How to Increase Productivity

You stop growing the moment you start getting complacent.

AF

People find happiness in different things. And happiness is always subject to change. You might find happiness in an ice lolly at 5, and discover the same joy at 25 when you manage to get the chicken potpie just right. Personally, I am at a phase in life where I feel happiest when I’m at my productive best. I feel good about being in my skin when I’m crossing things off my to-do lists, and squeezing the most out of every second I have.

This does not mean you shouldn’t cut loose and relax every so often. But I find that the more productive I manage to be in my designated work hours, the more I enjoy my time off.

Sure, we all come up with schedules and charts and to-do lists, but how consistently do we follow them? Either of two things happen: you get tired of trying to stick to an overreaching schedule or you strike gold and manage to incorporate new habits into your old routine.

And these are some pointers that help me maintain a somewhat dignified productivity graph.

“Constant Vigilance!”

Mad-eyes’s famous way of saying “never let your guard down” can be applied to increase our productivity too. Yes, Harry Potter is still giving me life lessons (happy sigh).

Be vigilant about your goals and where you stand with regards to them. Evaluate yourself on a regular basis in order to understand just how well you are faring. How well are you doing in the various aspects of your life?

Are you taking care of your body, treating it right? If yes, you’ve got a great thing going.

Are you meeting deadlines at work? If yes, good. Keep at it.

Are you happy with your life? If so, enjoy it, you earned it.

Are you feeling comfortable with your routine? If you are, it’s time you get out of it!

When you’re comfortable with your routine, that’s when you stop moving forward.

It’s easy to get caught up in the million and one routine things in our everyday lives and forget to take a moment to see where we are at. I’d recommend a few minutes of self evaluation before bed every night, but a slightly prolonged weekly one-on-one with yourself will work just as fine.

Innovate your schedule:

Doing the same things day in and day out can be tedious.

And repetitive.

And monotonous.

And boring.

Not to mention dull. Get my point?

Routines will not really help you stay focused for long unless you’ve got military blood coursing through your veins. One fix that works for me is mixing it up.

I feel that goals on a flexible schedule are more attainable in the long run. I don’t have one of those intensive schedules that tell me the exactly when to breathe or counts down my showers to the last second. But I do have a list of things that must be done by the end of the day or the end of the week, and I make sure they get done on time.

So sometimes I do my squats while brushing. Or catch up on my reading while making dinner. Or burn those extra calories while bringing on the latest episodes of my favourite Netflix series.

As long as things get done, and done on time.

When motivated, don’t overreach:

It’s a brand new day. You listened to a particularly inspiring podcast instead of your usual song list, or accidentally stumbled across a really motivating TED talk, or that persuasive friend of yours finally managed to rope you into trying out some new trend she came across. Either way, you’re ready to try new things and take life by the horns!

You list out the exciting possibilities you can conquer with your newfound enthusiasm: master the guitar in a few classes, increase your flexibility through yoga to rival that of Mr. Jaspreet Singh Kalra in five weeks, read Anna Karenina in the original Russian within a month, learn to do a split in a week, or even finish five online courses in 2 months.

These are all ideas that found their way into my overreaching lists at one point of my life or another, only to die sad, slow deaths within weeks of their inceptions. You cannot achieve much on unrealistic timelines. And a lack of immediate results leads to frustration which turns into disinterest, which in turn kills the brilliant changes you want to introduce to your life.

Needless to say, keep it practical.

Learn new things.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Cliche? Yes. Fact? Also, yes.

Learn a new language, try whipping up a new cuisine, take up salsa dancing. In fact, I’d recommend making a list of every activity you have ever wanted to try but could never find the time for, and then add a few more.

You are not Ross on a New Year Resolution high, so you may not be able to do something new everyday. And you’ll also come to realize that a lot of things on that list won’t be the right fit for you. But you will eventually find something that adds more value to your life.

Perseverance:

And finally, stick it out.

There are no short cuts when it comes to dynamic personal development. You have to put in the time if you want to see considerable results that improve continuously.

And there’s of course this little thing called ‘reading’ that can really take you places, but that’s a whole other post in the making!

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