Managing Myself

Effective tips for being productive

Published on Mar 19th, 2020 •️ 3 min read

Not so while ago, I’ve taken the step from being an employee to being fully self-employed. The switch to independence came with a not always cooperative employee as well; that would be me. I’ve got a few tips that are helping me make the best of pushing myself to be productive.

“He who conquers his own soul is greater than he who conquers a city.” (Shivpreet Singh)

Goals above all

When should you be satisfied with your work? How would you rate your productivity? To be able to move forward with any given objective, having a vision is crucial. And not something broad. As precise as you can make it. This mindset will motivate you to split your bigger objectives into doable tasks. You can then plan these so-called action points into your daily schedule.

Every evening I plan my next day’s primary working goal. This something needs to be achievable in one day. You can also create a personal sprint for projects that take more than a day. It’s not a problem to focus on one larger objective as long as you can split it up to achievable steps. It is very human to get lost in the details. Don’t think about things that you’re not progressing on. Focus on the tasks that you’ve scheduled.

Distraction is the enemy

Good old distractions. They’re everywhere when you’re looking for them. Even when you don’t. Once you get to your scheduled activity, you will be tempted to focus on everything else. It’s is understandable that we fear missing out on news while we are focusing on our work. But you cannot achieve great results without being able to focus on one thing solely.

To solve this problem, I’ve been practicing a few things.

1. Could you write it down? In case of questions popping up in your mind about different topics during a time of focus, try writing them down, and return to them when the time is right.

2. Deadlines. Create deadlines for yourself during the day. This method will keep you motivated to not turn to other tasks or procrastinate. If a minor deadline doesn’t make sense in your case, you should try time-tracking as well. That way you will measure your real productivity.

3. You are visible busy. Signalize to your surroundings that you’re focused. Don’t be active on social networks. Check your emails in set periods. Create a great work environment for yourself. Even shut your door if it’s necessary. At least in a metaphorical sense.

Switch off

Going for a walk time-to-time has benefits on your focusing abilities. If that’s not possible, take breaks from your main objective occupying yourself with different types of activity. This can be a conversation with people or just taking mental breaks and rewarding yourself with a nap or something you like.

Review and improve

You need to figure out what’s best for you. To be able to do this, you should review your performance after every workday. What helped you achieve your goals? What factor could you eliminate to improve your focus and commitment?

Experimenting with different methods will get you to your absolute best. It is a process and a neverending journey. If you know that you do the absolute best that you can, you certainly will get even better at whatever you do. Being honest about the things that you can do makes your vision clear about the things you should do immediately.

The books that can help you to be an even better manager of yourself:

Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Getting Things Done by David Allen

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