A study by Atlassian found that 90% of adults spend 15-18 hours/month on their social media accounts which could be used on other important tasks.
This gives rise to a common question of “How to increase productivity in this distracted world?”
It is difficult for you to stay focused when everyone around you is constantly using the Internet to fulfill their day-to-day demands.
I know, I have been there where I thought I will complete all the tasks for the day, but a random Instagram notification would set off that tone.
In no time, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through it and wasting my time with no guilt.
To improve my condition, I started reading books, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, and everything you can imagine in between.
Luckily, I found out some ways that helped me become more productive, helping me achieve my goals.
I am writing this article because if I could enjoy it, so can you, my friend!
Before we jump deeper into this topic, let’s know a bit more about productivity.
This article covers these topics:
What is productivity?
Productivity is the measure of how efficiently you can do a task.
You can say that it is the amount of effective work done in a given amount of time.
While it may sound good when you say that “I have been productive today.” but it may not be the case in some situations.
Most people count being busy as being productive, but there is a difference between these two.
This is the reason it is defined by using the term “effective work”
You can sit in front of your work desk all day and still don’t get any work done.
Most people have this dilemma and you must begin by first changing your mindset about it.
You should get the output for the input you have been providing.
After getting an idea about it, you must know “why” is productivity important in the first place?!
Why is productivity important?
We all have 24 hrs in a day. The way you use them makes you successful.
A CEO of a major company has the same amount of time as you.
The difference is that they use it to their advantage by doing the things that will take them closer towards their goals.
TIME is your most valuable asset, use it mindfully and most importantly to your advantage.
By being productive, you can ensure that you use your time intentionally on working towards your goals.
This way you can get more things done in less time.
When we become productive, we feel progress.
When you feel yourself progressing, it’s easy for you to switch on the work mode and get busy crushing your goals.
In a nutshell, Productivity helps you increase your output, which could help you achieve your goals faster.
But, How can one increase productivity?
How to increase productivity?
Many ways on the Internet could tell you how to increase productivity, but these methods have been tried and tested.
It has given me and my friends the desired results and now, it’s your chance to be the beneficiary.
Here are some factors that will increase your productivity:
1) Wake up early
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”
– Richard Whately
Time is your most valuable asset in your life. Use it wisely!
Waking up early is one of the habit which could help you use your time effectively.
It gives you a good head start for the day. A good beginning makes a good ending.
To be productive, you must know how to use your time more intentionally on priority tasks.
Waking up early is the best habit you can build to live your life more intentionally.
It is a keystone habit that will help you build other areas of your life.
You can use it to start your day with your daily ritual (reading, journaling, exercising) which makes you feel more empowered.
It helps you set the rhythm for the day and structure it so that you have a go-to plan every day before you start your work.
Hence, making it hard for you to procrastinate.
To have a structure for your day, you can make a To-Do list.
2) Make a To-Do List
Making a To-Do list is one of the best ways to give structure to your day.
Make a To-Do list in the morning and make sure you have the needed resources to execute the task defined in it.
It keeps you on track as you can measure your productivity by the tasks you have completed from the list.
This list gives you a sense of purpose for every day you wake up.
Checking all the boxes gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and it builds momentum for the next day.
A To-Do list will help you live your life more proactively than reactively.
It gives you better time management skills as you have to complete a set of tasks in 24 hrs, so you prioritize and do the rest accordingly.
I use the app Todolist: The to-do list to organize work & life to make my To-Do list.
It is a user-friendly app that will help you create your daily task, and you can measure your daily progress in its statistics section.
3) Eat that frog!
I took it from the book Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy. Which says that you need to complete your most important task first thing as you start your day.
Find your frog (your most important task for the day) and eat it. (complete it!)
It is one of the best ways to improve your productivity at work and studies.
The app I have recommended above allows you to set your tasks following their importance.
It would give you a definite idea of which task to go after as you begin your day.
When you finish with your most important task, the rest of the tasks would seem easy to achieve.
Hence, building your momentum for the rest of your day.
Use the “90-90-1” rule:
Spend the first 90 minutes of your workday on your #1 priority, nothing else.
When we go about working on high-priority tasks, we are often caught by the distractions surrounding us.
We must take measures to cut off those distractions so we could do our work smoothly without interference.
4) Cut off distractions
“Free cheese is only available in mousetraps.”
Distraction is one of the major reasons that hurts our productivity.
In this digital age, it is easy for anyone to get distracted.
Technology is killing your productivity in more ways than you can imagine.
Companies design their social media apps in a way to keep the user glued to their screens with the notifications of, like, messages and comments.
It is easy for anyone to get distracted and indulge in mindless scrolling sessions.
To get some perspective let me remind you of a beautiful quote, I came across a podcast with Robin Sharma as its guest.
“You can either change the world or be on your phone, but you can’t do both.”
– Robin Sharma
The best way to end distraction is to remove it from your environment.
You can remove it by keeping your distraction away from your reach or make it hard for you to access them.
In my case checking my social media was my biggest distraction and to get rid of it, I installed an app blocker on my phone which helps me block all my social media apps for my desired amount of time.
The best part is that whenever I try to open any app (which I had blocked) it displayed an inspirational quote that tells why I should not use my phone and focus on my work.
I love that feature and would highly recommend you to try it!
5) Get Moving
“You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind” ~ Irish Proverb
All these tips discussed above won’t work unless you do. To get things done, you have to start at some point.
Action creates action. Inaction creates more inaction.
Don’t just sit idle and wait for motivation to kick in!
The reason I have asked you to make a To-Do list as it provides you a path to act on.
Rely on discipline instead of motivation.
Taking action is important as while executing you’ll make mistakes.
It will give you a feedback on your performance and the mistakes you shouldn’t repeat in the future.
You only have to figure out once, what works the best for you.
Until then, you need to keep taking action.
Once you figure out what works the best for you, then you can repeat it every day for the best results.
How can I calculate my productivity?
The old formula of productivity is: Productivity = Output/Input
Sadly, this formula couldn’t be used to calculate productivity for different aspects of your life.
Though, we can use its fundamental which says Productivity is about increasing the output while keeping the input at the same level.
Eg: I used to complete a book in 2 months. Now, I can complete two books in the same time!
This is a real example that I have become productive with my habit of reading books.
Similarly, you can become better at your daily tasks if you follow the points listed above.
You don’t need any formula to know that you are making progress.
It will show up in the results you get.
To understand a topic well, you need to submerge yourself deeper in it.
The best way to get wisdom about any topic in this world is to read a book about it.
Books on increasing productivity & focus
1) Atomic Habits by James Clear
The thing that is preached in this book is: “Don’t rely on motivation, create habits.”
This is the most practical book on habit formation.
It is the most popular and well-known book of 2020, as it was the #1 New York Times Best Seller for two months in a row.
It will provide you practical tips on creating good habits and ending bad ones.
Creating effective habits will provide you the route towards becoming more productive.
When you build a habit, it almost becomes your second nature.
In the long run, you could carry out that habit with the least amount of effort.
This will help you to save energy and you could provide higher level of inputs for your other tasks.
To build/end a habit, you would require a framework.th
Atomic habits got you covered here.
Ignore this book at your own risk!
2) Deep Work by Cal Newport
The most required skill in the 21st century.
It provides you with tips and structure on how to improve your focus and get things done.
Deep Work is the best way to do meaningful work in a given amount of time.
The formula goes like:
High quality work = Time spent on work * The intensity of focus
This formula works best when you spend your first morning hours in your most important task.
It happens because your willpower is maximum in the morning.
Ideally, block 90 minutes of your time in doing uninterrupted work with high focus.
You would be amazed to see the level of output you can achieve.
It has helped me improve my productivity and I hope you also enjoy the same benefit.
There are many more books that can help you, but these two particularly are the best out there.
If you want more suggestions regarding some life-changing books, read my post on my page.
Action: Plan to be productive
A goal without a plan is useless!
Here is a step-by-step guide on how can you become productive.
STEP 1: Make a To-do List a night before.
STEP 2: Wake Up Early.
STEP 3: Start with your most important task. (Eat that frog!)
STEP 4: Cut off all your distractions.
STEP 5: Keep taking action.
STEP 6: Make mistakes and learn from them.
STEP 7: REPEAT.
Like most things in life, it will take some time for you to see some results.
Until then, keep taking some action.
When you become productive, you will have a positive outlook on your life.
It will help you develop a growth mindset.
Growth is a constant process, you keep evolving with each passing day.
You’ll fail sometimes, and the other times you will get the results.
The key is to not give up and keep working on your goals.
“One day or DAY ONE. You decide.” – Unknown.
I hope you find this article helpful and you would start taking some actions on the guidelines given above.
If you have any questions, ask me in the comment section.
Also, tell me if you found this article helpful.