Do you know that you can actually become more productive in your business by being less productive? While this might sound counter-intuitive to you right now, by the end of the article. And by the way, by being less productive, I don’t mean being lazy; that’s the catch.
You can be more productive if you know how to manage your time very well and have some rest when it’s the right time. We often fall into some bad patterns of behavior that make it seem as if we spent a lot of time working while accomplishing less or even nothing. Sometimes, you feel like you’re running out of time.
The best way to be more productive is by knowing when to be productive and when to take a rest. You’ll actually end up being more productive because you learn how to manage your energy and attention, which will leave you with more leisure time.
Let’s find out how you can accomplish that.
- Don’t Think You Can Multi-Task
Unless you have two brains (four hemispheres) and extra limbs, I don’t believe anyone who says they can multitask. And if you tell me “I saw this guy on YouTube who plays drums, guitar, and harmonica at the same time, isn’t that multitasking,” I will tell you he’s only doing one task, which is playing music.
The kind of multi-tasking I’m talking about is when you believe that you can stare at your smartphone and do work at the same time; that’s impossible. You can only focus on a very limited amount of tasks. So, it’s better if you focus on one thing at a time.
- Stay Away from Distractions
If your mind is only occupied with the notifications on your phone, you’ll find it very difficult to focus on work, especially if what you need to do requires a lot of cognition. There’s a “no disturb” mode on the phone for a good reason. And if anything else in your surrounding distracts you, you should find a solution to it.
Also, you can’t do work if your friends and coworkers only care about hanging out. Maybe your friend/coworker has a less workload than you, which is why they want to hang out. Well, not you! You still have many things to do. So, gracefully tell your friend that she/he is a distraction without hurting their feelings, and get back to your work.
- Set Measurable and Reasonable Goals
Your goals should be measurable and reasonable. Another thing, your goals should be specific. It usually helps a lot to write your goals on a piece of paper or a note.
When you have a clear idea of what you have to do and how long it usually takes you to do so, you start acting more reasonably, which motivates you to be more reasonable in your goals.
- And Take a Short Break Quite Often
Many people like to work for short bursts of productivity and short breaks in between. It’s like when you’re at the gym and performing an intense workout and need time to recover.
When you’re working on your computer, you can divide your work into small chunks that you can do in an hour or less. After every hour take a 10-minute break to do something you enjoy.
What I usually do is play some flash games online (I grew up in the 2000s when flash games were something every kid loved). This might sound weird to you, but my favorite game (actually my second favorite) is Magnificient Towers.
You just stack floors upon floors and see how accurate you can get with the mouse. The more accurate you are, the more magnificent your tower is. I’m very passionate about this game because it never fails to delight my short breaks.
My favorite game is Ocarina of Time, but that’s a different story. It’s not the kind of game you just play to kill time.
- Have Reasonable Expectations
Sometimes, the reason we end up being less productive and feeling bad about it is that we set our expectations high. You can’t accomplish the work that usually takes two days in one day, especially if you’re tired. What might happen is that you’ll feel disappointed because you’re too far away from what you expected yourself to be capable of achieving.
To put it shortly, it’s not a good spiral to get caught in. If your expectations are never met, maybe it’s time to lower them and start from there. Set reasonable expectations, and if you feel like you can manage to do more, God bless!
- Don’t Trick Yourself
If you’re like me, you must have a tricky mind, and you’ll relate to this very well. Have you ever felt like you’ve been working and doing something while realizing later that nothing actually that’s worth it has been done? You’ve managed somehow to make yourself believe that you’ve been productive while you’ve actually done nothing.
Talking about growing your business and coming up with brilliant ideas (that you don’t record or remember later) isn’t working. There’s the map, and there’s the territory; you can’t explore the map; it’s just a piece of paper. The map is only there to show you how to navigate the territory.
And navigating the territory requires doing the actual micro-tasks that you need to do.
- Treat Yourself
Treating yourself to something you enjoy is a good incentive. I’m not suggesting you condition yourself like a behavioral scientist. What I’m suggesting is that having a treat that you feel like you deserve from time to time, even if it means stopping work to get it, can actually make you more productive when you return to work.
This can be anything that you enjoy. Personally, I like to go to a spa as often as possible to relax my tense muscles. I feel highly motivated after doing so, which makes me more eager and efficient at my job.
Well, as always, I hope this article was helpful to you. I’m sure it doesn’t apply to all jobs, but you can certainly learn something valuable above.
Let me know if any of these tips made you more productive by actually being less productive and managing your time more cleverly.