“It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Busy is already a given in our twenty-first century stampede. Busyness has multiplied by all kinds of parallel realities. It used to be just made of flesh. Now it is also virtual. The quality of your busyness, that’s what we’re interested in now.
Meet Lady Productivity, our century’s muse. (It should be Imagination, or Creativity, but no, we have things to do).
How do you assess your productivity? Do you make long to-do lists and then get a momentary high when you check off the items? Or an anxiety attack when your day is over and you’re not even half-way through your list? (Guilty).
Contrary to what we tend to believe and try, productivity can’t be increased only by willpower, ability, or the amount of time we spend on a project. It’s not about how much you do, it’s about how you do it.
Optimal productivity boils down to a healthy balance between work and play, activity and rest. The most productive people are also the healthiest, and this is largely in part because of incorporating these opposites of work and play in their daily practice.
The brilliant creators at AsapSCIENCE, try to decode productivity in this animated science bite:
Review, Rewind, Remember…
Tips to boost your productivity:
1. Get started (Now).
2. Practice deliberately. Focus your energy in packets, alternating between periods of intense work and breaks. “Studies have found that the most elite violinists in the world generally follow a 90-minute work regime with a 15 to 20 minute break afterwards. Instead of trying to maintain energy throughout the day, breaking it down into sessions with play and relaxation is most effective.”
3. Don’t rely on willpower. Rely on habit and discipline. Build on them day after day after day, whether your willpower is there or not.
4. Give yourself a deadline for each project.
5. Create an Accountability Chart to document your progress. In it, evaluate your work according to the task and overall time spent on it.
6. Stop multi-tasking. I challenge you to close the other 99 windows open in your browser and focus on the one you’re reading (or pretending to).
7. Make an action plan. As Leo Babutta put it, “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”
8. Split up your bigger projects into small bite-sized ones.
What works for you?
What’s the first step?
Take it now?
More creative, compact curiosity by AsapSCIENCE:
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