By: Dragos Bernat
Introduction: This will be a series about The 12 Most Important Productivity Habits. In each article only one habit will be discussed. This is to simplify reading and productivity. Focusing on one habit at a time allows for an effective practice. At the end of the series there will be a post summarizing all the productivity habits together.
Productivity Habit #10 – Stick to yourself.
There’s a difference to being productive and being busy. Being busy just means being busy. It has nothing to do with productivity.. Productivity means sticking to your goals and to yourself.
We all become busy because of things. These are things that pop up throughout the day. Luckily most of these things are small. An e-mail here, a message on Facebook, a call, a request to do this and so on.
Sometimes we have things we need to do but fall short. Or worse; we don’t even start. We look at it as a big obstacle, so we focus our attention towards smaller things.
I would feel bad that I wouldn’t start and would just do something to feel better. I would start doing things that weren’t on my list I was trying to convince myself that I was being productive when I knew I was only keeping busy. I was just masking my own productivity. I was just pretending to be productive.
This is why a list is important towards productivity. When we have a list, it becomes a system. It’s a system we can learn to trust and use to stay productive. It’s a system that helps you stick to yourself.
Here’s how to stick to yourself.
- Make a list. Write down 3 things that you want to work on or finish by the end of the day. This can be personal goals, projects or habits you’re working towards.
- Say NO. People will request your time. This will cause temptation to help and start doing other things. Just learn to say no. You don’t have to commit yourself and your time to doing busy “work”. If it’s something you really want to do just let them know that you are busy at the moment and will call them back when you are available.
- Stick to your list. Try not to deviate from your list. Things will come up throughout the day but try your best to stick you planned for. It may be hard at first; but it gets easier.
Focus on the big picture. Your big picture. Don’t worry so much about getting the little things done. They end up working themselves out in time. There’s always a time for you to do the smaller things. Most of these little things are just busy work. We do them to feel busy and look productive.
See if you can stick to your list. Don’t get sucked into the insignificant tasks that don’t contribute to you. Your list should be your determining factor for productivity. Nothing else.
There is a time to do these smaller tasks. If you have time; do them after you complete your list.
One simple rule to know when you’re not being productive.
- You are doing things to remain or look busy or for the sake of just doing things. If it’s not on your list; you’re probably just focusing on a thing.
Try and set a daily list. This can be your reference point for keeping on track.
If things come up, which they will; ask yourself a few questions before taking on another task.
- “Is this going to help me in the long run?”
- “Is this going to help me at all?”
- “Do I really need to be doing this with my time?”
Don’t worry about trying to do so much. We aren’t superhuman. As pleasant as it would be to remain productive for 24 hours every day, it’s simply not possible. So apply your focus to what matters and stick to your plan.
How do you stick to yourself?