Getting things done is easy, straight-forward – at least the recipe for it. You simply just do it.
The referred to solution you’ll find in just about every resource related to productivity. What they’re mostly missing is a detailed look at the contributing factors of time-wasting, the not so obvious obstacles hindering productivity – most of which are self inflicted.
Working 9-5, ideas like these never crossed my mind, and it wasn’t something I had expose myself to. Things changed right after starting my own business, where sometimes I had to be employee, project manager and boss at the same time, all whilst facing a variety of challenges.
The new experiences internalized, it’s now time to convert freshly-made distinctions to change.
There’s not many things effecting productivity – here’s what’s relevant to know, in order of decreasing importance.
1. Mental & Physical Power
Body and mind are intertwined and while the mind can always override physical urges, it’s best to keep both at peak conditions. Health is at the basis of long-term productivity and can easily be maintained by sticking to a regular sleep pattern, organic and mostly Vegan diet, enough protein and supplementing with additional products such as Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, Fish Oil and Creatine.
This is nothing new, something I’ve covered more detailed here.
Physical fitness is nice, but worth nothing without it’s psychological counterpart. Keeping mental power at desirable levels is done through daily meditation, monitoring negative thought patterns, beliefs and more importantly challenging ourselves in a variety of ways – brain exercises, pushing through discomfort.
2. Clarify, Clarify More
Mental and physical engines up and running, it’s time to channel energy the right way, for else it will just diffuse and not do much good. Setting goals is my favorite activity, followed by journaling both of which are prime way to getting clear on what you want and structuring thoughts.
Tons of willpower is be lost whenever we struggle and don’t understand something. Having a step-by-step plan in place has been an essential ingredient in achieving my outcomes. That leads to yet another important step – defining outcomes, not just yearly goals.
Ideally, I set up a list of weekly outcomes (based on monthly goals) and then write down possible action steps next to it. The action doesn’t matter, it’s the outcome that needs to be achieved. The method of getting there can change along the way.
3. Utilizing Routines & Rituals
Chasing goals without proper routines in place is very much like baking a cake with no cake-pan. It’s a lot more effort and never ends up looking nice.
This is also where many people screw up.
Following other people’s plans is NOT how you master yourself, it’s by noticing what works for you and making appropriate adjustments. I for one have a hard time getting creative work done at any time other than in the morning, especially after having watched YouTube videos.
It’s only by noticing how and when you’re at your best that you can now bypass circumstances that limit your potential. This applies to the external world as well as dealing with your emotions and feelings.
From going to the gym early morning to the bed time – it all has an impact on productivity, at worst a negative one.
4. Eliminating Distraction
Before looking at ways to cutting out distractions, it’s important to understand the underlying reasons for the behavior in the first place. Trying to stop one thing will lead to wasting time somewhere else because what has really been addressed was only the outlet for distraction, not its cause.
Nobody watches TV, porn or uses other ways of escaping the present moment without being driven by an underlying issue to do so. There is always a cause of procrastination, which often equals distraction.
Maybe it’s that tasks seem too big and overwhelming and that leads to never getting started. In such a case, avoiding surfing the web will result in going to the water cooler 20x per day. Nothing changes except the form of distraction.
You get the idea.
Once that is taken care of, it’s time to fight the war on distraction. That’s what’s happening today, a fight for people’s attention, especially on the Internet.
Smartphone, OFF. Facebook, EXIT. It’s not rocket science.
5. Expanding Limits
Talking about safe ways to do that though, which only include proven and sustainable options. Supplements – so-called “Nootropics” – such as caffeine pills and l-theanine have been tested extensively – both of which should help maximize what I’m capable of when that extra boost is needed.
Obviously, there’s more options such as modafinil, but really, currently I’m not willing to take the risk.
6. Seeking Balance
Knowing when I’m close to my limits is important so that required off-time, recharging the batteries can be scheduled. Whether that’s small scale, such as taking a nap or break, or long-term in the form of a vacation, renewal is the key to making all of this sustainable. Continuously going full-bore will otherwise result in a burnout eventually.
Renewal comes in different forms, depending on personality type and preferences: from reading a book, to meeting friends, socializing, or taking a walk in nature.