In our 4G world where speed and manic multitasking seem to be valued above everything else, paradoxically it can often feel like we’re getting nothing done. With so many distractions and gadgets calling out for our attention, it can be hard to focus. And while productivity enhancers like computers, smartphones, and apps have permeated every aspect of our lives, our own ability to control productivity appears to have diminished. If we are to reclaim productivity from our hyperproductive world, we will first need to learn better time management skills. The following techniques will not only help you get more done on a daily basis, but they will also help you get things done in a way that at once minimizes stress and maximizes enjoyment. Ready?
Avoid Mindless Productivity.
While it’s ok to multitask now and then, just make sure that every task you’re doing is being done properly. Too often, multitaskers do a lot of things at once, but they do them all poorly because they’re simply not focused. If you really want to be productive, you won’t just go for the out-of-control, pedal-to-the-metal vertigo that often accompanies rapid simultaneous activity; rather, you’ll go for actual measurable productivity. There’s a difference.
It’s a very simple rule, but it often gets ignored: do the most important tasks first. When we’ve got a lot of stuff to do at once, we often get overwhelmed and stop weighing up our different tasks. Not every task is created equal, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. An easy way to prioritize is to take a moment to make an ordered list of what needs to get done, then to work through it systematically.
Streamline and Consolidate.
Ok, that’s a fancy way of saying we could all stand to say “no” more often. There will always be more that you can do, and there will always be people who need your help, and there will always be chat and text messages crying out to you to be answered. If you said yes to all of them, you’d quickly have a nervous breakdown. Plus, saying no to things you don’t have room for in your life forces you to choose one thing over another, which is another way of saying you’re prioritizing.
Going full-throttle all the time is an excellent way of courting burnout. And when your burnout, all the manic work you got done will be neutralized by the several days you’ll need to take off to recover from your hyperproductivity bender. Pace yourself. Think of real productivity as a marathon rather than a spirit. Take frequent breaks. Be still. Breathe. Then, when you’re ready to return to work, you’ll feel refreshed and reinvigorated.
Be Nice to Yourself.
For a start, that means getting the right amount of sleep, eating well, and exercising. If productivity is coming at the expense of your health or well-being, it’s false productivity and you should stop. Not only should you commit to a baseline of healthful living in order to get more done, but you should remember to encourage and reward yourself for meeting your goals