Productive, not just busy!

Agonisingly unproductive

I had a disrupted week, in part due to an excruciatingly painful cracked tooth requiring some remedial filling work.

I’m not going to lie, the drilling was painful, both orally and to the hip pocket!

Feeling that I’d achieved less than I wanted to over a period of several days (a throbbing jawline makes it tricky to concentrate), I was inspired to do some research into how to be more productive.

Blocking out the distractions

Gosh, it turns out that the internet offers hundreds & hundreds of productivity tips, so many in fact that the research itself was somewhat…well, unproductive!

On reflection and having scanned through reams of productivity advice, it seems that it can broadly be categorised into tips about your working environment, your physical & mental state, blocking out those irritating distractions, and focusing on getting the key tasks done.

Since the concept of productivity traditionally seems to be represented as a pyramid to be scaled, and because we remember things best in threes, here that is in graphical form:

3 tips to be more productive

Of course, we are all different, and becoming more productive ultimately boils down to finding what works best for you, but here are 3 pointers:

(i) Set the scene – I like to get a good night’s sleep and get up at 5am, and I work best in my own office after breakfast, a swim or gym session, & a shower. That works brilliantly for me, but other people are night owls – find your most productive pattern;

(ii) Put up your do not disturb sign – whether literally or figuratively, put up a do not disturb sign. When people feel overwhelmed it tends to be due to an inability to say no or turn down requests; and

(iii) Do the hard stuff first – instead of multitasking focus on getting one task ticked off your to-do list at a time. Procrastinating on the trickiest tasks (or the ‘A activities’ of your business) rarely makes one feel better about life, in my experience.

In the case of nascent toothache, I can confirm that it’s much better to tackle potential challenges or problems early rather than putting them off.

Dental torment aside, I look forward to a super-productive week!