I’m willing to bet any amount of money (okay, $20 at most) that “Be more productive” was somewhere on your list of new year’s resolutions for 2018.
Honestly, it’s the type of resolution that ends up on nearly everybody’s list, almost every single year.
So why is productivity one of those things that we seem to be forever chasing, but never able to truly achieve?
Well, in actuality we do achieve productivity.
What we don’t do, however, is commit to the routines that help us achieve it—hence, we’re stuck going from one productivity habit to the next.
But all that’s about to change. Because it’s high time to ditch the whole “well, that didn’t work” mindset and move on to set a new tone for getting stuff done—and loving it!
Take note of these three straight-to-the-point tips for falling in love with your productivity routine all 2018 (and beyond, of course 😉).
Lay It All Out
I’ll start with the most deceptively simple suggestion: lay it all out.
If you ever plan on growing in your love for following through on your tasks and goals, you have to know what you’re dealing with…right?
Take, for instance, loving a person (yep, I’m going there): the more you know about his or her personality, interests, favorite foods, etc., the better you’ll be at loving him or her.
Likewise, the more you know about what you need to do, the better you’ll be at getting it all done.
(Okay, so maybe it isn’t exactly the same, but you get the point!)
I know what you’re thinking, “If what I’m doing is what I have to do, how would I not know about the stuff I need to get done?” …or something along those lines.
Truth is, few people have a solid idea of what they need to get done, much less, how they should go about getting it done.
And, as you can imagine, the time it takes to figure it out comes directly from the time they should be committing to a productivity routine.
That’s why I’m advising you to lay it all out: every task, timeline, meeting, need-to-do list, have-to-but-don’t-want-to-do list, and the small stuff in-between. All of it.
Get it all in front of you, and organized in a way that makes sense.
Then, align it with the level of productivity you’re looking to achieve (e.g., I want to finish at least four tasks per day, with time to spare for XYZ on Tuesdays).
When you do this, you’ll notice that you’re able to:
- Identify any missing pieces or elements that are necessary to make productivity possible
- Designate the appropriate time and energy to prepare for your day or week
- Plan more effectively
- Arrange space around and for the things that will require the most of your time and attention
- Enable yourself to focus and perform at your best
And the list keeps going.
Doing this on a daily or weekly basis will surely help you start committing to and loving the productivity routine you come up with.
Pregame for the Win
A lot of us nosedive straight into our work.
Instead of taking a few minutes to incubate thoughts and ideas, reflect, meditate, text mom, and so on, we take pleasure in our fleeting efforts to somehow miraculously achieve productivity by just sitting down and “getting stuff done.”
I’m here to tell you that, that doesn’t work.
There’s no discipline to that type of process, so it’s guaranteed to lead to burnout, unnecessary stress, procrastination, and the belief that whatever productivity routine you’re employing isn’t working.
Pregaming is one of those things that gets you pumped for whatever you’re about to do next. After a few successful pregaming sessions, you should find yourself naturally gravitating toward doing your pregaming routine/ritual before getting started with the real work.
One of our pregaming rituals here at the Shift office is called “Get Your Shift Done.” Here’s how to play:
- Randomly select 2-3 team members’ names from a mason jar
- The people who were selected will tell the rest of the team his or her peak project (most important or time-sensitive) and pit project (least important or time-sensitive) for that day
- Based on those projects, we take turns ‘designing’ each teammate’s day by piecing together these facts, and creating a plan of attack (with help from our favorite apps and tools, of course)
- The selected team members choose whose idea they like the best
- The person who comes up with the best combination is treated to lunch by the team member whose day they designed
The idea of the activity is to set the mood for collaboration, friendly competition, and creativity. It’s simple, it’s cheeky, and it gets everybody productivity juices flowing.
If nothing else, invest a few minutes, or even an hour, to pregaming before tackling your tasks for the day or week. You’ll thank me later.
Guard Your Process
You should be your routine’s biggest cheerleader.
There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect flow, then abandoning it because maybe you had one or two off days during the month, or because a colleague decided to offer his or her two-cents about your strategy.
If it works for you, that’s all that matters.
Listen, if you decide to do 11 cartwheels and blow an orange balloon before getting down to business each day, that’s your prerogative. If that’s what gets your juices flowing and productivity pumping, by all means, go for it.
The goal is to fall in love with the routine you use to manage your projects, clients, communications, and if it applies, team.
And you can do just that by staying true to the stuff that works for you.
What to Make of It
If you were paying attention, you might have noticed a trend in these tips for falling in love with your productivity routine.
But if you missed it, they were aimed at the jugular of productivity’s biggest enemies: procrastination, no goals or plans, under-commitment, and instability.
Not to mention, each of these suggestions is achievable and enjoyable, regardless of what your productivity needs may be.
Don’t fall for the myth that productivity is akin to getting everything checked off your to-do list, every single day.
Much to the contrary, true productivity is learning how to leave things undone and deliberately embrace your system for getting your goals accomplished.
This Valentine’s Day, consider using these tips to treat yourself to an arrangement of productivity routines that fit your goals. You never know, it may flower into something amazing (pun intended 😛).