I started my freelancing business recently. And since then I’ve been working non-stop. On weekends too. Every time I took a day off, I was filled with guilt. Guilt that I’m not doing enough.
So every single free minute I started utilizing. I was constantly working on something. And so, I should have got a lot of things done. But no! The result was quite opposite. The more I started working, the less I started getting done.
I was amazed by the results. And I wanted to see where the problem was. And so I turned to my most trusted source of solutions; books. I read a couple of productivity books to see where I’m going wrong. — The One Thing, Make Time, and a couple more;
And then I found out the problem. It’s because I’m trying to be productive all the time, but my outcomes are actually non-productive. Because I’m trying to do so many things at a time, I’m doing nothing. Because I’m distracted so much, I’m not focused on anything.
And so I came up with 3 daily habits to help me get back on track. These new habits are supposed to help me be more productive by reducing my work time.
I tried them for 60 days and did they work? Like a wonder! Now, no more busy bee attitude for me.
Let’s see what those 3 habits are so you can benefit from them too and be more productive in less time like me.
1. Bookend your day
Have you seen or used a bookend? A bookend is nothing but two standing pieces of wood, metal, or plastic. Organize books in a row and then place a bookend at each end to support books and stop them from falling.
This is exactly what you need to do with your day. Organize your day and use bookend to protect your work. It also sets the boundary for your work time and personal time.
How do I bookend my days? I work from 10 am to 5 pm. That’s my bookend. I organize all my tasks between those times. Once the clock hits 10 am, I’m completely focused on tasks I scheduled for the day. And once the clock hits 5 pm, I stop working.
I’m allowed to work in between only those 7 hours. After that, I can do anything but work. Setting this kind of boundary makes me get things done quickly. Because of the fear of running out of time, I don’t procrastinate. I don’t stretch. I just get to the point and that is getting all the tasks done quickly and efficiently.
Also, another benefit is, I get to have ample amount of personal time to rest, eat, relax and spend time with people. The more I relax and rest, the more refreshing I feel the next day when I start my work at 10 am.
Try bookending your day and see how productive your personal and professional life becomes.
2. Highlight your day
Every other productivity self-help book I’ve read gives the same advice. Focus on one thing at a time. No multitasking. And then there’s this other book, Make Time; which gives the same advice with a unique point of view. It says, highlight your day. That means, picking up the most important task for the day and focusing on it.
Don’t do anything unless you get that most important task done. That should be the first task you start working on for the day. It’s okay if that’s the only task you do that day. But make sure you get it done.
I tried it and it worked like a charm. I have a habit of creating a to-do list. And it feels great to cross things off that list. And more often I used to pick up the tasks that are less important, less difficult, and less productive. Just to get that high. And by doing so, I always lag behind on the most important tasks. They either used to get postponed or done poorly. But the moment I started making them a priority, things changed. Work became more manageable and outcomes became more efficient.
Do this exercise for 7 days and see yourself — Decide the most important task for the day and don’t do anything until you get that done.
3. Unwrapping hour
Believe me or not, this is the most productive hour of my day. After I’m done with my bookend timing i.e 5 pm; my scared ritual begins. 5.30–6.30 pm is the time when you will find me on the rooftop of my building enjoying the sunset, sipping tea, and reading a book.
I read for some time, then watch the sunset and take a walk around. This is the time when there’s only me and my thoughts. We talk to each other, listen to each other, and sometimes we just stay silent in each other’s company.
When there’s a golden hour moment in the sky, there’s a golden hour conversation in my mind. This is the time when my mind and soul talk to each other and tell me what they want and don’t want in life. All my creative ideas, life-changing decisions, and soul-soothing thoughts come to me during that golden hour.
Find something similar for yourself. Anything that you enjoy doing. Sit with yourself for an hour every day and you’ll see the magic I’m talking about.
Productivity doesn’t come from how much you get done. Productivity comes from how much important you get done effectively by using the time efficiently.
Don’t be the robots. You are a human. You aren’t designed to work and die. You are designed to explore, experience and experiment. Do the work but smartly. Live life but extravagantly.
Contributed by Komal Kamble
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