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How to be Really Productive

Aug 19, 2013

I read with interest the other day an article on Forbes titled “9 Habits of Productive People.” See, I’m like most people in that I’m highly productive. There are a ton of things I do during the day, and even more that I want to do. The issue is trying to organize processes so that I’m the most productive person in the world. In this day and age, productivity is what you’re ultimately judged by. No one wants an epitaph that says “Here rests an unproductive person!”

But hold your horses. That mindset may just be wrong. 

“This search for a more productive workday has led to a certain misconception about what productivity really is—and it’s a lot more than checking tasks off your to-do list,” Ilya Pozin wrote. “Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.”

Pozin spoke with project management and productivity expert Tony Wong, who offered some habits of highly productive people. Here are five of my favorites.

Cut your to-do list in half—“Getting things done during your workday shouldn’t mean fitting in doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.”

Take more breaks—“Since your brain has used up its glucose, give yourself a moment to refresh by going for a walk, grabbing lunch or a snack or just meditating.”

Focus on yourself in the morning—“It’s a big productivity killer to start your mornings by checking your email and your calendar. This allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Start your day out right by ignoring your emails in the morning and getting in a good breakfast, reading the news, meditating or working out. This will ensure you’ve got the necessary fuel for a productive day.”

Stop confusing productivity with laziness—“While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of so-called time-saving methods—take meetings and emails for example—are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Stop multitasking—“Changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points. Get things done more effectively and efficiently by focusing on one task at a time.”

Please read Pozin’s article for more habits of productive people, and please let us know in the comments your productivity tips. 

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