Imagine this. You woke up today. Slurped your morning Coffee. Sprinted to work. Started your day like any other day. Toiled away like a slave all day long. The same tasks. The same mundane work. Called it a day. I retired at the same time that you did. I went home and slept.
Now, let’s ponder over our lives. During the entire day, did you do anything differently? Something that you are proud of. If yes, you won, go back to sleep. But if you are still trying to conjure up something, you must continue reading this blog.
Staying in the comfort zone is easy. However, feeling unproductive at work and not doing anything about it is a sin. Are you committing this deadly sin?
A survey has revealed that more than 70% of employees in the U.S. are not engaged at work. Another report has showed that companies with engaged employees generate 2.5x more sales than those with a low-engagement level.
I know the feeling myself. Arriving at work feeling like the world is yours for the taking, but somewhere during the day, you feel the strains of unproductivity weighing you down. If you focus, reality will dawn on you. There is a pattern in everything you do. Just like successful people have certain habits that enable them to succeed, there are behaviors that you need to steer clear of to stay productive.
Introspection is a beautiful thing. At the end of each day, it feels great to know that you have made a difference in the world. These are the traits you must avoid to boost your productivity bit by bit every day.
- Purposeless mornings
- Planning and not executing
- Avoiding Innovation
- Lack of sleep
- Sitting at one place for long
- Too many distractions
- Trying to be perfect
- A Giant to-do list
If you are justifying procrastination because Mozart wrote Don Giovanni the night before it premiered, hear me out. Sadly, you are not Mozart and exist in an era where incredible things can happen each second.
With every hour that you while away, you gather negativity in your brain. An empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Sure, at times it feels like you are doing a tedious task. Who is asking you to complete the task in one-go?
Take a break. Go for a walk. Listen to a podcast. Join a LinkedIn group for Entrepreneurs. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there aimlessly in wonderland. It won’t give you anything in return.
The victorious warrior is the average man, with a laser-like focus. ~Bruce Lee
Science has proven that multitasking damages our brain. We all know that the Pareto principle states that 20% of our efforts yield 80% of results. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow, calls it ‘flow state’ – the state of mind where your productivity is maximized.
Every time we make a switch from one task to another, our brain creates new neurons to handle the work. This depletes the energy of our mind and channels it across two tasks. If we focus on one thing for a long time, it becomes easier for our mind to build the momentum and finish the job with maximized effort.
Multitasking drains our brain.
Most people live their lives on auto-pilot. They follow the same routine every day. They even take Coffee breaks at the same time each day. Social media adds fuel to the situation. No matter what we do, most people grope around for their phones first thing in the morning, even before their eyes adjust to the morning light. Julia Cameron recommends morning pages to jump-start mornings. Richard Branson spends 45 minutes in meditation. Tim Ferriss accomplishes one impossible thing every day. You can begin every day by assigning tasks to your idle resources.
Planning and not executing
A plan Is nothing. Planning is something. Moreover, execution is everything. Let’s say that you want to learn a new language. You spend 5 hours watching YouTube videos. Another 3 hours leafing through books. If you don’t take the time to talk to actual people, nothing that you’ve worked on will do you any good.
As humans, we are great at planning things. The thing that we all lack is the will to execute. Your life will start changing when you learn to take the leap of faith and implement ideas. It is a great thing to keep tabs on your to-do list. You can automate your to-do list and get jobs done fast.
If you are having the same thoughts at 70 that you used to have at 20, you’re not growing; you are just getting old.
Everyone loves their comfort zone. However, nothing significant has ever been achieved by people within their comfort zone. Greatness comes from innovation. I am thinking about things differently and innovating in uncertainty.
The habit of remaining in the comfort zone limits our potential of greatness. From time immemorial, humans have managed to survive by innovating. By evolving and solving problems in new ways. Just consider how much you can improve by laser-focusing your attention on one thing and try different solutions to the same problem.
In his brilliant book, ‘The Google Guys’, Richard L. Brandt talks about the one strategy that Google leverages to solve dire problems. A problem is written on the whiteboard, and anyone can suggest a solution. This helps to get the creative juice out of everyone.
Lack of Sleep
Severe insomnia causes employees to miss work twice as often as good sleepers. ~National Sleep Foundation
Lack of sleep robs the ability of your employee to perform well at work. Constant sleep deprivation grounds one’s productivity to it’s lowest common denominator.
With less sleep, it is often difficult to focus, or engage in mental labor as memory keeps depreciating throughout the day. Projects that can be accomplished in three hours take 10 – 12 hours because with sleep deprivation, the brain loses its ability to think clearly, solve simple problems, and indulge in any critical thinking.
Although you might feel tempted to get things done quickly by pulling more all-nighters, lack of sleep will do nothing but delay your work further. National Sleep Foundation informs us that an average adult should take around 7-9 hours of sleep to revitalize their bodies.
Sitting at one place for Too long
One secret of people from ancient times that kept them energized was an active lifestyle. Nowadays, people rarely move around in their office hours. They sit glued to a laptop and only grudgingly shuffle over to the restroom or the coffee machine. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals such as serotonin that elevate mood and alleviate stress level. Dealing with anxiety constructively will help you overcome obstacles that interfere with your flow.
Too many distractions
The worst form of distraction is one that we choose ourselves. Distractions such as social media platforms, our smartphones, and sometimes emails. You can use website blockers while you are doing some critical work.
When you feel like you got fat chances of loosing your focus and willing to maximize your current time, TaskQue provide a smart hack for this. All you have to do is to maintain your to do list, just add to-do about things you need to do and can not afford to miss due to your fear of laziness, make it a habit to jot down and once you are ready for work directly convert these to-do into tasks. Make it a habit and never miss an important action item. Sounds simple? Create your 60 days free trial
Work in solitude. Often staying away from others can help you create a laser-like focus in everything that you do. Doing one thing at a time can help you achieve more things in a day.
Trying to be perfect
There is no such thing as an ideal human being. Sure, you can pursue perfection, but you cannot achieve it.
Work on real, attainable goals. If the goal is big, break it into smaller chunks and achieve one thing at a time. It’s okay if you fail while working on the goal. Failure means that you are human, and you have an ability to try again.
Keep in mind that to succeed, you don’t need to be perfect in everything. Sometimes, it is okay to finish a task and move on to the next task without bothering about the past.
A Giant to-do list
Things to do today: Finish yesterday’s list
If feels great to check things off a to-do list. However, it is also okay if you were able to do a few things each day. Just don’t blame yourself for not completing everything on the list. Save the rest of the tasks for another tomorrow.
Doing more doesn’t have to be exhausting when you are doing more of the right things.
You can watch hours of videos on YouTube on how to increase your productivity, but if you don’t take some time out to plan and schedule things, nothing is worth it.