21 Oct The Ultimate Fight
In one corner we have busyness and in the other, we have productivity. It’s a cliché battle indeed, but one that a lot of people seem to struggle to wrap their heads around. Daily.
I think, a lot of the time, it’s hard to differentiate the two. Perhaps the reason for this is that when making our way down both highways, they both can provide us with the feeling and comfort that we’re moving forward, when in fact, we’re just churning through our days.
They both also certainly seem to intertwine with one another and the contrast between them can appear so minimal to begin with, with the outcome at the end (if we do reach it) always displaying the exact opposite.
I’m sure you can agree that our lives seem to be speeding up more and more each day with the weeks melting away like a Bubble O’ Bill on a proper summer’s day.
Friday’s seem to come around faster each week, and other than time travel technology being developed – along with teleporters – we’re just going to have to accept the Earth’s rotation speed.
But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t understand, acknowledge, or recognise when we’re being busy and when we’re being productive, right?
You know yourself that feeling and different level of satisfaction that you get when you’re grinding away on something that will help put you to your next level. Things like studying, writing, reading, planning, breaking down certain steps or working on that product/project/assignment, all can be productivity tasks that leave you in a positive state of being at the end of the day.
Compare that to the overwhelming feeling when performing an overabundance of tasks that fill up your day and leave you exhausted at the end of it. You know what I’m talking about. Things like constantly refreshing your email, checking the book of faces, re-reformatting that document, re-organising your desktop, re-organising your house, running around town looking for a certain item, planning too much on any given day, etc., etc. All of these, can provide you with a much less satisfied feeling.
And certainly, a much different outcome.
Whilst of course this section could entail more steps than what I’ve laid out, here are seven things that I personally find to be some key tips to getting the most out of my day.
- Realise that it’s impossible to get everything done in one day. For me, I cut myself off from the computer at 9:30pm to eat dinner and wind down my brain for sleep. What I don’t/didn’t get done that day just goes to the next one.
- Set real and achievable goals each day in your head, on your phone, or on paper. Focus on the most important ones first, and don’t stress if you keep moving the less important ones to the back-burner.
- Choose to crush the most important things-to-do when you’re at your most alert and the least mundane ones like email filtering, cleaning up documents, editing audio, boring housework, etc., at your least.
- Ask for help from people that are more skilled in certain things than you are. There’s no shame here, and certainly no point in learning every single skill or software in existence.
- Take time to chill out, think, or just switch your brain off all together. Listen to music, read a fiction book, stare at the horizon, call your mum. Know that you don’t have to always be “on” to get things done.
- Use the time you have spare. If you really want to get something done, don’t look at your week as five days on and two days off. Especially on a Sunday, use that time that you may have spare to set yourself up for a better week. Hit the gym, food prep, read, finally make a start on that thing you keep putting off.
- Time yourself. If you’re like me and your brain can’t stay on the one thing for too long, set yourself little time goals. Aim to work super hard on one thing without any distraction for 20-30 minutes or so, and then have a break/move on to another thing.
Understanding and being aware of when you’re being busy and when you’re being productive is the first step. Taking the time to adjust and learn how to stay more towards the latter side of the spectrum, is the next.
But, what are your thoughts?