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To Increase Your Productivity, Avoid These 3 Things

by Lena Simons about a year ago in how to
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#3 You’re ignoring the core problem.

Samson Katt from Pexels

We spend a lot of time fighting with ourselves. To do more, do better, work more, work harder, you name it. We’ve all looked up “How to be successful” or “How to be more productive” type content online. I know I have.

I’ve been told all the same shtick over and over. Pick yourself up, form habits, stop being lazy. The word lazy is as much a buzzword online as productivity. We’re either being told we’re lazy as a personal failing or we’re lazy as a result of the world around us. Either it’s all our fault, not at all.

It’s both. The outcome of our lives is an uneven, constant mix. Most things are a combination of nature and nurture. The last year and a half have done a number on my productivity. Being productive is so heavily tied to our environments and habits, which have been so heavily disrupted. Our homes, once dedicated to relaxation, have now become our everything spaces. Our workspace, exercise space and socializing space.

A shift in our habits and understanding of productivity helps tackle the missing pieces to staying productive.

1. Stop creating grandiose goals.

There’s nothing that stops me in my tracks like pressure. It ignites the same reactions as sudden fear: either fight, flight or freeze. And the pressure and fear that comes with trying to hit huge goals can cause us to freeze.

We all have a tendency to jump in the deep end with something new. It’s exciting to be excited. But it’s easy to overcook it. People jump into writing online with the massive goal of making a full-time income. Or jump into fitness to lose a hundred pounds. Or Jump into YouTube to hit a million subscribers.

Instead of making year-long (or longer) plans, we give ourselves short time frames on huge plans. And without any immediate gratification, we get discouraged and quit. Or convince ourselves it isn’t worth the energy.

When it comes to creating a goal, make it small. Create a goal and then chop it in half. Maybe even start without one. If you’d like to get into fitness, start with one workout. If you want to create content online, make an account on whatever website you’d like to pursue. Make small, manageable, sustainable checkmarks for yourself. When you accomplish them, you’ll feel good, and be more likely to hop back on the train tomorrow.

2. Not taking the proper amount of rest.

Resting periods are necessary. They’re a part of the productivity process. Inadequate rest and exhaustion are large contributors to burn out. There’s no way to continue working, or even begin working without being rested. Your body and brain can’t run on 0%. Our productivity often suffers because we’ve simply no given our bodies enough time to recuperate. It’s crucial to take breaks.

But resting properly also means not resting too much. Remaining productive, whatever that means to you, it takes some measure of consistency. You need to create schedules/systems and stick to them. Over-resting is as detrimental to your productivity as under-resting. Too much rest decreases your energy levels.

As the monkey from BoJack Horseman said, “Every day it gets a little easier. But you got to do it every day, that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”

3. Ignoring the core problem.

Sometimes, we blame ourselves for issues that aren’t our fault. A friend of mine recently discovered she was anemic. As many women are. She’d long been very down on herself for always being “lazy” and never wanting to do anything. Her energy was always low. I’d suggested she get a blood test. If your problems follow you around enough, it may be a symptom of a larger issue.

Many people have discovered in adulthood that they had depression, learning disabilities, ADHD and other untreated illnesses. Many of the issues you have with your productivity, focus and discipline could be an undiagnosed condition.

Pay attention to your body and patterns of behaviour. If there’s an ever-present symptom in your life stopping you from doing things, get help to identify what it is — or REALLY is.

Productivity is about creating systems rather than goals. It’s about listening to ourselves, not fighting with ourselves. The goal of increasing productivity should not be arbitrary, but rather about adding value to yourself and your life.

To stay on top of your productivity:

1. Create achievable, bite-sized goals.

2. Manage your rest.

3. Investigate if there are any larger issues at play.

It’s not always about motivational Instagram posts, getting daily reminders, planners, or inspirational videos and articles. Be more forgiving, step back from your goals and take a big picture perspective. Sometimes it’s just about scaling back and slowing down.

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About the author

Lena Simons

I need lots of external validation to keep myself going each day.

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