One way to become more productive is to adjust your habits to support you in accomplishing what you want.
Our lives and our results are the accumulation of our habits. To make changes that will last, we have to review what we’re doing, what’s working or not working.
Once we have that awareness, we can take relevant actions to identify and form habits that will help us.
As our habits are like deep roots, changing them can be challenging. We often experience resistance which plays out as excuses, justifications or stories we tell ourselves why changing something is not the best idea or won’t work for us.
How Habits Work
Before we adjust our habits, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of how habits work. We can break habits down into these stages:
As we know more about what’s happening at each stage, we’ll notice what’s happening when we’re going through the process of adjusting our habits.
As we’re living such busy lives, having the ability to cope with overwhelm, without losing focus, is a distinct advantage.
It doesn’t take much for us to start feeling overwhelmed because we have to deal with many things in our personal and professional lives.
Things That Can Cause Overwhelm
Whenever we feel overwhelmed, it means certain things are happening or playing out for us. Some of these include:
- Lack of clarity on what’s most important now.
- No clear criteria for managing priorities.
- Having more things to do than we have time available to do them.
- Not having the confidence or competence to do something.
- Failing to set boundaries with others.
The Costs of Overwhelm
Even though feeling overwhelmed is self-generated, it’s not a pleasant experience to have. The costs of overwhelm include:
- Emotional turmoil which can cause irritability, frustration or anger.
- Failing to meet deadlines.
- Not being able to focus well which can cause poor quality work.
- Having low confidence and motivation to get things done.
- Losing self-trust and trust with others.
Being able to cope with overwhelm means we’ll still complete things without losing focus.
If we want to perform better continuously and achieve more, getting things done before deadlines is a useful habit.
Some people thrive in meeting deadlines. Others may find leaving things until the last minute can be stressful or overwhelming.
It’s important we have a better understanding of which strategy works better for us and continue to improve.
As I’ve continued to become more productive, I’ve found that getting things done before deadlines works better for me. Whenever I leave things right until the end, I find I’m not as effective.
It also affects the quality of my work because it usually isn’t to the standard I’d like it to be.
I once had a colleague who liked to leave things until the last minute because deadlines motivated her. There was a noticeable change in her physiology when she had to complete something by a certain date and time.
Doing less to become more productive sounds appealing, but it also goes against most productivity concepts.
One definition of being productive is the ability to do more, in less time. The more productive we are, the more we should be able to get done.
The challenge with this concept is that it’s highly unlikely we’ll run out of things to do. As we get more things done, there will be more things we’ll want to get done.
The Costs of Always Doing More
Being in a mindset of always doing more to be productive can be costly because:
- We’ll generate more stress because of the pressure to get things done.
- It can affect our health and well-being.
- It can cause us to work more, to the point of becoming a workaholic.
- We won’t have as much time as we’d like for other things in life.
- It will affect our ability to stay focused, which will lead to poor performance and results.
There is a more intelligent way to be more productive, while doing less, and still achieving our outcomes.
A new mindset we need to adopt to be more productive by doing less is, “Less but better.”
As we get started with a new year, it’s normal to want to perform better this year than last year.
One decision we can make to elevate our performance this year is to choose to spend more time with other achievers.
As we become like the people we spend most of our time with, find out why being around other achievers can elevate your performance this year in this post.
Having inspiring and supportive people in our lives will make us better performers. Please revisit this post and find out things you can do to elevate your performance this year.
Question: What is one action you will take that will support you in being a better performer this year?
The idea of taking naps daily is not something that is commonly practiced as part of our normal work day.
There is often a stigma associated to those who take regular naps. They can be perceived as slacking off, being lazy, uncommitted, unmotivated or a low-performing worker.
From the person taking naps perspective, they can feel guilty, especially if they have a lot to get done. If we become aware of the benefits of taking naps, we can decide if it’s something we want to try.
The days I take naps compared to days I don’t, I notice a significant different in my effectiveness, especially mid-afternoon to early evening.
Whenever I can, I’ll try and get a nap in mid-afternoon because that’s when my energy levels tends to drop. My intention is to take a nap daily because I know it helps make me more effective.
When we give more focus to what we want, we increase our chances of reaching the outcomes we want.
To give more focus to something means placing more attention and directing more energy to a specific task or outcome.
Those who can focus better will be able to achieve what they want a lot easier and faster.
Things You Can Expect When You Give More Focus to Your Success
As we give more attention and energy to the success we want, things we can expect include:
- Greater clarity on what actions we need to take.
- Attract resources that will help achieve what we want.
- Increase our level of self-confidence.
- Generate higher levels of motivation.
- Be inspired to set bigger goals.
If we want more success in the future, we have to pay more attention to what we’re doing today.
Having a bedtime routine is necessary if we want to get better quality sleep consistently and be more alert daily.
Whenever our sleep is compromised, it affects our rhythm, mood and how effective we are. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is vital for our productivity, focus and our ability to get things done.
A bedtime routine will help us get the quality of sleep we need each night to be at our best.
The Benefits of a Bedtime Routine
Like any other routine, a bedtime routine will bring consistency to what we do to get ourselves ready for bed. Some of the benefits include:
- We’ll fall asleep quicker.
- We’ll stay asleep longer.
- We’ll have lower levels of stress.
- We’ll be more focused and productive.
- We’ll feel calmer, relaxed and happier.
By paying more attention to the things we do before bed, we can easily create an effective bedtime routine.
Knowing how to be more attentive is critical today if we want to have greater influence and more success.
With more opportunities available now, being able to remove distractions and focus better, is vital if we want more success.
What Does it Mean to Be More Attentive?
We have to first understand what it means to not be attentive. Someone who is not attentive is usually:
- Easily distracted and very scattered.
- Unfocused and has poor concentration.
- Trying to get more done by multitasking.
Therefore, being more attentive would imply the opposite of these things. Someone who is attentive is:
- Goal-oriented or task-focused.
- Able to avoid being distracted, therefore can concentrate well.
- Able to get things done by working on one thing at a time.
The more attentive and alert we are, the less scattered and more focused we’ll be. This means we’ll be giving more energy to what we are doing.
Our daily demands can easily result in us feeling scattered, which can affect our mental and emotional states.
Unless we manage ourselves well, it can have some significant effects, which also could have some long-term implications.
What Does Feeling Scattered Mean?
Feeling scattered is very similar to feeling frazzled, unfocused, distracted and overwhelmed. Whenever we’re feeling scattered, it’s difficult for us to be present or focus on what we’re doing in the moment.
What tends to happen as a consequence of feeling scattered is that we:
- Aren’t as productive as we can be.
- Take longer to get things done.
- Don’t have a healthy attitude.
- Aren’t as happy as we’d like to be.
Reasons For Feeling Scattered
Some of the reasons why we feel scattered includes:
- Having conflicting priorities.
- Not having a plan to follow.
- Lack of clarity on what needs to be done.
- Having more to do than we can cope with.
The better we can deal with the times when we’re feeling scattered, the quicker we’ll be able to refocus. This will allow us to get back to being as productive as we can.