We all know that habits make or break a man and we also know that we will be better off implementing certain good work habits to make our day far more productive! However, it is easier said than done! And if you try out these “7 practices for a productive life,” you will be able to silence your most hated critic – your mind and become more productive.
Bad work habits and attitudes do not change overnight, but it can surely be replaced with good habits. And our mind is a complex yet intuitive manipulator and procrastinator, that is programmed to pick our thoughts and actions; eventually making them our habits. But we all know there is always a loophole to beat a system; any system! You only need an uncompromising will to overcome the old habits and create new work habits to have an improved quality of life.
If your mind is telling you to skip this article, don’t! Because your mind is just playing tricks, making excuses and assuring you why you should not do something out of your comfort zone.
So, go ahead, read “7 practices for a productive life” to cultivate good work habits; produce the best possible results in both work and life.
1. Be dependable and learn to say “NO”
Being dependable and learning to say NO are two very different aspects, how can one do both? We will explain….
You are responsible for your work, and there should not be any negligence in that. Make sure you are always on time, following company policy and rules, get your work done consistently in the given time frame, and be humble and honest. Build strong working relations with your colleagues, juniors, and seniors.
Seldom there are issues, and people need help with work, but your work should not suffer due to your helpfulness. Management will never accept this reason, and your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) will be affected. So, if you have enough workload, say “NO” to anyone seeking help, once you are done go be the knight in shining armour.
2. Tackle the most important task of the day first!
American writer Mark Twain famously said –
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
When the workday starts, the most important task should be done first! Even if it requires time and patience; even if you feel you should finish the less demanding tasks; always take care of the elephant in the room. Once it is done you will feel relaxed as the hardest task of the day would be over. And, if you have more than one difficult task, do the most difficult one first and carry on subsequently.
3. Time Management
No organization can survive without time management. For any employee within the hierarchy of the company, a proper time management skill is statutory. It is a skill that must be pursued. No matter how good an employee you are, if you cannot respect deadlines, you are a liability.
Most people think multitasking saves time, on the contrary, it renders each task ineffective and reduces the productivity of the human brain. Instead, focus on a single task at a time, complete it, and then move to the next one. One can prioritize the tasks based on the Eisenhower Matrix.
Another important aspect of time management is taking breaks. Step away from the task and take short breaks. Working for longer hours decreases productivity. To tackle this issue Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique in the 1980s. It breaks down longer tasks into 25-minute intervals segregated by short breaks.
There are six simple steps –
- Identify the task
- Set the timer to 25 minutes
- Focus on the task
- When the timer stops, mark it and take 4-5 minutes break
- Continue the method until the task is completed
- After 4 marks if the task is incomplete, take 20-30 minutes break and restart the process while continuing the task.
4. Use relevant technology
Due to diversity in organizations around the world, every workplace is different. A couple of decades back, technology was starting to become a part of our lives. Today, it won’t be wrong to say, technology is a necessity. We cannot imagine a world without technology as it has penetrated every aspect of our life. It is obvious that technology has entered our workplace and made our jobs easier. Some of the benefits are mentioned below –
- Group Chat – It has made sharing information a lot easier and transparent. Especially in the current scenario of international lockdown, sharing work-related information is a boon
- Online Project Management – It helps in ensuring the same work is not being done by two teams, as it happens in times of confusion, two or more employees pick up the same task and they waste their time. Here you can check the deadlines, employees with assigned tasks, and maintain high levels of productivity.
- Onboarding of employees from remote areas – Usually, onboarding happens in offices for recruits, and after that, they travel to their job locations. But sometimes it is difficult for a new employee to travel, specifically in the current scenario of the global pandemic. The Hr can have a complete discussion online and initiate the process with convenience. It is impossible to even find a solution without the help of technology.
- Limited use of Paper – Until a few decades back, anything and everything related to the functioning of an organization was done on paper. Naturally, this has harmed the environment. The advent of technology at least helped us in decreasing the use of paper as almost everything is done through the internet.
5. Reduce Distractions
Distractions at the workplace can be a huge productivity killer. There are various kinds of distractions; social media, indulging in unnecessary gossips, frequent smoking breaks, etc.
Eliminating them may not be possible, but we can try to minimize them. In the end, we should strive to be an asset to the organization. Social media is a major distraction and any sound of notification makes people anxious until they check their cell phones. We need to control the urge and instead take short breaks for it so that our time at the desk is productive.
Also read: 7 Practices For A Healthy Lifestyle
6. Plan and make a list
Going to the workplace with proper planning saves time. Plan your tasks by making a list, either the night before or in the morning, so you can start immediately after reaching. The initial energy should be focused on an important task rather than wasting time in planning the day. Always work from the planned list and along the course of the day if something new comes up, add it to the list and schedule it accordingly.
The consistency will help you to increase your productivity by almost 30%. Another perk of planning is that it gives your brain some time to come up with new ideas to get the job done. Make sure the list is comprehensible and detailed.
7. Don’t forget that work is work
There is a popular saying Work is Worship, but too much devotion leads to exploitation. A lot of people are content with the position they have in a company, even if they know they deserve more and can achieve more. Sometimes the organization doesn’t give the required designation or promotion expected by the employee. This leads to discontent and decreases productivity.
Never be attached to a company or the work you are providing. You are only being paid for the value of the job. If you feel you deserve better, find an alternative, and move on. Be attached to the idea of personal achievement rather than the achievement of the company. The company you are working in is someone else’s dream, and you are being paid to fulfil that dream.
We like to believe Work is Work, as simple as that. Once you leave the office you should detach yourself from work and enjoy life. Spend time with family and friends, and that is real happiness. If you want to plan the next day’s work, give a thought think about it for 15 minutes or so and after that do not worry about work until you reach office. This thought process helps in maintaining productivity both at work and in life, respectively.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
These 7 productive practices can also help mothers become next mompreneurs. To be one among many, read this amazing article about the 5 success mantras for mompreneurs.