These days, with our lives full of possibilities for distraction, it can be hard to feel like you are ever being truly productive. However, while it might be tempting to blame technology and social media for the ease with which we get distracted, the truth is that productive people tend to stay productive while unproductive people tend to stay unproductive. So if you truly want to become productive, the key is to learn how to do what the pros do, to fake it until you make it. To get started, here are some key pointers to help you start to imitate the habits of productive people.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Productive people know that success doesn’t just happen to you. It’s something you have to make happen. Here are a few ways that really productive people set themselves up to succeed:
- Give yourself a routine. The easiest way to make sure you do get something done is to build it into your muscle memory, to make it a habit. But in order to do this efficiently, you’ll need to be following a routine in the first place. Start out by giving yourself a fairly strict routine to follow. Try waking up earlier than you normally would and going to bed a bit earlier. But don’t allow yourself to add in more hours of sleep than you really need. Make a rigid schedule that includes all the important stuff: time for the gym, all of your important tasks at work, personal errands, and your time for family or friends. A great way to help you prioritize is the Any Do It helps you stay on top of your daily tasks, errands, and work projects. It even has sections for a grocery list, books to read, and you can make your own custom lists. It’s very satisfying to cross items off of a to-do list.
- As you create a routine for yourself, avoid planning your day in such a way that you are constantly interrupting yourself to switch gears. Getting interrupted or trying to switch gears can be extremely disruptive for your productivity, so once you’ve gotten into the groove with your work, give yourself the time and space to stay focused and stay in the zone.
- Free yourself from workplace distractions. Whether it’s noisy coworkers or a cluttered desk, workplace distractions can completely disrupt your success. Start off by clearing off your desk and reorganizing your office. Get rid of everything you don’t need. Organize all the items left over. Come up with a reliable organization system that you will be able to follow in the future. Redecorate your office in a way that will motivate you to succeed. Maybe for you that means getting a coffee maker for your desk so you won’t get distracted in the break room every few hours. Or maybe that means keeping a sparse and clean space. Or maybe that means keeping an attractive office space that motivates you to keep a positive mindset. Try getting some new office furniture and some modern stuff at TouchofModern.com to freshen up your workspace and your frame of mind. Even something as simple as a small piece of art for your desk can help you enjoy getting work done.
- Set specific goals and consider them every day. If you have vague goals about being the best in your department or about starting your own business one day, it will be much harder to make real steps towards those goals. Give yourself detailed goals and deadlines. Even if you can’t meet the deadlines, you’ll be amazed at how much you learn and progress along the way towards trying to meet those goals within the timeframe you’ve given yourself.
How to Change Your Frame of Mind
As you work on changing your lifestyle to improve your productivity, don’t overlook the important changes that you will also need to make to your state of mind. Changes often come about as a result of variations you make to your lifestyle, so there are a few things you should keep in mind as you are working on an overall productivity ramp-up.
- Don’t overcommit yourself. If you are constantly trying to succeed at everything, you’ll never give yourself room to really become the best at the one particular thing you most want to excel in. While sometimes you may have to take on more responsibilities than you really want to in order to keep operations running, learn how to recognize when you are being tasked with things that are not your responsibility. Stand up for yourself when you are being overworked. Do not volunteer for tasks that will not help you grow as a person and a professional, and will only serve as a distraction. And even when you do feel that you are volunteering for something that will benefit you in a personal way, take some time to reflect before you commit to make sure that it’s the right time to take on that added responsibility. Even though you might want to volunteer for a task that you think will improve your resume, make sure that it is an improvement or a new skill that is really worth your investment of time and productivity lost in other areas.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. This means that not only should you avoid distractions in the office, you also need to avoid distractions at home and in your social life as well. Of course it’s important to keep a strong and active network of friends and family. But you need to avoid straining yourself to keep social commitments at the expense of your productivity. Know when an event is really important, when it’s good for you to do something social, and when you’re really just accepting an invitation to avoid your ever-growing to-do list.
Once you’ve started to make these kinds of changes into a routine part of your life, improving your productivity will start to come naturally to you. Give yourself a personal and professional edge by getting more organized and more driven to be more productive. You have to truly want to make these changes to see any results, so give it your all and reap the benefits.