Do you sit in front of the computer and then you decide what to do?
Do you start your day by replying to WhatsApp messages or emails?
Do you stay up until late at night connected to the virtual world?
These are just 3 of the infinite habits that are not productive because they violate the absolute truths about productivity.
At the end of a busy day, you wish you’d accomplished more. This happens when we go against the first rule:
1. Being busy doesn’t mean being productive
Productivity is about the efficiency of production. It’s the ratio between the amount of work you put into something and the result it generates.
If you don’t have clear goals, you can’t be productive. Ask yourself: what do you want to achieve?
If you want to learn a new language, replying to messages, paying bills, posting on social media, is not productive.
For sure, we need to do this kind of thing, that’s why successful people either outsource trivial tasks or schedule blocks of time to perform them.
Try asking yourself 3 to 6 times per day using your phone’s alarm: “At present, am I just busy, or am I working on my goals?”
2. New tasks are always coming up
The more you do, the more tasks pop up. On the other hand, if you have a clear goal, prioritizing tasks is your next step.
You can’t do everything all at once; it doesn’t matter how good you are at multitasking. Unless you prioritize your tasks, you’ll always be busy. Assign a priority to your chores using the Pareto Principle.
Now let’s analyze one thing that happens all the time: when a friend sends you a message, is it at the time you would like to receive it, or at the time your friend would like to post it?
The answer is undeniable, isn’t it?
If you don’t take care of your most valuable asset, your time, someone will do for you. This leads to rule number 3.
3. Don’t let other people set your agenda
The practical action here is to disable the notifications of your phone, turn off your email client and set a period of your day just for this stuff.
I block 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at the end of the day to check emails, WhatsApp messages, and to do other administrative stuff.
4. Purpose is your most valuable asset
The poorest direction I see people taking is the rush towards money.
I don’t think I need to list all the benefits of money here, but looking at it as “the goal” is one of the biggest mistakes our society has made.
The idea here is to stop and think: I know money is necessary, but first of all, what do I love? What is my life purpose?
When we do something with passion, it’s easy to become good at it. The better we become, the more chances we have to make money out of it.
Just don’t go the other way around and try to make money at any cost.
5. Stop thinking of something that you can’t deal with at the moment
How many times during the day you remember that you have to do something else? You are doing research for a new logo, and suddenly you think: I have to clean the dishes before my wife arrives, I need to send that email to that client, I have to book my next trip, etc.
We get so anxious about these “less important” things that productivity falls remarkably.
To stop this energy thief, it’s a good idea to have a repository of ideas/tasks that pop up in your head.
I use a to-do app for this, but you can just have a pen and paper always at hand. Quickly jot down what pops up in your mind and return to the critical task.
Now the 6 of the 8 truths about productivity is:
6. Don’t treat exceptions as rules
We have a huge tendency to do this. Both in our personal and professional lives!
I need to lose weight: but I have that barbecue party this weekend. So, I’m not going to start my diet.
I need to stop spending time on my phone, and removing the notifications would be a good starting point. But what if there is an emergency? So, I’d better not switch notifications off.
We are treating exceptions as rules!
Wouldn’t it be more efficient to adjust your diet to these days or create a channel for urgent messages?
It’s impossible to talk about productivity and ignore a fundamental part of our lives: Happiness.
I thought that being productive would make me happy. And then I set my day to wake up at dawn, to study, to meditate, to do extra work, and so on.
I was an extremely productive person, but it comes to a point where I became a robot, and I forgot the simple things that make sense to me!
To be clear, I do not mean that we should not want to conquer things in life, I even see it as one of the essential elements of happiness.
That’s why we can’t leave aside the 7th of the 8 truths about productivity:
7. Happiness Is Not a Destination
IT’S THE PATH! Be very productive, but don’t fall into the trap of not living your life today, hoping that in the future, you will be freer, and then you can be happy.
And finally… The last of the 8 truths about productivity is:
8. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it
This sentence goes for everything in life, but let’s focus on the productivity issue here: procrastinating is more comfortable; that’s why most people postpone stuff.
Not mastering your own time is more natural. It isn’t a coincidence that it’s a common situation.
To overcome this kind of difficulty, it’s crucial to work on your life purpose, again, every successful person knows exactly what are they meant for.
If you need help finding your purpose in life, shoot us an email, and let’s design a new life.