The definition of productivity can hold various meanings and sometimes be confusing. It usually may imply the ratio between a lot of work and the “best scenario” output.
The truth is “productivity” is more a measurement of focus. It describes certain progress in creating output in a certain period of time.
You see, people usually fail at productivity because they try to do thirty things at once or keep themselves busy with other stuff, which basically has zero priority at that time. They drift away from accountability towards their aimed target, which they could reach if they stayed focused.
Focus driven productivity
Focus generates productivity through a natural drive, which makes you blind and deaf to other things outside. At that moment, you are about to create something. You produce something.
Those moments of being deepened in our thoughts and activities, those are the moments where we are productive. We are focused on that one thing that has our attention at that time.
So, what does that mean for work-life?
How can we be productive at work without missing or losing time, energy or deadlines? We have so much to do throughout the entire workday, how is it possible to not get lost?
You can do anything – only when you stop trying to do everything
One step at a time makes the load of projects easier to do all along the way. For a fact, our brain is cognitively not able to focus on two things simultaneously. When you force yourself to bounce between two or more tasks at the same time – you get everything only half done at the end of the day.
The key to productivity is not doing everything parallel in order to get a big amount of workload done. And the easiest way to do so is to schedule your activities. Block your time. Allow no distractions. Close the door.
You might think now, there is no way to block chunks of time off from meetings, people dropping by the office, a kid at home, pets to feed, calls and emails and so on – for every single task – when you only have a certain number of hours in a day, right?
True! The self-inducted time management with calendar-blocking ONLY works when you are able to prioritize beforehand. You can just do so much. That means you have to calculate timeframes and deadlines for yourself (please, set them before the actual project deadlines!).
Use your selective awareness to your advantage
Let only things accordingly to your actual focus flow into your mind. Blank everything else out. Even if the other projects or tasks are in the back of your mind and give you this uncomfortable feeling of “OK, I need to get that all done now” – lock it in the back of your mind. Keep it there.
One of my mentors, Darren Hardy, talks about a mental method called “Box & Shelf” to keep distractions about other priorities out of your mind. This is how it works: You think of taking a box with the one priority-task out off the shelf and focus only on this one. The other boxes stay on the shelf. When you are done, you box that current task back in, put it back on the shelf and pull another box with your next priority out. Rinse and repeat.
By physically visualizing that Box & Shelf system, I feel the flow of accomplishing one task at a time so much more efficient and productive.
It saves you energy by not getting lost in hundreds of projects at once, and actually not getting any of them done. Furthermore, you will have more time to enjoy your life, since you work structured, energized, with a plan and you are done by your self-set timeframe.
You see, your stress level will drop almost instantly if you try to focus on one step at a time with everything in life. Take the rush out of every task and make it easy for yourself and others – all along the way.
The only thing you always have to have in mind is your dedication to your own goal settings and daily commitments – time is one thing on the list. Keep your own deadlines and timeframes, don’t let your time be controlled by others.
With everything in life, there is no multitasking, there is only one focus in the presence of your vital priorities.
And this means saying no to nine things out of ten if you want to be focused.
>> If you want to know how to implement a personal system for clear focus through priorities for a better work- and life quality – click here to get your advice.