Being productive is not easy, even though you may have read a lot of articles from super-achievers who make it sound like it is. It seems like they leap out of bed on a burst of pure energy to land in their spotless kitchens and fuel up for the day with healthy smoothies while you’re still fumbling for the coffee. The fact is that you don’t have to have superpowers to increase your productivity. You don’t even have to feel like bouncing out of bed every morning. The practical tips below can help you get more done or at least understand why you aren’t doing more.
Things Worth Accomplishing
Many parts of life are about doing things you have to do whether you want to or not. Some of those things can’t be changed. However, you can look for the ones that you can change. Maybe you can’t stop going to work, but you could get a job that’s more meaningful to you. If you work in healthcare, you might want to pursue a graduate medical degree that allows you more autonomy in working with patients.
This is the case with some nursing degrees, which can lead to your working more independently in some states. You may be eligible for private student loans that could allow you to borrow more money than you might be able to from federal programs. Working toward this degree and then later at your new job, you may find yourself being more productive simply because you care more about what you are doing.
There are plenty of barriers to productivity, and procrastination is one of them. You might wonder why you keep putting off doing things even when you are well aware that you need to do them and you have the time to do them. Sometimes, solving this is less about discipline than it is about understanding the reason. Procrastination is sometimes anxiety in disguise. If there’s a task that you don’t like or that even has unpleasant associations, you might find yourself putting it off.
Sometimes, this can even be a relatively inconsequential task, like following up on a repair, but the longer you put it off, the more it grows in your mind. There are a few tricks that may help you deal with this type of procrastination. You could have a friend sit with you while you do the thing. You could turn on a timer and only make yourself do it for a short time. You could also give yourself a reward.
Have Realistic Aims
At the opposite end of the scale from procrastination is another enemy of productivity, trying to do too much. Is your to-do list huge? Are you forever moving items from one day to the next because you don’t get them done? It’s common to feel you have too few hours in the day to accomplish all the necessary tasks, but the solution is to be more realistic about what you can get done, not to berate yourself for what you’ve failed to accomplish. When you plan out your month, your week and your day, be honest about how much time each item will take, and plan accordingly.