There are many different tips and techniques that are available to help us get more things done. But doing and achieving don’t always go hand in hand. We have to ask ourselves what our goals are, and than identify the actions that get us as closest to our destination.
Distractions are only a part of the problem. An even more common problem regarding productivity is doing unproductive tasks, while fooling ourselves that we did some form of actual work. Cleaning up your desktop won’t get you closer to your goal, but it will make you feel better. That false emotion of feeling better ate you up entire day of your quality time or at least substantial portion of it. You felt good doing it, but you didn’t accomplish anything in particular.
Trap of instant gratification
According to Tony Robins, avid inspirational speaker, the core of changing habits is located in the pain/pleasure area of our minds. The core of your non productivity is your search for instant gratification. We are accustomed to instant affirmation of our work. Hence, instant messaging, social media,and email are give us a false feeling of accomplishment. That is why we are continually going back to them as certain sort of drug.
Lying to ourselves is present in all areas of our though processes. Having a powerful mind doesn’t mean that we use in a powerful way. So what should be our goal? Working all the time, without leaving yourself some time to think, is devastating to your productivity. Being productive doesn’t mean working 24/7, although I do get caught in that trap, because I’m starving for that instant gratification of what I want to achieve.
Blowing off steam and keeping your cool is more important than doing too much work. Why are breaks important? They allow us to put our minds on autopilot while enjoying something else. Our subconscious minds are actively seeking solutions while we’re resting, and we should take advantage over that. So aside from planning your time figuring out whats important and what’s not, one of the goals we should aim for is to figure out how to get into the rhythm of workflow.
If you are working in the cubicle, “think outside of the box” should be taken literally. Every occasion you have, use it to leave your cubicle and make a break. If you want to think outside of the box, you need to leave one as often as possible. These small breaks should be combined with Pomodoro technique. Instead of using your 5 minutes break to check Facebook, you use them to move away from the computer or your working device. (If you can check your email/facebook on your cell phone, that is okay, but keep it separate!)
Tips for writers and bloggers
There are a couple of tips that I am practicing for efficient and effective writing. They might sound silly, but they work for me. Maybe you have your own ideas on how to get more done. So what’s the main thing I do? I force myself to write in a certain room of the house. There is a blank table. I pick up my laptop there and it’s a distraction free environment. I leave my wireless mouse where it is, so it makes me lazy to actually use computer properly (I really hate touch pads on laptops). Therefore, I don’t have a mouse and I’m too lazy to use a pad, I actually only use keyboard shortcut to pull out new note in Evernote (Ctrl+Alt+N or Ctrl + CMD + N on MAC) and start writing Simple as that.
Merely having a a “writing room” makes me tuned into that mindset almost immediately. Habits are wonderful things and are the core of productivity. So, let’s expand on this idea and how you can take it one step further. Get yourself a “productivity operating system”where you can’t do anything except your main task.
For example I am using iPad for socializing and reading news, while my laptop is primary a working machine, weather I am editing audio / video files or writing articles. It’s the fact that I don’t identify my laptop as a device for consuming multimedia, it is simply a device for processing my work.
While being in that environment, your brain is going though the next process: “Whoa, I am on Laptop… there is nothing smarter to do than to write, so I might as well write.”
Instead of writing, you can change that word into your preferred activity. Condition yourself, so that to certain stimuli, you have a certain reaction. This way you are making giant leaps towards your goals.