer is simpler than you could think: Just give yourself time to prepare your mind and body for the day.
Here are a few ideas:
Wake up earlier and have a low glycemic index breakfast to keep your energy levels high during the day.
Take the time to actively read a book. This is the fastest way you can find to improve yourself and your decision-making.
Meditate. Focus is a huge factor on productivity. Meditation can definitely help you to improve that.
Last but not least; plan your day. If you need to stop every half an hour to figure out what you need to do next, by the middle of the day your willpower will be drained. Define once everything that needs to be done and then execute it.
Cut the noise and minor decisions
There's a lot of noise out there. You can't change that. What you can change though, is how you deal with it.
If you don't know where's the problem, you can't find a solution. So, first thing to do is to track the noise. You can do that by simply keeping a notebook with you and writing down everything that distracts you.
I also recommend using the tool Rescuetime. It tracks your activities on your computer and tag it as "productive" or "non-productive". You can use it to review your week and find out how much time you're spending with distractions like social networks and sites like Buzzfeed.
Once you know what's getting in your way, you can figure out how to deal with it.
For some stuff I like to go for a radical approach: I turn off all notifications from my smartphone for instance. This way, I don't need to rely on my willpower to avoid them. For other things I just try to replace a bad habit - spending time on Facebook - with a good one - reaching out to a family member or a friend.
Cutting your minor decisions is also a crucial step to get more productive. If you have to take tons of decisions in a day, you will feel overwhelmed and not produce your best work. What you should do instead is to focus on your most important decisions and cut, automate or delegate the minor ones.
As you can imagine, our friend Barack Obama has some important decisions to make at the White House. That's why he tries to avoid all minor decisions as much as he can. Want a few examples?
He does not decide what he eats. He simply asks the White House's Chef to always surprise him. I understand that maybe you don't have a Chef in your house to do the same for you, but what about thinking of your meals in advance instead of figuring out what do do every time that you have to cook?
He also only wears grey or blue suits. This way, he does not need to decide in the morning what to wear. The decision is automatic.
Can you think about someone else who does something similar?
There is, of course, many other things that highly productive people do. But by only incorporating these 3 mindsets in your life, you will certainly be ahead of most wanna-be productive guys.