So, you care about being productive and are curious to find out whether or not you’re making this one big mistake along the way?
Well, it’s no accident why productivity is a quality that ranks high on a list of desirable abilities a person should have.
Being productive is not just about getting the work done the most effective way (even though the dictionary says so).
It is also about having more time to enjoy other things in life as well.
You know, the “live to work or work to live” kind of thing…
(and while we’re at it, you can check out some ideas in Enjoy Life! section on ways to spend your leisure time on)
In this post, I’m uncovering the one critical mistake many of us make in an everlasting quest for better productivity.
Once you get this one right, you can start enjoying all the benefits that productivity has to offer.
Here it goes…
Productive… or not?
You probably agree that productivity is something that can be measured, but (believe it or not) it is also a subjective matter (meaning – how productive you feel at the end of the day).
Have you ever caught yourself with this way of thinking?
“Oh, I should be doing this!” (doing the task) “Ok, done! Hmmm, there is still (insert some new task) to do. I’ll get on it” (doing the other task) “Darn! I forgot about this one!” (rushing to do another task) “Yeah, I need to do this as well!” (doing some more work) …
This story can go on until the evening.
It ends only when you feel completely exhausted, which is approximately somewhere during the nighttime, leaving you nothing else but to go to sleep.
The next morning, the same story continues…
For a while, I had a wrong perspective on it (and maybe you have it, too)
I have to admit, for a certain period in my life, when it came to productivity, I suffered from a similar (needless to add – wrong?) view about it.
My mind was thinking “If I do lots of tasks today, I’ll get some more free time tomorrow.” and “Wow… I did SO MANY tasks… It was such a productive day!” (that was my idea of productivity at the moment).
Plus, I love to keep things in order and to have nice, clean & clear surroundings where I work.
Which added up to the number of tasks I wanted to do in a day.
This, again, lead me to do more tasks in a day than I really should or had to.
It was even worse when I was at home than at work (can anyone relate to me?).
More often than not, I caught myself doing the same task a fifth time in a day, while its results lasted for about 10 minutes max (and that’s if I’m lucky!).
(in case you are wondering what was the task I was hopelessly trying to achieve – I was trying to make the house become a friendly place to walk in. Or let’s put it this way – I was defending the floor from an invasion of toys. 🙂 )
Understand why it was destined for failure? 😀
From feeling stuck to “Enough!”
To get back to the story.
To tell you the truth – nothing!
Every day I could find new tasks I could work on, either at work or at home.
My “I’ll have more free time” idea never seemed to come to life.
Because, if you focus on work only, you will always find something to do, right?
(can you believe the work actually NEVER disappears?)
On top of that, all that work was not giving me some mind-blowing results, when I take into consideration the time spent on them.
Until it came the day when I decided to finally put a stop to it.
No more of this.
I finally realized what was happening in here (well, mostly in my mind, to be honest).
Can you tell what it was?
The misleading mindset
I was hostage of a “more work = more productive” mindset.
Until it finally dawned on me that this kind of thinking is one (almost) unforgivable mistake!
Exactly that is the perspective that I think about when I say that productivity can be viewed as a subjective matter.
Thankfully, I realized that more work does not equate to being more productive.
More work is simply… more work.
We can all find endless amounts of things we could do in each day of our lives, and make us be truly busy.
(but to me, that’s not something super-enthusiastic to look forward to each day)
If you’re finding yourself somewhere along these lines, stop and ask yourself are all of the tasks you’re dealing with worthy of our time and effort?
Remember, by working on your tasks you’re spending the time you could otherwise use to be with your kids, family, and friends, or work on your hobby, be out in the open…
Ok, we all have to work – and it’s a good, useful thing, but you better choose the right tasks to work on – those which make the most meaning and impact.
(unless you’re fine with not doing anything else in life except the work itself)
The quick action steps
If you’re finding yourself in this story and would like to put an end to it, here are a couple of action steps I think you will find useful. Also, keep them in mind in the future.
- Think – are ALL the tasks you’re doing in a day SO urgent and important? (my best guess is not)
- Decide – how much work do you really NEED and HAVE TO do, and how much is just your ambition speaking?
- Define – what are those tasks which DO deserve your time and energy?
- Go – start working on those tasks. When you finish it, relax, and call it a day.
- Don’t worry – if you didn’t get everything done today. There’s always tomorrow. (and, believe me, the work will await you. if not – even better! 😉 )
Now there’s absolutely no reason not to become truly productive – to do the work AND enjoy your free time!
Happy if this post helped you with it! 🙂