Productivity needs momentum. When momentum is on your side, getting things done is a breeze. When momentum is not on your side, the simplest of task feels like a Herculean task.
When things are flowing, we don’t even think about what do we need to do next. Things happen as if on their own. It feels nice and good. We get a lot of work done – be it personal or professional.
Suddenly one day, we decide to do something different, because of … and, you face – falling out of routine, a massive struggle to get things done and are left with sweet memories of that phase where all was taking place easily.
Why does productivity fall?
What makes one fall off the good wagon? I was reflecting on this and the following possibilities came up:
- You were doing good but pushed yourself beyond your limits to become not better but best.
- You were doing good, started questioning the goodness and became uncomfortable with your success.
- You just wanted to see if there is something else that’s “easier” to do to get the same work done.
- You thought of accelerating a process beyond the limits of the process till the process broke down.
- You started adding too many terms and conditions in the name of improvising a process that was working for you and the process broke down.
- You gave into a temptation that you recognized was bad for your productivity.
- There were external emergencies beyond your control that forced brakes on your momentum.
Leaving the last point aside, it looks like greed & lack of trust in self and process makes us fall off the productivity wagon.
Productivity is not a switch on – switch off thing. It’s a state of flow.
What we essentially need to do is get into momentum and then productivity starts flowing. Boosting productivity is rooted in getting into a state of flow.
Here are 5 things you can do to boost productivity:
1. Have 3 hours of Total Focus – No interruptions!
The tight bubble of focus Robin Sharma calls it. This is one of the finest practices to get into the zone. It’s like in test cricket – occupancy at the crease is important for the form to return. Sit at your desk with your task at hand and keep that phone on silent. Watch the magic of no distractions! If three hours is feeling daunting, start with one hour of a tight bubble of focus.
2. Plan your work as per your energy and NOT time:
One of the key mistakes most make in planning work is that they plan to work as per time and not energy. While planning tasks, take into account the physical and mental energy required for a task. I keep the low mental energy tasks towards the end of the day and high mental energy tasks at the start of the day. My mental & physical energy drops a bit in the afternoon, so I keep tasks that are easy to execute – documentation time!
3. 15 min Walk post-lunch:
This small time window is the most non-negotiable task of the day for me. This helps me take a stalk of the day and allows me to restart if the day has been a bit rough. I listen to my favourite song or a small podcast episode. This one habit has made the key difference in keeping the productive flow.
4. Schedule time for mundane tasks:
This is a game-changer when it comes to managing time. Usually, the mundane tasks are used as filler activities – when you have some time in between you will do it. Most often they are pushed back to the end of the day only to be postponed to tomorrow. Mundane tasks, by definition, are tasks that you don’t enjoy so no point waiting for the motivation to kindle in your heart. Mundane tasks are best tackled with discipline. Set aside some time daily and get maximum done. You have to decide what’s mundane for you. Then take into account the physical and mental energy required for you to complete the same. Schedule a slot for these uninspiring but more often than not important tasks. Get them done in that allotted slot.
5. Start your day in a relaxed way:
When you start in a relaxed way, you stop chasing relaxation. When you stop chasing relaxation, you become more relaxed. Sounds like I am going in circles, but if you just read the sentences a bit slowly, they will make a lot of sense. When you have filled your mind, body and soul with relaxation at the top, you give yourself access to an energy reservoir that you can use throughout the day. Don’t waste your good energy on information that triggers negative emotions in you. Sanity first!
Hope this article, helps you get back into a productive zone.
Do share your thoughts.