Productivity is a loose word as it may mean a lot of different things for different people. As per the Oxford dictionary, productivity is the state or quality of being productive, that is to be able to achieve a significant amount or result. If I need to deliver 10 actions in the course of the day, I want to deliver as fast as possible with the required quality. Therefore, productivity is generally linked to a form of time management (method) and to tools we use.
Make your own productivity methods
Unfortunately for any human being, there are plentiful time management, goal setting, project management methods, just to name a few « buzzword ». The most important method is the one that works for you. I’ve seen many failed attempts to fit a square peg in a round hole. The only way to make any method work is to adapt it to our own existence and adapt our own existence to the method. This means making a conscious effort, but not a too steep one. It needs to make sense for you. If the method does not make any sense, change it!
Make your productivity tool work for you (not the opposite)
As a professional, I keep track of my goals and what I need to do in Microsoft Outlook, because it replicates to all my devices and is easy to capture any new task. But I’m not a classical user of Outlook, I’m a deep user of Tasks and Calendar, on my own terms. However, Outlook may not work in every situation, particularly for team work, for which I am using my own version of Scrum in simple Excel spreadsheet. Because my motto in productivity tool is: Keep It Simple, Stupid! If any tool requires more that one hour to master, I throw it away.
Recently Inc.com published a post entitled The Productivity Secret Behind Bill Gates’s Incredible Success. The title entices you with the idea that Bill’s success is a matter of just a productivity secret, which is, of course, not really true. However, it puts the finger on something that has now been demonstrated numerous times: intensity of focus is a game-changing behavior and increases performance.
For peak performance, the first to get rid of is distraction. Second, you need to concentrate on the one task you have to do. If you’ve ever been totally absorbed in what you do, like coding or painting, or any pleasurable activity, you should have been amazed at how time flies fast and how much you have done. This is the power of dedicating all your energy to one activity and one activity only. Of course our brain and body are multitasking: we breathe without thinking about it, we digest, we do all sorts of things without being conscious about them. However, dedicating our conscious energy to one thing only is what I’m calling monotasking here.
When you are about to do something difficult, you often need to concentrate. This moment of deep thinking allows to focus our mind and energy on what we are about to do. Unfortunately, with all distractions, many people have lost the ability to concentrate and dedicate oneself to deep work. If you are prone to distraction, you may need to start with short period of concentration, like 10 minutes, and increase slowly to be able to sustain an hour or more of deep concentration. Concentration will bring you to the next performance level.
Meditation can help you reach your concentration goal. By bringing back focused monotasking in your daily work, you will soon be amazed at your results!