We’d all prefer to be more productive. However, there are some factors that prevent us from doing so. Regardless, we can always develop productivity habits to help us meet our goals and objectives.
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What is personal productivity?
My take on productivity is doing something worthwhile with your time.
Worthwhile being something that increases your income, skills, talents, assets, and so on. Worthwhile can also refer to reducing waste, saving time, or removing clutter.
At work, productivity is being able to complete your duties and responsibilities during working hours. The accomplishment of your tasks contributes to the achievement of your organization’s goals and objectives.
During your personal time, productivity is about doing a side hustle or starting up a small business. It is the use of your free time to learn a new skill, read for self-improvement, or get some exercise. Similarly, it can be doing chores, running errands, or planning your week ahead of time.
For freelancers, productivity means completing contract work and running your business within the parameters you set for yourself.
What is the importance of personal productivity?
Before we proceed with the importance of productivity, let us first make it clear that productivity does not equal being busy.
Being busy simply means not having enough time for everything. But, these things may not be beneficial to you or those around you.
Being busy does not provide the same benefits as productivity, which include:
When you are productive, you feel a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction when you complete a task, a job, or a contract. It boosts your self-esteem, energy, and motivation to keep going.
Being able to accomplish something, even a small thing is a reason for happiness.
Aside from the validation that, you are a person who CAN complete something. There is also that sense of pride that you were actually able to do it.
Because of the sense of accomplishment, you feel energized to move on to your next task and do some more.
You will feel that drive to continue pursuing your goals and objectives.
Being productive also provides you with a sense of purpose. The momentum that productivity generates will give you a reason to get out of bed each day, ready to tackle your planned tasks.
Finally, another advantage of being productive is that it will no longer take as much mental effort to go and do something.
Because of continued productivity, you can move forward with the tasks at hand without having to actively decide whether or not to do them.
Furthermore, the more productive you are, the less time and effort it takes to produce high-quality results.
What prevents productivity?
So, with all of the productivity benefits listed above, the question now is, why aren’t we all productive?
This is due to the fact that there are things, perhaps even small things. That distracts us and prevents us from being productive.
Some of the factors that influence our productivity are listed below.
Poor eating habits
Yes, it may seem far-fetched, but the food we eat has an impact on our productivity. And there is proof.
Scientists at Brigham Young University discovered that employees who ate an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to report a productivity loss than healthy eaters.
When you eat processed foods, you are depriving your body of the essential nutrients it requires to function properly. When your body is not fully functioning, it affects your mind, resulting in:
- Lack of energy,
- Lack of focus and effectiveness, and
- Increased stress and anxiety.
Distractions such as notifications, emails, and social media can all have a negative impact on your productivity.
Notifications can distract you even if you don’t interact with them directly, according to research. And this is accomplished by causing you to think about things that have nothing to do with your tasks.
Other distractions, such as emails or social media, detract from productivity. And if you allow yourself to be distracted, you will find yourself wasting valuable time replying to irrelevant emails. Or scrolling through social media.
Another cause for loss in productivity is wanting everything to be perfect.
Not publishing your article even after oh-so-many revisions. Not submitting your report on time because you needed to proofread a hundred times. Or endlessly editing your video even when your schedule to post was yesterday.
These are all examples of perfectionism sabotaging productivity. Which stems from a fear of failure. Fear causes paralysis and an inability to perform tasks.
Not taking any breaks
Another factor that has a negative impact on productivity is the reluctance to take breaks.
Working yourself to exhaustion will result in the systematic breakdown of your body.
Even machines are scheduled for maintenance checks on a regular basis. This is to ensure that they remain in top condition and continue to produce high-quality products.
All the more so for your body.
Therefore, it is important that you take breaks from your workstation, even if only for a few minutes, throughout the day. This is to clear your mind and refocus it, as well as to stretch out your tired muscles.
Your physical work environment is another factor that contributes to reduced productivity.
Some examples that lead to decreased productivity include poor lighting, noisy work area, inappropriate temperature, faulty equipment, and so on.
Simple habits for productivity
Although we cannot be productive all of the time, it is critical that we develop habits that will assist us in remaining productive.
Habits for productivity will undoubtedly assist us in streamlining our processes in order to balance our work and personal lives.
Here are some personal productivity habits you might want to try:
Practice healthy eating. Drink water. Get moving. Get enough rest.
All of these things contribute to having a healthy body and mind. When you are in good health, you are more likely to be productive. Because your most valuable asset, you are operating at peak performance.
Eliminate distractions or limit them if not possible.
How? First, turn off your cell phone or place it somewhere you won’t be able to see or access it. You won’t be tempted to ‘quickly’ check for messages this way.
Second, limit the number of tabs and windows that are open on your laptop or desktop computer. This allows you to focus solely on the task at hand. Rather than being distracted by ‘interesting’ articles or irrelevant tasks.
Third, you should limit the amount of time you spend on emails. Schedule a specific time during the day to check and respond to emails, preferably after your most important task has been completed.
Fourth, beg off from meetings. Confirm whether your presence or expertise is truly required for the scheduled meeting.
Finally, limit your conversation with coworkers. Although we need to interact as social animals, too much interaction will reduce our productivity.
So, try to keep interactions with coworkers to a minimum during official breaks.
Another productivity habit that needs a special mention is to declutter regularly.
Clutter, according to research, has a negative impact on our brain. It depletes our mental energy and impairs our ability to concentrate on our tasks.
In the same study, they discovered that decluttering your work environment improves your focus. It allows you to process information more effectively and increases your productivity.
No to multitasking
Multitasking does not help at all with your productivity. It actually has the opposite effect, limiting your productivity.
This is because you must expend more mental energy in order to reacquaint yourself with and return to another task.
So, if you want to boost your productivity, concentrate on one task at a time.
This process will be more productive because the more engaged you are with a task, the faster you will improve.
As a result, less time is spent on that task, which can then be used for other tasks or much-needed rest.
Learn to say ‘no’
This may seem like a selfish suggestion. But this is one habit that will improve not only your productivity but also your life in general.
Because saying ‘no’ will keep you from doing tasks that have nothing to do with your goals and objectives.
Additionally, saying yes to everything will only lead to overwhelm, fatigue, resentment, and overall stress.
Thus, if you value your time and your overall health, learn to say “no.” Warren Buffet, the man himself, has this to say:
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”– Warren Buffet
Done is better than perfect
To counter perfectionism, which as we mentioned earlier stems from fear, remember that ‘done is better than perfect.’
Believe in yourself, that after you have given your all to a task or project. The next best thing to do is to submit, post, or publish. Press that ‘complete’ button already.
And, be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes in the past. Allow them to serve as a learning experience for you to improve rather than a hindrance to your productivity.
As Abraham Lincoln famously stated:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax“– Abraham Lincoln
In our fast-paced world, the only way to stay ahead is to keep sharpening your saw. And that is through continuous learning or training.
Investing in yourself not only improves your productivity but also allows you to broaden your skills and knowledge.
You also maintain your relevance and advance in your career. Alternatively, it provides you with the opportunity to explore other industries.
When you keep up with new trends or technologies. Are curious about other fields. Or are open to new possibilities and opportunities, you can get to choose careers.
Why? Because continuous learning improves your self-esteem, motivates you, and gives you personal satisfaction.
As a side note, if you are on the lookout for an online learning platform, go check out Skillshare.
The platform allows you to learn by watching high-quality videos at your own pace. In addition, the vast majority of courses taught by Skillshare instructors are of exceptional quality.
Visit their website and grab their offer of a free first month of unlimited classes.
To summarize, we learned that productivity is doing something worthwhile with your time. And that it is important for the following reasons:
- It provides fulfillment,
- Purpose, and
However, there are factors that prevent us from being productive. These factors are:
- Poor eating habits,
- Being easily distracted,
- Perfectionist tendencies,
- Taking no breaks, and
- Poor working environment.
Regardless of the factors that keep us from being productive, there are productivity habits we can develop to help us streamline our processes and achieve work-life balance.
Here are productivity habits to try:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle,
- Eliminating distractions,
- Avoid multitasking.
- Learning to say ‘no’,
- Practicing done is better than perfect,
- Continuous learning.
Please share your thoughts or ideas about Your Simple Habits For Productivity in the comments below. And if you liked this article, you might be interested as well in these articles:
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Simple Tips On How To Develop A Good Decision-Making Habit
How To Set Up Good Habits (Instead Of Goals)
Benefits of personal productivity and why it is important
Nutrition and Productivity: How Foods Can Affect Your Performance
How to Avoid the 9 Things That Hurt Productivity Most
How to Get More Done: 10 Habits of Highly Productive People
The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk