For a second, I challenge you to leave aside everything you’ve learned or heard about productivity so far. Every advice that prompts you to wake up before sunrise and read your goals out loud every night. The purpose of this article is not to invalidate the oldest tricks in the book. However, we cannot ignore the fact that many recipes are either hard to follow, or simply won’t work for a lot of people. The good news is there are ways to boost productivity 🙂
Therefore, let’s look at some alternatives that might prove to be useful when you feel the need to change the old (and sometimes ineffective) followed paths.
Set flexible goals
Most productivity experts emphasize the importance of setting non negotiable goals and do whatever it takes to get there. Though, the reality is that our lives don’t follow a linear course. Unexpected events happen all the time and usually they make us change our way of thinking and acting. What you believe it’s important at this moment might not be a priority just three months from now. Setting rigid goals is not only unrealistic but can actually hurt your morale when you fail to accomplish them.
Instead of getting in a race with yourself and wasting important resources on something you might end up realizing it wasn’t very important to start with, you should be open to improvising on the go. Taking it step by step and thinking your next move right before you do it is a great strategy for people willing to take risks and thinking outside the box.
Accepting that it’s OK not to know what you will be doing one or five years from now will push your creativity. And who knows, you might end up being in a much better position than if you would have followed some imposed trajectory.
Change your way of thinking
While struggling with lack of productivity, people often revolve around the idea that they should change the way they are doing things. However, breaking old habits and creating new ones can throw you in a fight against yourself. There are just too many opportunities for failing: failing to wake up at 5 am, failing to set and accomplish S.M.A.R.T. goals, failing to follow an agenda, etc. This is a dangerous path, like any other that claims to help you improve your life by following a given recipe.
The truth is there is no secret sauce that works for everyone when it comes to life matters. If you have already tried the most common productivity tips and found they wouldn’t work for you, it is time to face the harsh reality: the only way you can improve your life and boost your productivity is by changing the way you are thinking.
One of the least complicated ways to do that is by adopting a mantra to guide your life upon. Entrepreneur Reshma Chamberlin has tried this for a year and claims to have seized opportunities she might have allowed to slip if she wasn’t following her mantra “ask and you shall receive”. With this simple phrase, she changed her way of thinking, deciding to ask for what she wanted and claim what she deserved.
Choosing your mantra requires self awareness and self reflection. Focus on the things you wish you would improve about yourself, and overcoming whatever is holding you back. Your mantra should always be positive, deliberate, and realistic. Choose something that will set you up for success without making you push too hard. Once chosen, practice your mantra daily and celebrate every little achievement it helps you accomplish.
Be kind to yourself
The traditional way of thinking about productivity is that you should push yourself, always do what is right, always stay on track, and, whatever you do, avoid failing. This approach creates tremendous amounts of stress, keeping you under constant pressure, which might end up causing more harm than good. No less than 47% of American employees are unhappy with the unrealistic expectations at their workplace. Also, burnout caused by work stress costs the world economy about $343 billion every year. What these numbers show us is that pushing yourself too hard is definitely not the answer to increasing your productivity.
On the contrary, being relaxed, balancing your personal and work life, and even allowing yourself to fail from time to time, will help you keep your chin up and always move forward.
Working long hours and neglecting your personal life is one of the most common mistakes people make while aiming to boost productivity. However, everyone has heard that working harder is not as effective as working smarter. And working smarter implies taking strategic breaks, resting enough time and keeping a positive overall mood through a happy personal life.
Fear of failure will always set you back and prevent you from doing things and using your creativity to come up with something different. Instead, think of failure as an opportunity to learn and become better. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs, such as James Quincey and Jeff Bezos even claim that failure can actually propel you to success.
A happy person will always be much more productive and motivated than one who is constantly tired and stressed out. Caring for yourself and taking time to do things that make you happy will set you in the right set of mind for full productivity.
It’s OK to be different
All in all, this might be the only article on how to boost productivity you will ever read that encourages you to start with a nap. Once you are rested and relaxed, think about a mantra that will help you achieve more and guide your daily interactions. Finally, don’t forget to constantly do things that make you happy!
Have you tried or heard of other less traditional ways to boost productivity? Are you practicing any of the advice discussed above? Your opinions and experience matter to us, so we hope you will give us the chance to read it by posting in the comments section below.