How To Be Productive, Not Busy
Jim Rohn said it best when it comes to the topic:
“Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what?” – Jim Rohn
We all have had days where we have had a lot more physical movement, but we look back at the day and realize that we wasted a lot of time and got nothing done! Why is this? Like Jim Rohn says, its actually us faking ourselves out that we are being productive. It is a means to a disappointing end! Well today, I want to help you avoid those disappointments by showing you how to be more productive with 20 easy tips!
How To Be More Productive with 20 Tips
Catch Yourself Being “Busy”
First things first, the biggest way to change being productive and not just “busy” is to catch yourself when you are being busy and not productive. Don’t judge yourself for doing so, simply recognize it and in the moment, direct your energy towards doing something that is more productive. The more we catch these bad habits, the more we are able to consciously change them. Just like any bad habit, it can be replaced by a good habit.
Throw Out Your TV
Or at least cancel your cable plan! Get rid of it. According to the NY Times, the average American watches 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV PER day! Even if you cut this in half and you watch maybe two or two and a half hours of TV per day, imagine what you would do in the form of productivity with those couple extra hours!? You could even start another business and use those hours to grow your business. Trading in brain rotting subliminal garbage for an extra stream of income. Or more time with your kids. Or time you can use to grow and develop, along with of course knocking out that to do list!
First off, you don’t have to throw the TV out. Sell it and get some money and then use that money to buy Netflix to allow yourself to transition from it. According to Time.com, the average cable bill in the USA has surpassed a hundred dollars. So I am trying to help you put a Benjamin back in your pocket my friends. Use that Benjamin to hire a cleaner out your house so you don’t have to do it, saving you even more time to be productive and do productive things!
Understanding How To Truly Form A good Habit
It is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This was made popular by Maxwell Maltz in the book Psychocybernetics, which is an awesome read by the way. But a great article done by Forbes expands on the subject and dispelling the myth and showing you the true process of forming a good habit. It goes into how three stages of creating the habit:
- The Honeymoon Phase – this is the phase usually created by inspiration by an outside source to do so. Called the honeymoon phase, because like in most marriages, the feeling ends quickly.
- The Fight Thru – This is where the real work takes place. Reality sets in and the blinders are taken off. Either you fight through the tough days, or you let it beat you. Forbes encourages you to use emotion heavily during this phase. Questions like “What will I feel like if I do this” and “What will I feel like if I don’t?”. Provoking the emotions that come from these questions will allow you to feel the victory of pushing through, or the negative emotions that you will feel if you don’t push through.
- Second Nature – Once we reach the days where we feel like we are hitting our stride or getting into a grove. We our incorporating our new good habit in a subconscious nature. We don’t have to be so deliberate in forcing ourselves to do it.
Now this can be done fast or slow, but at the end of the day, Forbes says that good habits are formed day in and day out. There is no escaping that reality. You can’t just do something for 21 days and then set it on autopilot. The more you do it, the less effort will be needed, but there will always be effort. Accepting this fact will put you in a different realm then most people who try to create new habits but don’t want to work hard at them.
Start Saying No More
When it comes down to it, we are all people pleaser’s in some way, shape or form. It could be with literally everyone and everything, or it could be strictly with the people you love and adore. Saying yes too much spreads ourselves to thin. Not only does it stress us the hell out, but it dilutes what we can potentially bring to situations. Instead of bringing your best self by saying yes to what matters, we say yes to too much and end up not bringing our total package.
This is often times felt by the people you guiltily say yes to.
Set Your Intentions For Encounters
Before going into anything in life, you can get the most out of it by asking what your intentions. Set your intention for what you want to get and when you get it then move onto whats next. A lot of times we will go into scenarios like meetings or personal encounters just for the sake of doing so. We don’t have a template to follow for how what we want to get out of it and what we want the other person to get out of it.
Setting intentions for encounters will allow you to use your time wisely as well as build better relationships. It will also allow you let the other person feel like you are respecting their time as well. You can even ask the person(s) you are meeting with what their intentions are as well. By allowing both parties to share their intentions, you can see eye to eye right away.
Break Huge Projects Into Pieces
When you put something on your to do list that happens to scare the hell out of you, break it up into manageable chunks. Break them into 3 or 4 mini goals that will allow you to see the project as less intimidating. Also set your huge to do’s during a time where you feel like you will be more productive. Usually this is in the morning for a lot of people, but it may not for you. Find the ideal time and get to work during that time!
Number Your Goals
This is an incredibly simple way to boost your productivity. Create a list of what you want to get done during the day. Number goals goals with either 1, 2 or 3.
- You #1 goals are goals that need to be done and the ones you choose to do FIRST.
- Your #2 goals need to get done but has less of a urgency or need to get done first. These you knock out after you have checked of your #1 goals.
- Your #3 goals are ones that you complete if you have time, if not they can be moved to the next day. Only do these when the #1 and #2 goals are completely done.
Doing this will allow you to really see what is important to you and show you what you need to take action on. It will also feel great to check things off of your list. I came across a cool article on how checking off tasks actually increases your dopamine levels, giving your the motivation to keep completing your goals. It also gives us the type of motivation to continue to repeat the same or similar actions that created the release in dopamine.
Procrastinate More Efficiently
Everyone procrastinates, even rich and successful people. But successful procrastinators know how to do it a lot better and that will suit them for a productive day from it. If you are getting bored or frustrated with a project, simply move on to something else on you to do list. Maybe your mind doesn’t need a break, it just needs a break from the thing you are working on. Come back to it later after you have procrastinated by completing an easier task.
Use Your Car as a University on Wheels
The average commute time is said to be around 25 minutes one way. This means that you have near an hour of time you can use to be productive. No matter who near or far your commute is, you have a gap of time that if used wisely, can bring you some awesome personal development time. You can listen to tapes that can help make you better in your field or even just positive audios that will allow you to be in a better and more upbeat mood.
Ditch the radio and pop in some content that will further your life and possibly give you new skills to create more income or ask for that raise.
Knocking out a couple of simple tasks right off the bat can really help you get your day going on a positive note and help you accomplish other more meaningful goals. A great quote from the Navy Seal Bill McCraven will show you how this habit can help you in a big way:
“If you make you bed in the morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another talks and another and another.”
Feel The Fear and Do It Anyways
This is a tip I got from an awesome book with the same title. A lot of times we avoid the things we need to get done during the day because of fear. This book encourage you to feel the fear, acknowledge it, but don’t let the feeling detour you from accomplishing the goal.
The only way to get rid of fear is by doing the thing you fear most. It is so important to do it right away because the more you let the fear build up, the more intimidating and scary your feared task becomes.
Also remember fear is only created in your mind. Also remember this quote when faced with doing things you fear:
“We suffer more in imagination than reality” – Seneca
This is essentially saying that we role play scenarios in our mind about what we think could or is going to happen. When the fact is that little if any of these scenarios will ever come true. Which you will see to be true when you knock out the task you most fear.
Save Social Media For After Lunch
Instead of waking up right away to check your Instagram feed, allow yourself that time to start getting things done. Your most productive hours are in the morning, where you are most fresh. Use that time to get a jump on the day without the distraction of whats going on in your friends and families lives. Once lunch comes around, give it a check.
Be The Person Who Has To “Get Back to Work”
I listened to an awesome audio by the legendary motivational speaker Bryan Tracy. He talked about the office environment and how everyone simply just wants to talk. They want to avoid actually getting to work but act like they are working by talking to you, about everything! They create an illusion that they have worked all day but this isn’t the truth.
By being the person that tells these people, “I would love to chat, but I have to get back to work”, you set the standard after a while that you are here work and people will finally leave you the hell alone!
This is also the case for those who go to the gym. Say the same thing! “Hey I would love to chat, but I have to get my sets in and get going!”. People will leave you alone and then you can put back in your headphones for good. Which I suggest you have some positive audio playing on them when you work out. This will create good subconscious thoughts and habits!
For those of you interested in learning more from Brian Tracy, here is a great video on 7 Habits That Kill Your Productivity by the man himself:
No Email For The First Hour
Take the above tip a step further and do not check your email until at least an hour after you wake up. You will avoid having to look at all the requests and unanticipated scenarios and interuptions until you have got some stuff done in the morning. Your mind will be more lively and alert to do so, allowing these disruptions in the from of an email to not ruin the start to your day.
A great post about this subject talks about how we can resort to checking our email because of lack of direction. Because we don’t know what we should be doing so it’s a cop out, allowing us to feel productive. It talks about how you should keep it a low priority by seeing it as that. While seeing other things you need to do as higher priorities.
Refraining from checking your email will also make it known to the people that do email you that they aren’t going to get a response on their time. They are going to get one on YOUR time. Allowing you to be in the drivers seat of your day, especially when you do go to answer those emails. You will be on your time and won’t be shooting from the hip because your in reaction mode. Allowing you to provide better and more thoughtful responses.
De-clutter Your Work Space
We all have things on our desk that are either out of place, or worse don’t need to be thechcre at all. Trash the things that don’t need to be there and organize the rest. Only keep things on there that will keep you motivated. Family pictures and motivational quotes and the bare necessities.
Keep the desk organized the same way each day. This way you always know what your work space is going to look like, instead of getting distracted when something is out of place.
There are so many email lists that we end up on. At the time they seemed useful to be on and provided some value to use, but 80 percent of these subscriptions do us no good anymore. When an email comes in from someone who you don’t need help from anymore, click the unsubscribe button down at the bottom. You will never see from them again, unless you want to! This can free up space for emails that actually matter. Allowing you to act upon what matters right away instead of navigating through ones that don’t matter.
There are awesome sites, like Fiverr.com for instance, where you can have people do tasks for you that start at only $5 a pop. Look at it this way, if you figure your time is worth to you $30 an hour and you have to pay someone $20 an hour to do a task, not only are you profiting $10, you saving yourself time to be more productive with those hours you would have lost doing something that you could have outsourced and most likely didn’t want to do in the first place.
Plan Your Next Day The Night Before
This only takes five minutes for you to do. It will allow you to wake up in the morning with a guide to a successful and productive day. Instead of waking up wanting to have a productive day but being vague at how it is going to happen.
Have a journal near your bed. Write out your intentions for the next day, read it over a couple times and then hit the lights! By looking at it before you go to bed, when the mind is most impressionable, you will allow yourself the night for your brain to come up with solutions for the problems you need to solve the next day.
Take A Nap!
Look, we all remember how awesome nap time was back in Pre-school. Well you can ingrain this habit into your adult life and reap huge benefits from it. According to an awesome post by BigThink.com, taking a nap can bring you benefits that aren’t available to non-nappers such as:
- Two times more likely to be able to solve complex obstacles and problems.
- Increased ability in short term memory and
- Enhanced mood and alertness throughout the day
- Even lower your chances for getting heart disease and avoiding car accidents!
They suggest you never pass the 20 minute threshold with a nap as it will create what they refer to as sleep inertia. In essence if you go past 20 minutes, you will feel like you feel when you wake up, starting your day again at 2PM.
Get familiar with your day and try and plan you naps around when you are started to fade. Instead of reaching for a cup of joe to pull you through, create a 15-20 minute alarm on your phone and snooze out. Wake up and get back to work feeling more clear and productive!
Turn off Phone Notifications
Turn off as many notification settings as you can. There is nothing worse than when you are in the zone, crushing your way through your day and get distracted by an email telling you about the best online coupon codes for dress shoes.
You may not know how to do this, well my friends at howtogeek.com can lend a helping hand by showing you exactly how the process is done. When you are done with this short but solid read, you will be well on your way to a notification free day!
Thanks For Reading! What Do You Think?
So there you have it friends, 20 ways on how to be more productive and not just busy! Implementing these methods will allow you to get more done in a day than most people get done in days or even a week! You will soon be so much more productive that life will feel a lot easier and fun, creating a less stressed you. Which in turn will create an attitude that is ready to take on the day!
I wold love to hear your feedback on the article as well as if you have anything to add to it that has helped you be more productive. Hit me up in the comment section below!