Productivity is a loaded word.
As a society, we obsess over it. We’re always seeking new ways to be productive: new technologies, techniques, and processes to make us better, faster, and more efficient. We jump on productivity trends and fads, always searching for the next big thing that will help us get ahead.
But this basic idea has become an elusive goal. It’s tough to execute. And it’s common to feel like you’re never getting enough done.
To be more productive, we need to first pull back the layers of complexity. What does it actually mean? And why is productivity important in today’s world?
In this article, we’ll discuss why it matters, and how to increase your productivity levels.
The Various Dimensions of Productivity
Productivity takes on different meanings.
In the self-development world, you'll hear about personal productivity and how to accomplish your goals. In the business world, it's about workforce productivity, labor productivity, and how to increase output. On a more national or global scale, you may hear about economic productivity.
It can get confusing.
So let's simplify the meaning behind it.
Dimension #1: Productivity Means Getting What You Want
If you get the outcomes you want, you’re productive. If you don’t get the outcomes you want, you’re unproductive. That’s it.
Of course, it’s not always that simple.
But it’s a good starting point and an easy way to measure how productive you are, both personally and professionally.
Dimension #2: Productivity Means Leverage
Everyone has the same amount of time in the day.
So what’s the difference between a productive person and an unproductive one? They have a different relationship to time. Productive people masterfully leverage each unit of time — they almost appear to be controlling time. And unproductive people don’t invest their time wisely — they take it for granted and, as a result, aren't able to get what they want.
By increasing productivity, we can accomplish our goals more efficiently.
This gives us leverage, freeing us to spend more time doing what we love and less time feeling stressed and bogged down by all the things we have to do.
Dimension #3: Productivity Means Being Intentional
The key to increased productivity is being intentional with your time and actions. It's not about being busy for the sake of it.
It's about setting goals and taking actionable steps to achieve them. It's about saying "no" to the things that don't align with your goals, and "yes" to the things that do.
It's about being deliberate and mindful.
Why It's Important To Be Productive in Today's World
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with distractions, it’s more important than ever to be productive.
With the advent of the Internet and social media, we’re more connected than ever. But this constant connection comes at a cost: We’re bombarded with notifications, emails, and alerts that pull us in different directions. As a result, the average person has an extremely short attention span, unable to muster enough focus to be productive.
But it’s not just about staying focused. In today’s economy, businesses are under constant pressure to do more with less. To stay competitive, they need to find ways to be more efficient. This means that, if you want to succeed financially, you’ll want to learn how to be more productive in the workforce and economy.
The same is true on a personal level. We all have goals. Being productive means creating the life you want and achieving meaningful results, whatever they may be.
So, how can you be more productive?
How To Increase Productivity
There's no one-size-fits-all solution for increasing productivity. We all have different goals, values, and circumstances.
But there are some general principles that can help you. Use them to develop your own productivity system so you can succeed, both personally and professionally.
1. Set Meaningful Goals
The first step to achieving higher productivity is to set meaningful goals.
Goals keep you focused and help you measure progress. Take some time to think about what you want to achieve:
- What are your long-term goals?
- What are your short-term goals?
- What steps do you need to take to achieve them?
Writing your goals down will help you to remember them and keep you accountable. But don't stop there. Make sure to review and adjust your goals regularly.
As your circumstances change, so too should your goals.
2. Create a Strategy
Once you've set your goals, it's time to create a strategy for achieving them:
- What steps do you need to take?
- What resources do you need?
Your strategy should be specific, actionable, and measurable. This will help you to stay on track and see your progress.
3. Take Action
The next step is to take action. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Having a goal or strategy is pointless if you’re not going to take action. Start by taking small steps. As you complete each task, you’ll gain confidence and momentum.
This will motivate you to keep going and achieve your goals.
4. Stay Focused
It’s easy to get distracted.
There are constant notifications, emails, and social media alerts fighting for our attention. It’s important to stay focused on your goals and resist these distractions.
One way to do this is to set aside specific times for working on your goals. Turn off all distractions and focus solely on the task at hand.
This will help you to get more done in less time.
5. Manage Your Energy System
Time is precious. But we can’t slow down the clock, speed it up, or jump around our timeline (not physically, that is).
In other words, time is largely outside of your control. It’s more effective to bring your best self to every moment in time. This is why the most essential currency for high performers is energy.
By skillfully managing your energy, you can show up fully and be your best self.
Productivity is important for achieving success, both personally and professionally. For improved productivity, follow the principles above and generate meaningful results in your life.
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