How do you squeeze more from a day? And why would you want to? It is my theory that the more productive you are, the happier you will be. The idea is that if you are moving in the direction of where you want to be in life, consistently, you will be happier. Productivity is the measure of output for a given input. Increase your productivity with these three proven strategies and you will stay motivated, get more done and be happier.
In the realm of manufacturing and economics, productivity is a measure of output/input. For instance, if making a paperback book requires 1 tree then your measure of productivity is 1/1 or 1. If you can make the same book with only half of a tree the measure of productivity is 1/.5 or 2. In our lives, we can increase our productivity by doing more in less time, with less money or fewer physical resources. But, in a world where we already feel overwhelmed and busy how could we possibly do more that we already do!
Strategy 1 – Set Goals. You have heard it before but have you actually done it? You have to review them and set new goals periodically as well. An example goal is to write a book over the next twelve months. This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive, or SMART. The larger over-arching goals should fit this model as should all sub-goals you set in order to reach your main goal. Always break your goals down into the smallest possible steps so that they are approachable and easy to complete. Such as, write one paragraph of my book every day.
Strategy 2 – Know how you spend your time. Often we are moving from task to task so quickly that we are being reactive instead of proactive. We feel constantly busy and our activities do not align with the priorities in our lives. Spend one week writing down EVERYTHING you do in 15-minute increments. Review this information after seven days. What are you doing with your time? Does your time reflect your life’s priorities? Identify your top three priorities then assign a highlighter color to each. Highlight each activity on your completed daily calendars and see how you are doing. David Seah, a designer of productivity stationary and a blogger, has an effective tool titled, The Emergent Task Planner, available for free download on his site www.DavidSeah.com that will help in your time tracking process.
Strategy 3 – Schedule your activities. Now that you know how you are spending your time and the goals you are working towards, it will be easier to create a plan for getting it all done. Take time every week to plan your week ahead considering all activities that involve you. Be sure to include healthy habits such as exercise, meals, and sleep. Break down your large goals into sub-goals and put the tasks on your calendar. Do not recreate your schedule from scratch every week. Look for trends and utilize ‘block scheduling’ to create routines for yourself. Every evening, review your day and pick three tasks to focus on the next day.
Still confused as to how being more productive will make you happier? Think of one dream or project that you have not completed. Why have you put it off? How does it make you feel? Think about how great you will feel if it is finished? Being more productive and working towards accomplishing that project captures that excited feeling on a daily basis because you are energized and accomplishing your dreams. Set goals, know your time and schedule your activities and you will be able to do more in less time.