To the Spaniards, of how to be more productive, basically, they don't give a damn.
How do I know?
Because a few days ago I did a google analysis on the frequency of the question "How to be more productive" and some of its main variants, such as "increase my productivity", "be more productive", and so on.
I found the beauty of just 140 monthly searches for "how to be more productive" and even less for each of the variants analyzed.
If you think there are 60 million of us, that's surprisingly small data.
The reason for this lack of interest is, I believe, psychological.
The word productivity it is in fact associated, by most people, with oppressive visions of the 60s assembly line or 21st century logistics warehouse.
When, on the other hand, it is exactly the opposite: increasing productivity means achieving more with less effort, which makes us freer and leads us more easily to success.
Do you prefer to have more time for your family and your hobbies, to hit most of the goals you set yourself, to get every result with less effort, or to be continually overloaded with commitments, to proceed with difficulty and never have a free minute?
Or, in other words, you prefer to be more productive (red pill) or less productive (blue pill)?
If you've chosen the red pill, read on to my 6 favorite strategies to be more productive.
1. Learn to say NO
We are so bombarded with the requests of others that those who cannot say no often find themselves:
- Overload of commitments that are not yours
- Stuck in contexts he doesn't want
- In the company of people who don't care
- To do things that are not relevant to him
The first rule to be more productive, therefore, is precisely learn to say no (find out how to do it) to everything that makes us waste time and energy without it being worth it.
Those who do not succeed find themselves living a life that is not their own, perhaps convinced that they are doing it out of altruism or a good heart.
But in reality, it is almost always the fear of disappointment and / or an excessive attachment to social conventions that keep us from saying no.
Learning how to do it, therefore, in addition to freeing up a lot of time for your productivity, it will make you more mature and independent.
2. Practice Digital Minimalism
If, on the one hand, there are some really useful productivity apps, on the other, email, social and messaging services envelop us in a bubble of digital noise that distracts us relentlessly.
The net effect, for most people, is absolutely negative.
Many, in fact, are no longer able to do anything without constantly interrupting to take a look at the email or one of their many social profiles, so that they are never really focused about what they are doing.
Simple actions such as keeping the phone almost always off or as far away as possible (you'll see, nothing happens), or checking emails and social networks only at set times, can give you a great help.
But if you're looking for ways to maximize your productivity, I recommend that you intentionally and radically remove all the digital noise around you.
3. Use the Eisenhower matrix
Being productive, as we have already seen with the first two rules, means first of all dedicating yourself to what really matters.
But how do you know what really matters?
If you do not analyze what you do in a structured way, there is the risk of using your time a bit at random, not taking care of what is important, but of what you have in front of you at that moment.
Then stop, every now and then, to evaluate what you do, using the Eisenhower matrix: a system that, by crossing the parameters of urgency and importance, always tells you exactly what it's really worth to that you dedicate yourself.
4. Use the to do lists
A to do list is, simply, a list of tasks that you need to do.
I recommend using it to plan your day, as is done with the Ivy Lee method.
But you can also build to do list spanning longer periods of time.
To do lists help you be more productive because, when you do them, you are forced to clearly identify three key elements:
- What you have to do
- When you have to do it
- Why do you have to do it
Defining exactly these elements acts as your compass throughout the day, allowing you to put your time and energy where it is needed.
Thanks to the to do list you will wake up knowing what to do and go to bed checking if you have done it.
You have no idea how much this ritual helps to remove the anxiety and stress that arise when we feel like we are spinning.
Especially since a good to do list is, among the various productivity strategies, the one with the best simplicity / efficiency ratio.
You do it in minutes and it gives you truly remarkable results.
5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
Just like the to do list, the tomato technique is of a disarming simplicity.
Just buy a cooking tomato and then divide each activity you need to do into fractions of 25 minutes of work alternating with a 5-minute break.
The idea is somewhat the same used in high intensity interval training: many cycles consisting of a phase of intense work followed by a short period of rest and cool-down.
The tomato technique:
- It forces you to plan your time precisely: each activity must in fact be broken up into periods that are all equal to each other.
- Increase your concentration level while you work: precisely because you know that the break will come and that in the 25 minutes of work you have to give your best
- It allows you to easily monitor how much you are really producing: it is easy, that is, for each tomato, to understand if you have returned or not when you had to.
Yes, it often happens that you sit at your desk for hours and then get up with the feeling of having done nothing, the tomato technique will revolutionize your productivity with its punctual and constant keeping you "on track".
6. Organize and make the space in which you work pleasant
A messy work environment not only wastes you a lot of time, it gives you negative feelings.
How can you be productive when what you need is never at hand?
How do you make the most of your creativity and energy when you don't feel comfortable where you are?
As Marie Kondo argues in her famous book "The magical power of tidying up", order and external cleanliness are also reflected in the reorganization and reorganization of ourselves, of our mind, of our emotional experience.
Once we get rid of all the superfluous, we are lighter, more essential, and therefore also more productive.
You know when you start repairing something and you have to constantly interrupt yourself to go get another tool or to look for a screw that has disappeared in the middle of the mess?
Here, the same thing happens when you study and work, if you have not first organized the space in which you do it properly.
Plan and prepare everything you need, and remove everything else - your productivity will skyrocket.
Conclusions on how to be more productive.
Well, even before implementing any strategy or tactic, to be productive you have to want it.
Do you want it? I mean, really?
Because that is often the problem: partly because we have been taught to think of productivity as a negative value, partly because we are not always fully convinced and motivated about what we do, the truth is that we often wallow in combining little.
I see students who, for every page turned, spend one minute on their cell phones and another one looking out the window.
I meet employees and managers who, no matter how long they have to do something, always finish it at the last second (find out why in the article on parkinson's law).
I go to offices and shops where inefficiency and scazzo are palpable in every movement of those who manage them.
But it's not what they do that makes them unhappy and frustrates them…. It is the fact that they do it with effort and slowness rather than with momentum and lightness.
Try then, even if only for a week, to be productive.
Feel the thrill of not dragging yourself into the midst of your commitments, but of attacking them decisively through the tactics I have told you.
You will find that, far from making you feel busy or a slave to what you do, being more productive gives you time, energy, serenity and self-confidence.