Although technology seems to have made us much more productive, it still depends on the user. There’s a saying technology is as good as the user. A state of the art technology will be useless if you are not managing yourself well.
You can find thousand of tips online about being super productive. Most of these tips attempt to shift you from external. What I feel is that the external strategies wouldn’t work if you don’t take care of your internal strength.
I consolidate 5 ways to be super productive to build your internal strength then extend to external strategies
Focus on Big Picture to Get Yourself Excited
Do not underestimate this powerful way to be super productive. You may look at it and think that this is just what any motivational speaker would mention in their motivational talk. Some of the points that a motivational speaker mentions has certain truth to it, and this is one of them.
Because I just gone through a similar experience lately. Year 2014 is a year of doing-ness for me. I lost track of myself in the mist of all the busy-ness. From the month of July till October, I was tired, lack of motivation and losing focus easily.
I have to stop everything that I was doing, recalibrate myself and focus on my big picture. Only when I start focusing on the bigger vision, I start to feel excited again. I can feel my blood boiling again. I start to write ferociously.
When you are excited, your will power and energy becomes so focus that you actually get more things done in a short period of time.
Recall when was the last time you got very excited on a project that you invest boundless energy and time into completing it. Some say that this is “in the zone”. Remember that feeling?
Focus on the big picture so much so that you become so excited, and you can’t wait to get into action immediately.
Whatever you are thinking of must fill your blood with adrenalin. Rest assured that productivity is no longer an issue when you are all hyped up by your own thoughts.
What are the dreams that get you hyped up? What is the kind of life that get you excited? What is the project that sends adrenalin to your vein?
What Will You Lose?
The fear of losing something precious to you can become a strong driving force. Those who are in sales career will understand this. The last two months of the year are usually the most productive months if their extra commissions or titles are at stake.
You will strive harder to protect the things that you have already possess. Entrepreneurs work extremely hard to protect their ideas. Business owners push themselves to protect their business empire. Celebrities work hard to protect their fame.
The things that you lose may not necessarily be material possession. Internal possession may be things that you can lose too. Fame, reputation, power are some of the internal possessions that people hold dearly, and may do many ugly things to protect it.
However, this method is a double-edged sword. Overly relying on this method is the surest way to burn up all your fuel. You are focusing of not losing instead of winning more. Which is more empowering – protecting or creating?
In a soccer game, a creating team is much more exciting and positive to watch. A defensive team is just being reactive to the opponent’s play, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake.
This method can be tiring, and I suggest that you use this method as and when. Do not make it your default mode.
Looking For Pleasure
When you are having fun, you are at your most productive. So find ways to include fun into your tasks, you will have unexpected result.
I cannot imagine a grumpy and whining figure reaching optimal productivity level. Whining carries a negative energy that can weigh you down. How could you even move fast when you are being shackled by a ton of boulder?
Inject fun into your work, tasks, projects etc. Break away from the “work must be serious” belief. Work can be of both professional and fun. One of my ways to inject fun is to sway along with my favourite music, and at the same time produce an excellent piece of work.
If it is not possible to make your work fun, alternatively, you can plan to place the fun elements at the end of the project. For example you can plan for a trip to a theme park after you complete the project.
The above methods are to build your internal strength. Now let’s move onto external ways of becoming super productive.
A Strong Structure
Setting up a structure strong enough to shift your behaviour, so as to become more productive. For example, my energy level is at its lowest right after lunch. So I create structure around after lunch. I plan most of my meetings after lunch, with people and energy around, I can overcome the Zzzz monster.
There are times when we resist the very structure that we created. Think about the time-table, the tasks list that you created. Did you even follow 70% of what you have planned?
If human being can follow our plans closely, we would have achieved all our goals.
Our mind tend to resist change unless the structure is strong enough to withstand the resistance.
Let’s say you like to be fully productive from 10:00am – 12:00noon. The challenge for you is that you can get easily distracted. Find out what is causing the distraction.
If your distraction is surfing Facebook, the structure can be log out from Facebook, disconnect from Wifi, off your Wireless etc. Basically just make it very difficult to get on Facebook.
The concept is very simple. Create a structure to counter the distraction that is stopping you to be productive.
Another example that I like to share with you. Remember I mentioned about my low energy after lunch time. Let’s say one of the day, I do not have any meeting, so this “arranging appointments after lunch” structure doesn’t work.
So I allow myself to nap for 20 minutes. Research shows that power nap can improves productivity. The challenge is I may not be able to wake up at 20 minutes. To counter this resistance, I create a structure of 3 alarms clock. With 3 alarm clocks, my resistance is broken. So far this is working for me.
Just One More
I love this method the most. This method is similar to step by step method which you may have heard it. The difference is instead of step by step, tell your mind, “just one more”. When you completed your task, tell yourself, complete one more. If you measure your productivity by time, tell yourself, just one more minute, ten more minutes or 30 more minutes.
Everything can be “just one more”. When I am in a non-writing mood, it can be a frustrating. I have to keep telling myself, just one more paragraph. And that’s how I complete a post in a non-writing mood.
Using this method, you are always able to push a little bit further, be a little be more productive. I love it because it doesn’t use too much energy to do a little bit more, and you are slightly pushing the boundaries.
So here are the 5 ways of being super productive. Apply them according to your needs, practice them for 7-days, and see the difference for yourself.