Productivity is the place where smart planning meets concentrated effort. To some, this place is nirvana: a productivity paradise they have long heard of but do not expect to visit anytime soon. There’s too much to do. To others, productivity is a practical process available to all, provided that you’re prepared to chip in a bit of discipline and effort. We believe in the latter ethos. Productivity is a simple and straightforward process. We just need some coaxing to change our thinking as to how to eke out the best from ourselves at work.
You almost certainly know that sitting for most of the day damages your health. Research has proved that sitting for 8-10 hours every day without moving around in between causes heart attacks. What does this have to do with productivity we hear you ask? Your energy levels are reduced because you’re not moving around. If your energy levels dip, your concentration levels take a hit. If your concentration is impaired, your decision making isn’t what it could be. Productivity isn’t about how many hours you sit at your desk. Productivity is what you achieve without ruining your health.
In America alone 12.2 billion hours are collectively spent scrolling social media sites. The approximate cost of these diversions in productivity terms is approximately $650 billion per year (that’s about $4,452 per person).
Constantly switching between the task at hand to quickly check your social media feeds impairs your focus levels. While this may not affect you initially, you’ll discover its crippling effects when circumstances demand you focus for an extended period. Monitor your scrolling time. You’ll be happier, have more energy and will notice the world around you again. TV watching is another culprit. As they say, no empire was ever built watching TV. Discipline yourself to one show per evening, and notice how your concentration levels improve.
Think about what you want to achieve and look at how you are realistically going to achieve it. The temptation to escape by watching TV is real, we know, but the advantages and rewards when you resist the urge and get on with going for that swim, walk or catching up with some reading are remarkable.
Before you leave the office for the day, plan your tasks for tomorrow. Writing a to do list of what you want to get done focuses your mind. When you leave the office you are confident of what needs to be done when you return. Overnight your mind has some time to itself (because you’re not slumped in front of the TV) and, after a while, you’ll start having good ideas. You might find yourself doing some background reading or brainstorming on your commute to work.
You were right all along
Forget multi-tasking. Research has confirmed what our frayed nerves have been trying to tell us: we cannot complete multiple tasks simultaneously. The old rule of “one thing at a time” is back and we’re all more productive because of it.
The key to productivity is working smarter, not harder. You know what you need to do. Far from being a grind, being productive increases positivity, wellbeing and guarantees success. Go for it!
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