Productivity can be difficult to measure in the fast-paced world that we so determinedly jet around in. Despite the grueling feeling of having lots on our plate, when we finally do acquire a moment of breathing space, it is often spent contemplating what’s up next - what else do we have to do? It is simply too easy to get caught up in the confusion between being busy, and being productive.
Yes, the two concepts both feel the same. We feel a sense of urgency, importance, tiredness, and often a need for a pick-me-up americano. And when we finally get around to buying our first coffee of the day, it’s predictable that the local barista will ask the politely generic “how is your day going?” Our answer? A pleasant smile followed by “busy.” What is imperative to note about this common situation, is that regardless of the rush, and sense of pressure we may be experiencing, it does not, in fact, mean that we are being productive.
How To Separate Productivity From Being Busy
The stereotypical image of productivity is that of a person swamped under piles of stacked up paperwork, whom has no time for anything, or anyone. This is not to say that people who appear busy are not being productive; the example is rather there to convey that efficiency does not always translate into busyness. A richer comprehension of the power of self-awareness will enable you to measure your personal success and make sure you are getting the most out of the time you spend.
The Oxford Dictionary defines productivity by “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.”
When determining whether you are being productive or just having a busy day, ask yourself this - “is the time and effort that I’m putting into the task resulting in a high-value outcome?” This question is best asked after taking a step back from your situation. Having a big-picture perspective is the best way to gain well informed self-awareness. You could compare a day spent grocery shopping and mowing the lawns, to a day at work spent mulling over countless urgent tasks and deadlines. Now, consider what was achieved each day? Although the day at work was more stressful, the productive front was merely superficial. Our actions can not be considered productive until the time and effort we put in is rewarded with progressive or successful outcomes. To help you out with spending your time wisely I have pulled together five of the best steps to become less busy and more productive.
Successful Productivity In Five Steps
Step 1: Know The Difference
Understand the difference between being busy vs productive, and apply this awareness to yourself. Utilizing your comprehension of effective actions is guaranteed to reverberate with more productivity and less stress. So take a step back, relax, and visualize your bigger picture. Identify which tasks are time-consuming and superficially productive, and which are effective.
Step 2: Set Visual Goals
The act of physically writing, typing, and getting hands-on with planning your initiative, helps to memorise schedules and encourages deeper thinking about the purpose behind each intention. It is very necessary to set goals if you want success. Why? Goals force you to focus on achievement. Organising a schedule in the lead up to goals will encourage wise investment of your time and energy.
Step 3: Create A Morning Routine
Getting up each morning with the intention to accomplish is the best attitude for higher success rates. Implementing this mindset by completing your tasks first thing in the morning is the vital step that follows, and shouldn’t be missed. Get into a routine of completing challenging tasks early in the day, rather than procrastinating and essentially wasting your time.
Step 4: Beware Unproductive Habits!
Technology is progressive and completely essential to our productivity in the 21st century. However, it is also a leading platform for unproductive temptations. Take a mental note that social media, calling your family, watching the latest Netflix series, and getting trapped down the deep rabbit hole of BuzzFeed quizzes, is in no way a valuable expenditure of your time. Stay away from anti-productive temptations.
Step 5: Hold Yourself Accountable
Choosing how you interact with your day is up to you, and you happen to be the only one with full control over yourself. To ensure you’re meeting deadlines, you need to set realistic goals and be accountable. I would recommend to reconvene with yourself at the end of each day and go over what tasks were achieved and which weren’t. Ask what obstacles held you back and which methods helped you achieve. Learn from your own experience, as it is the most personalised way to become a self-awareness pro, and in turn, generate higher productivity.
Improve the way you enjoy life, engage your mind to think with more purpose, and achieve higher success rates. Are you ready? Take away the simple logistics you’ve learned here, apply them; and you are guaranteed to reap these benefits quickly, and of course - you will be less busy and more productive.