There is really no secret of productivity except engaging in meaningful work. If you are motivated to complete the work you have set out to do, you will procrastinate less and work faster.
Nevertheless, here are some tips to help you be more productive:
- Don’t do anything you don’t love (beyond normal life obligations) because then you will feel a sense of “not enough time” as you’re not spending it on the right things for you.
- Don’t waste time imagining negative futures or living in idealised pasts because all you will ever have is now, and anything else is a waste.
- Get your priorities straight because then you will easily be able to decide how to spend your time. It’s a fact that you won’t be able to do everything.
- Establish a stable routine which will keep you balanced and reduce emotional stress, therefore making it easier not to waste time on negativity which is draining. Negativity is anything that doesn’t promote your own joy, growth and expansion.
- Honestly get up earlier, it’s easier to get things done in the morning. Who feels like doing anything after a long day at work?
- Don’t make the first thing you do one of obligation, like going to work.
Have at least an hour per day devoted to your favourite activity, such as writing, watching a film, sketching, reading a book. This will set the tone for the whole day, if you start off with wonderful things you will seek wonderful things.
- Reorganise your mind’s schedule to two weeks instead of one – seven days is a fairly arbitrary number and not enough to get through a full cycle of everything you want to do.
- Keep your mind very well organised by prioritising everything you want to do. Make regular life plans, from 6 months to 6 years. You will subconsciously keep adjusting your course with less active effort involved, saving time.
- Don’t try to multitask because this is literally impossible and you end up splintering your attention, reducing your joy in the task. Why do it if it’s not important enough to focus on? Also, you might make a mistake and have to correct it later, wasting time.
- If you still feel like you don’t have enough time, cut out some less essential things. If you want to be a great artist, maybe your home can suffer being a little messier.
- Really take time out. Time has a funny way of stretching when you counterpose periods of activity with periods of repose.
- Make spreadsheets. If it’s making you feel stressed, it’s probably too complex to hold in your mind, so you need to break it down and structure it.
- Meditate regularly. This breaks you out of the hamster wheel of endless conscious thought, and helps you enter a more relaxed state of mind which is more conducive to real productivity (rather than busywork).
- Do a monthly online shop to stop you going to the small supermarkets every day.
- When making to do lists, make sure you write down the concrete steps needed to complete the task. So, rather than “clean room” which is quite abstract, maybe write: hoover, put clothes away, change bedsheets, so you feel a sense of completion when these have been done.
- Put everything that you may not naturally remember to do in your digital calendar – eg Google Calendar. This frees up valuable mental space to focus on other things, and reduces the stress caused when forgetting to do important tasks.
There really is honestly no secret to productivity apart from having what you want to achieve most at the top of your priority list. If you’re willing to devote the time to writing that book, making that video game or drawing that graphic novel, you will. If you always forsake dedication to art and spend your time on other tasks, you will never achieve your goals.
Catherine Heath is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes visual art, Eastern practices, adventures and being in nature.