In the world we inhabit, “satisfaction” is an outdated concept. Our idols have gone from being those with high ideals to those who have achieved the most. We spend our days in the pursuit of mirroring their lifestyle, work, and food habits. We read books, pick shows, and constantly strive towards the pursuit of that perfectly “productive” day.
“Productivity” and “Efficiency” sound the siren call from the minute we wake up and we begin to answer it. Society, print media, and millions of influencers are constantly hurling productivity tips at us. They tell us that it is a lot more productive to meditate within the first fifteen minutes if waking. They tell us that a day is only efficient if your day is begun early. They say that we must read books that edify rather than those that pleasure.
They say this, and they say that but what is it that you need to know?
What is Productivity?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines productivity as, amount of goods and services produced based on certain inputs. The higher the input, the higher the yielded output. Looks easy to apply as well, doesn’t it?
All you need to do to be more productive is to apply more effort. You could wake up earlier, you could exercise more, and you could work longer.
However, there is a key difference. This definition originated to measure the productivity of machines. A machine responds to higher output with higher input. A human being responds by being burnt-out.
Your mind is much more complicated than just a machine that responds to stimulus.
Components of Productivity
Does this mean that Productivity does not apply to people? If it does, how do we measure it?
Productivity does indeed apply to people but not in the way we understand it. We need to change our attitude towards the conceot and the idea behind it.
Human Productivity is an equal parts mix of work, inspiration, and self-care. We need to balance our work with activities that inspire us to deliver better. To sustain the inspiration and application lifecycle, we need self-care. It is only through a delicate balancing act of the three that we can achieve our productivity goals.
For some people inspiration looks like a run, for others it may be music, dancing, painting, or reading. Different things inspire different people and the first step to get the creative juices flowing is to recognize that you are unique. Never mind everything you’ve seen, heard, and read, ask yourself, what is it that truly motivates you?
Identifying the force that galvanizes you, will pave the way to much needed self-care. Armed with this valuable understanding, you will meet your goals with purpose and not obligation.
Find Your Balance
You now have the ingredients for success but what measure will you use them in?
To prevent the “idea” of productivity holding your full potential hostage, you have to strike with precision. Work, inspiration, and self-care are your new best friends. This is one social calendar that will make every minute count.
To make a plan without understanding the true nature of the beast will only result in disappointment. Therefore, your first task is to understand what you are up against.
Dedicate an entire week to making a list of all the work related activities you engage in. This should include everything from yoru core work, admin tasks, things you hope to add to the roster, and upcoming work you foresee yourself doing. Gather as much information from yourself as possible about what the term ‘work” means in your world.
Every day in this information gathering phase, ask yourself for five things that make your happy. This could be absolutely anything but the condition it needs to meet is that it refreshes your senses and perspective. At the end of the week, this list will form the basis of what goes into your inspiration and self-care list.
Plan the Work, Work the Plan
Once your lists are ready, half your work is done.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to break it up into tasks and attach timelines. Anyone who has succeeded at anything knows that being overly regimented can be detrimental to certain projects.
If your project requires a smidgen of creativity, you will need to allow space to flow with the ideas. The best way to get the most out of your day without overregulating yourself is to roughly allocate your work, inspiration, and self-care activities to the week. Look at the list often and let yourself make a choice as to your day’s priorities.
Some people find it easier to dedicate the first half of the week to work and take it easy in the second half. Others work better when they spend a day or so clearing their heads and emotions for optimum performance. The same applies to people who prefer to work during the day or the night.
Whatever works for you, is the correct choice. Create a fluid structure that morphs into a form needed for the day. The whole idea is to plan a balanced week and to give yourself the space to create and inspire within a workable arrangement.
Apps to Help You Along The Way
There’s no denying that our entire lives are on our phones nowadays. Therefore, we may as well use our phones to help us along with this life change.
My top picks for tracking and productivity enhancing apps are ….
Momentum Habit Tracker
Momentum allows you to track your habits, maange weekly targets and reminders, factor in vacation time, and even import all your data into Excel.
Momentum is a great tool for the data gathering phase of your productivity enhancement journey.
Turn your habit tracking and productivity journey into a super fun game with Habitica!
Every task that you complete will increase your level in the game, thus keeping you motivated. You can also enable the interactive feature and complete quests and missions with your friends!
Morning Routine Habit Tracker
Morning Routine Habit Tracker has everything that the previous two apps have in addition to helping your focus.
Morning Routine ensures that you focus on one task at a time. It also helps you along the way by including inspirational quotes from successful people.
Want personal attention from Oprah? Download the app and get started!
With this new perspective on productivity and balance, you are well on your way to a new way of living. You can now make the most of every minute without the adrenaline and the guilt!
……And trust me this is the mindset you need to succeed at absolutely everything!
Sarina Byron is a widely published writer whose work has been featured in leading publications such as Tripster, Authors Publish, Introvert, Dear, Thrive Global, Book Series Recaps and ClothedUp. Invited to the prestigious Yale Writers’ Workshop, Sarina covers a variety of genres such as travel, lifestyle, fashion, business, well-being, literature, and even writing techniques.