Productivity and being productive mean different things to each of us. Especially those who have worked in the rat race (grind culture)! Here, productive means creative and generative. And requires alignment with the right flow of energy.
We often assume that being productive requires enormous amounts of efforts. But in reality, effective productivity should create flow and ease, not grind, hustle or exhaustion.
When you are in alignment with your creative energy and are generating results, you are better able to thrive.
It’s often said that freelancers, and other practitioner-style small biz owners run the risk of burning the candle at both ends, trying to make ends meet, feeling like they are working for lunatic bosses (themselves). It doesn’t have to be that way. With small shifts in mindset and habits, you can experience next level production.
Read on to learn the benefits of being more productive.
You Can Get More Things Accomplished in less time
Instead of time management, think energy management. You can accomplish more when you put your most essential activities first and batch your activities to match your energy. Better suited to returning calls in the morning? Then plan your calls in the AM and schedule your desk activities/service delivery etc in the afternoons.
Keep track of your activities – when you completed them, how did you feel, what else can you do after that activity that is along the same lines/energy/focus?
Over time, you will begin to see patterns of energy and cycles emerge that you can tap into to maximum effect. Follow the moon for example. During the Full moon, you are completing whilst during the new moon you are ramping up. Rather than look at the calendar, consider the seasons. In Money Detox (see my other company www.moneydetox.co.uk where we discuss seasonal budgeting). In any business planning session, you will look at the full year and back into the activities based on your launch dates, etc…
For example, at Mindful Bookkeeping, we perform our VAT reviews over the space of a week, usually 3 weeks before the return and payment is due. That means that we have a standard email that goes out to our clients whose VAT quarter has just ended during the first week, asking for them to confirm that their bank statement balance in Xero or Freeagent matches their actual bank statement. We also ask those clients who do their own bookkeeping, to allocate their bank transactions so that the transactions that contain VAT are allocated. That gives them at least 10 business days to get the information over to us. If we are the ones doing the bookkeeping and transactional activities, that then gives us 10 business days to get the job done. Then, during that VAT review week, we aren’t dipping into detailed transactional analysis, going back to clients because there is incomplete data, whilst also trying to look at the bigger picture, reviewing their VAT.
Hopefully, you get the idea and can relate this back to your own business activities.
We use Asana to put all of our tasks in our calendar. I also use a physical calendar to plot out my top 3 or 4 tasks that are critical.
Another tip is having a dedicated time block for each task. This allows you to keep them separate, and avoids multitasking.
A better alternative is focused, deep work on just one task at a time.
You Can Relax
Spending hours upon hours working without breaks can have a serious impact on your mental health. Breaks give your brain time to recuperate and recharge after a period of prolonged, focused work. If you don’t take breaks regularly, you will have a harder time focusing when you really need to.
Taking time for yourself and relaxing will help improve your overall wellbeing. And as an added bonus, relaxation can help foster these creative bursts of energy and usher in a new perspective.
You Will Be Less Stressed
It’s no secret that most people feel an overwhelming amount of stress. And that can keep us from focusing, getting things accomplished, and improving our health. High stress levels can lead to low energy levels, because all your energy is being used up by your brain stressing out!
High levels of stress are draining, leading to low levels of energy, as your brain is spending energy stressing about things. Stress can also make you more prone to illness, both physically and mentally.
Thankfully, productivity can reduce the stress you are experiencing. Being productive allows you to get your tasks done in the time allotted, keeping the stress away.
You’ll Make Fewer Mistakes
Nothing kills productivity faster than realizing you’ve made a mistake and need to rework the task or even start over completely. Instead of moving on to the next task on your list, you’re still stuck working on the same thing. Maybe you got distracted, lost focus, are stressed, or feeling tired – all of these things make it more likely that you’ll make a mistake.
Productivity can help you get your tasks right on the first go ’round. Being productive requires keeping your time and tasks organized and prioritized, which in turn reduces the number of forgotten tasks, missed details, and avoidable mistakes.
More Opportunities Will Be Available
Being productive means you are better managing your time, which can open the door to new opportunities. If you don’t have good control over your time, you may find that you are missing things that could help you and your career grow. Focusing on productivity and planning not only gives you time to do the things you need to do, but time to do the things you want to do as well.
Everyone wants to be efficient and get the most out of their time. However, in order to achieve those objectives, we frequently need to alter our workspace to one that encourages productivity.
Start by determining your most productive hours during the day and schedule your most difficult tasks for them. Create a personal workspace in order that your brain learns to link it with productivity and concentration. Organize your workspace with all the things you regularly use for work so that you don’t have to spend time looking for what you need. And finally, help eliminate distractions by closing unnecessary browser tabs and putting your cell phone away.
Being more productive can take time, especially when it comes to creating new habits and setting boundaries, but as you’ve learned from the list above, the benefits are well worth it!