Let me start with a confession.
Until a few weeks ago, I was guilty of a deadly sin; Envy – when I saw anyone doing what I wanted to do, or living out a dream that I wanted to live (Thanks to Instagram), the green-eyed monster would get the better of me. I mean, is it really my fault if I find my train of thoughts going awry when I have to contend with my boss droning on for hours at a meeting when my best friend can’t seem to stop flaunting her newly acquired tan at a scintillating Hawaii beach with the wind in her hair and a glass of martini poised on her lips. How do I concentrate when I know what I could be doing instead!
But I’m not alone in this, am I? Most of us weak vessels succumb to the monster called jealousy. But, what most people don’t realize is that jealousy gives birth to unproductivity.
However, I recently realized that being jealous was not just affecting me psychologically, it was making my productivity crash head-on towards the ground.
To get done and dusted with this battle raging rampant inside me, I started looking for peace outside my workplace. And here are some ways which helped me super-charge my productivity.
Make yourself Believe that you’re not Drained-out
We have all come to dread those blood-sucking days when you feel absolutely wound-up and exhausted.
How often do you find yourself complaining about having no energy left at the end of the day?
Sometimes you hit the gym and at others, you do something to replenish your repertoire of positive energy.
Now compare this energy to the upsurge of vigor that washes over you suddenly when you watch The Walking Dead or dress-up to go for the movies or a thrilling night out, even after an absolutely taxing day at work? Do you feel tired or fresh all of a sudden?
Here is the thing. Your mind is not really tired after work, even after an interminably taxing day. It just needs some simulation to change its state.
For instance, if you finish work at 6 pm, your mind sends you a signal that you beat. The harder the day, the more you’ll believe that you are drained out.
What you can do is to shift the psychology of your brain. You can accomplish this simply by reminding yourself constantly that you’re not tired.
2) Hack your free time
What do you do between 7 pm – 10 am? Binge on Netflix curled up on your couch, hit the bar with a couple of friends to watch the game, or tap away at your phone? The way you spend your free time determines your propensity to improve in the coming years.
I usually prefer watching TED videos and reading books to keep abreast of the most up-to-the-minute trends in the market.
There are times when I don’t feel like driving to work. This is when I take the sub, and while onboard, I have around 60 minutes of commute time to do anything with that I wish.
Even when I choose to drive, I have a couple of motivational CDs lying around the car to rejuvenate my mind. By I time I park my car in my allotted space at work, I feel animated again.
When you’re traveling and you’re not doing anything, your lizard brain will jump-in and tell you to spend your energy on unproductive things.
As Jim Loehr mentions in his best-selling book, The Power of Full Engagement, “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”
Whenever you find yourself trapped in this cycle of unproductivity, you need to break the chains and do something which can help you move closer to your goals.
4) Pick a hobby
Being passionate about something is highly overrated.
Unless you’re Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, or Josh Waitzkin, you must still be struggling to come up with a hobby that makes you leap in pleasure.
If such is not the case, do you already follow up on your whims?
It is high time to take that hobby and do something good out of it. Be it writing, cooking, photography, or playing any musical instrument; just start doing it.
You might ask, how will this help rejuvenate my energy and make me productive?
Simple. When you do something that you love, you feed your Dopamine – a chemical which is responsible for controlling your emotions. And once your dopamine levels run high, your productivity takes wings.
5) Remove all distractions
A study conducted by the University of London concludes that multi-tasking actually lowers your IQ levels and drops it to around 15 points.
It is natural to get distracted by things that are present in this digital age. Think social media or the in-between small projects that vie boisterously for attention while our hands are tied with one big project.
I am a writer and when I write, I bid adieu to all distractions which can wreak havoc on my focus and hurt my creativity. I use the SelfControl app to seek reprieve from all my social media activities and focus on my writing.
When you know that you have one task to do, it gets easy to complete it without depleting your energy reserves elsewhere.
6) Retrospect your day
You see these people every day. They labor at work endlessly but dwell in shadows and never get promoted. Ever wonder why? Because they don’t retrospect their days.
They read 30 books a month without taking away anything from even one. They can play guitar covers but don’t have it in them to compose one of their own.
If you want to go ahead in life, you need to reflect daily on your life. The most successful leaders focus on their good things throughout the day.
Take out the last 10 minutes of each day and consider how close you’re towards reaching your goal?
Figure out the repetitive tasks that rain over your focus, and delegate them with TaskQue – an online task management tool.
“You can learn a lot from the ideas you put into your mind from the external world, but you can arguably learn even more by breaking them down and making better sense of the thoughts already roaming around in your head.” ~Zat Rana
To wrap it up
This is an age of distractions. With social media and smartphone glued to our hands, we give everyone an impression of being busy. But, it is not just about being busy. Even ants are busy all the time, but that doesn’t make them productive. Separate yourself from people who are appearing to be busy & latch on to people who are actually productive.