To-Do List Item #1: Be More Productive!

By Radhika Vyas, Singapore

Having made it to the end of Wednesday, I decided to review my to-do list for the remaining two work-days of the week. I sadly realized that I probably have more items pending to be crossed out, than the ones I’ve managed to complete. This simple review made me ask a simple questions – Am I being productive?

Now, mastering the art of perfect prioritization is something I am still working on. However, I do believe that by making some simple tweaks to my day to day approach towards work, might just help!

After reading some interesting productivity-related articles on Flip board, Forbes and the Wall street journal, I have chosen my 5 favorite pieces of advice that I intend to implement immediately.

  1. The Best Way to Feel Motivated Is to Know Why You Want to Get Something Done

There is more to this clichéd sentence than meets the eye. I feel sometimes, I do get tasks which are rather mundane or need a painstakingly larger period of time to complete. In instances like these, the motivation levels drop rapidly and so does the efficiency. Maybe in such cases, by asking myself ‘Why I should get it done with’, I would be able to find the drive to complete it. Sometimes, it could be as simple a reason as – So I do not have to deal with it again.

  1. Productivity Isn’t About How Much You Produce, It’s About How Much You Accomplish

I read this quote on the article which resonated immensely. ‘Unless you run a factory, measuring your productivity based only on how much you produce gives you only a shallow, limited picture of how productive you are.’

This is indeed so true. Many a times, being productive can actually be achieved by thinking of ways to increase efficiency in the processes. For instance, if your work involves taking information from Person A and forwarding it to person B on a regular basis, a simple introduction of Person A to B and request to cc you in their e-mail exchanges could work out for everyone. Or, finding ways to write a long e-mail in less than100 words and using bullet points, could also be deemed as increasing productivity.

  1. Mix it up

During the day, I find many people in the office working from the pantry, the Starbucks downstairs, or even alone, in a conference room. Most people aren’t productive working from the same place all day, every day.  By finding out where works for you, depending on the time of the day and the type of tasks you’re doing, you may be able to climb up the productivity ladder.

  1. Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals.

It has been experimentally proven that the human brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically, we spend most of it after 60-90 minutes of focused work. Hence, taking breaks at work is strongly recommended by scientists (This is why we must always abide by what the scientists say, anyway). By getting up and going for a walk, having a snack, or drinking tea with a fellow colleague might help getting the brain into action for the next task ahead.

This last one is certainly my favorite advice and probably the one I have ignored the most, all along.

  1. The Three Most Effective Tips Are Also the Most Boring

By being immersed in the day to day work, I might have forgotten these simple yet invaluable advices I hear so often from my friends and family.

  1. Eat well
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Exercise regularly

Now that I seem to have my game plan, I do feel a sense of determination to cross out those pending items by tomorrow!

So, how do you think you could be more productive at work?

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