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4 Practical Tips To Make Yourself ‘Productive’ Instead Of ‘Busy’

Posted by Iyyappan Chandramouleeswaran in Inspiration
January 25, 2017

We often come across people who walk around with their eyes glued to the screens of their smartphones – checking emails and preparing for presentations – but have no clue (or don’t care) what’s happening around. The way they like to put it – they are always ‘busy’! We have all been there, looking ‘busy’ to everyone around us  –  it’s as if the 24 hours of a day are not enough for us.

If you think that we are just working hard to make time for anyone around us, or for other matters apart from work – then we are unfortunately wrong. The misconception that most of us have is that working long hours and sticking our face into the computer monitor makes us the ‘hardest working’ person in the room. We are mostly very confident that we know the intention for our ‘long working hours’ and ‘busy attitudes’ – but the reality is that we just want to ‘look’ like we have a ‘mission’ to complete. And this is what separates us from the ‘productive people’.

‘Productive people’ do not want to ‘look busy’, but want their ‘work to be done’. ‘The sooner the better for them’ – and they plan and work accordingly so that they can make time for their other commitments. ‘Productive people’ always have an idea or a plan for what they ‘really’ have to do to complete what they want to. They plan it accordingly, and most importantly, execute them without being distracted.

So, how can we become the ‘productive person’ from the ‘busy person’ that we are now? According to Conor Neill, an entrepreneur, speaker, and a teacher at the IESE Business School, life is a question of priorities. As he explains, if we have three priorities for a day, we have ‘priorities’; but, if we have 20 priorities a day, we are in a ‘mess’. And he is completely right about it!

The first step towards ‘productivity’ is to know what you ‘really’ want to do, and to understand your ‘priorities’. Following the steps mentioned below can help you to know how to make ways to complete your work, without ‘getting buried’ in the process to do so.

1. Rework Your ‘To-Do’ List:

You may have the habit of listing down the things that you are planning to do for the day. It is a great habit, but tweaking the way you do it can bring a far better result in your ‘productivity’ rate. Choose the most important things that you need to do for the day (it will mostly be less than three to a maximum of five). These are the things that need your ‘valuable time’, and can take you closer to completing your ‘ultimate mission’. Make a promise to yourself that you will not move on to any other task without completing the important ones that you listed.

2. Maintain A ‘Done’ List Too:

For the ones who are trying to ‘time-manage’ for the first time, or the ones whose previous strategy didn’t work well – it is always good to maintain a list that measures how much you have completed. This is something that I would personally suggest as this works like a motivator for most – including myself. Such a log will definitely surprise you by showing how ‘motivated’ you were to complete all the important tasks without any diversion. This way, you can also help yourself from being ‘demotivated’ when you fail to accomplish your ‘to-do list’ once in a while.

3. Measure Your Results, Not Your Time:

We just spend hours and hours of our time on every single work we do. And if you have noticed, we spend those hours only to find out that, at the end of the day, we are nowhere close to completing our task. A simple but effective advice to be ‘productive’ is to ‘think like an entrepreneur’ and treat every work like a ‘business’. No businessman will be ready to spend all of his/her money to make a product, because the smart way is to achieve the ‘desired business’ at a lesser cost. So treat your time like the money you spend for ‘preparing your product’. Your motive should not be to spend ‘all the time’ you have to complete the work – but to complete the work at hand, and move on to the next.

4. Build A Routine:

‘Uttermost productivity’ is not about ‘luck’, but about ‘pure devotion’. The one thing that we all have noticed among successful leaders is that they follow a ‘strict daily routine’. People like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg have just taken that ‘routine’ to the ‘next level’ by maintaining the ‘same type of attire, everyday’. When Mark was asked about this ‘routine‘ of his, he stated – “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.” And this attitude doesn’t stop with a Mark Zuckerburg or a Steve Jobs – it also continues to be seen in most of the successful people around the world.

Let us therefore, redefine ourselves, and become the ‘most productive’ person from just being a ‘busy’ one. In the process, let’s also spare our ‘valuable’ time for the life around us!

Image Source: Pabak Sarkar/Flickr