– Personal productivity tips

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”

– Zig Ziglar

This time we’ll discuss the ever-constant problem of time-management.

There are a lot of important questions about this topic:

  • How to plan your time efficiently and stick to the plan? How to include both important tasks and the relaxation time?
  • How to organize your tasks so you get more things done?
  • Are there genuinely useful tools/techniques? How useful are the “Pomodoro method”, calendars, bullet journals, etc.?
  • How to stop procrastinating!? I.e. Postponing work and wasting your time on meaningless stuff.

A ton of articles have already been written on the subjects above and they are all at your finger-tips. So, instead, what I will do is focus on something different.

My counter-intuitive advice is: In order to be more productive, DO FEWER THINGS.

I can already hear: “What do you mean do fewer things? The reason I came here is that I want to learn how to do more things in a shorter amount of time (i.e. more effectively).”

One common reason we don’t have the time to take a walk, relax, enjoy nature and recharge is that you spent those 20 minutes watching the latest episode of something on YouTube, checked those posts on Instagram, or simply got lost on the Facebook wall… or any other time-draining activity that has little to no return.

It doesn’t matter if I will give you the best tools to organize yourself, and techniques on how to increase your output, if the self-control is not there it won’t make a big difference. Being true to yourself and asking “Am I using technology right now to serve my purposes, or is technology in control and I’m simply hooked?”

And I know from personal experience this is tough to do – these tech people are experts at what they do. They make a living from having us hooked on their content when we should be focused on work instead. Internet addiction is simply a reality and an increasing trend that we must accept and deal with.

Procrastinate on procrastination… use that skill 🙂

So I turned the whole thing around and developed the following trick: I now procrastinate on the things that would make me procrastinate. So if I see an interesting video on YouTube I add it to my “Watch later” playlist, and then I almost never end up watching it. Why? Because it wasn’t really important. It was just an impulsive desire. A way to avoid work, or cope with stress, or simply avoid any undesirable situation or feeling.

It actually requires a degree of selfishness and self-care on your part to take the time needed to complete your important tasks and then allow for relaxation time for yourself.

Oh… You did not watch the latest video, you didn’t watch that new series and can’t really contribute to the conversation, you didn’t check all your Facebook friends’ last post. Or anything else.

The sun is still going to rise in the morning

Trust me, the world is not going to end or burn. A friend of mine has a saying: “No matter what happens, the sun is still going to rise in the morning”. It’s her positive way of saying: Things can wait. That content is still going to be online for a long time, so just postpone or procrastinate on that. If it’s important it will pop-up again.

The important thing is that you’ve used the time given to complete the FEW and IMPORTANT tasks or activities, and then allow yourself some time to undertake an activity that makes you happy and relax. Give yourself that gift. And at the same time, you’ll feel proud for doing the best you could within the constraints you had – and that’ll provide you peace of mind.

Next, we can talk about how to plan your time, tools that facilitate the process, and a bunch of techniques that genuinely work… but that can only be done once you have the basics in place.

Time management is tricky because it uncovers other aspects – such as your personal identity, purpose and direction (or lack thereof), ability to concentrate, self-control, addictions, lack of balance, etc.

But that’s the beautiful thing: that one “simple” undertaking can project us on the road to self-improvement and mastery.

Now get out there, screw everything else for today and do something that matters! 😉

Have you come upon anything useful in this article? Be honest.

What else do you usually do to stay productive?

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Leonard Burcă

Logo Leonard Burca

P.S. Until my next article, I suggest the simple but efficient tricks in the following article:

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