What is the meaning of personal productivity and why is it so important? What do you gain from it in daily life?
First, let's take a look at what productivity actually entails
If you look up the term productivity in The Dikke Van Dale (dictionary), the following is written: productivity = generating or creating force
In my opinion, that is quite a vague concept, but with the word force in it and for me this gives extra charge to the meaning. We humans are creating beings.
In my opinion, therefore, productivity means:
using your energy (power) to work in a focused way on the goal ( creating / creation) you have in mind at that moment.
By the way, you don't have a productivity button. It's not something you turn on or off for a moment. It's a dynamic process that fluctuates constantly.
When you work on or toward something, it costs you energy and time. It therefore seems to me not unwise to use these two factors as optimal as possible. This makes it immediately clear why personal productivity is important. Our resources (energy and time) are not endless, so I want to use them wisely.
Daily concerns are part of it too
When productivity is discussed, the word "goal" immediately comes up. Because this word is overused, it loses its power. Zoom out with me for a moment to the word "goals". What does that actually mean? Immediately the wheels start turning and we describe the most fantastic things we want to achieve and if possible also the follow-up steps to finally reach the goal. But we don't have to go that far. A goal doesn't always have to be something fantastic that you want to achieve in the future. In fact, it can also have to do with actions that have to be done on a daily basis and that you don't like very much at all.
A goal can be something small, it is what you want/need to do or achieve. Your goal for today could be; hanging the laundry or walking 3 times half an hour this week. Why would these be goals? If you've ever been up against a pile of laundry, you know that it's really nice when that chore is done. So, a finished load of laundry contributes to a tidy house, which in turn contributes to a sense of contentment.
This is how you can turn simple everyday things into reasons why you do something
If you have the reason clear, it is easier to work on it in a focused way. Reaching back to the laundry ... when you know that you can close the linen closet with a satisfied feeling, it is easier to quickly hang up the laundry, so you can get it ready for later. When I spend my time doing laundry, it's a productive action for the day and I am personally productive.
Am I a writer now and I have to meet a deadline that day, then getting myself busy with laundry before the article is done, is non-productive. So you see a same act does not always have the same meaning . If I have achieved my goal for the day - writing the article - then that gives me a satisfied feeling.
The fulfilled feeling of a tidy laundry, a task for your work completed, or having focused on a larger goal you want to achieve contributes to a more satisfied life. And that's why personal productivity is important in your daily life. It has a direct impact on your well-being.
Common areas of improvement
Before I give you some tips that you can immediately apply in your daily life, I want to mention some of the standard points of consideration. One of those lists that we usually go through with 'yeah yeah ... I know that', but are no less important for your personal productivity as a result. Do you have your stash of "yeah yeah, I know that" handy? Here we go:
- get enough sleep
- schedule time for yourself
- turn off notifications
- eat nutritious food, not a filler
- learn to say no
All of these are things that we know and that we may or may not (be able to) apply. If we do not have control over such an element, then perhaps that is something to investigate for yourself. Especially the saying 'no', I have no ready-made solution for that. In fact, there are whole psychology practices based on it to help people with this. It's not easy for many, but that doesn't mean you can't learn it. Invest in yourself, that's what I want to bring to your attention.
The 3 tips for personal productivity
1. Ask yourself why
Why do you want to do what is on your list. We can bring in the hanging of laundry from an earlier example. Ask yourself 5x the question "why do I want to ....
- Why do I want to hang up the linens? Because it needs to be done.
- Why does it have to happen? Otherwise I won't have clean sheets.
- Why is it bad if you don't have clean sheets? Then I'm lying in a smelly bed.
- Why is it bad to be in a bed that stinks? Then I don't sleep well.
- Why is it bad if you don't sleep well? Then I don't have enough energy for the day.
Of course, this is a little pulled into the ludicrous, but it's to show that you can apply this to all types of tasks/goals.
Ask yourself the why question 5 times in a row. 'Why do I want to ...?' 'Because I want to focus on ...'. 'Why do I want to focus on that?' 'Because that makes me happy'. 'Why does that make me happy?', etcetera. In this way you get to the essence of what it is really about for you, what your underlying motivation is. When my motivation engine is on, I am more likely to take action. Do you have that too?
2. Batch Process / time-blocking
In my planner, I apply time-blocking, which allows me to work in a focused manner on the task or tasks at hand. Time-blocking is a time management method. The idea is to divide your day into blocks of time.
Each block represents a completion of a specific task or group of tasks. So in a block like that, you keep yourself busy only with that. It's a bit like at school. From 9:00 to 10:00 you have math class and you only do math. Not Dutch, not social studies, no just math. This is how you can apply this to your work or to-do list. From 15:00 to 16:00 you are busy with e-mail. Reading email, dealing with email and deleting email etc.
How you arrange these blocks and with which grouped tasks you fill them is up to you. Maybe you don't do anything with e-mail at all and everything goes through Whatsapp or Messenger. An extensive blog about time-blocking will be published soon. Via the free monthly newsletter you can stay up to date with the new articles.
3. Think about tomorrow, today
Include in your activities that at the end of the (work) day you review what is on your plate tomorrow. Sit down, grab your calendar, journal, Todoist app or whatever you want to get into and write down what you need to do tomorrow. Make a top 3 of things that really need to be addressed or done tomorrow. No fuss around it.
Last night, during my 10 minute journaling time, I listed my top 3 for today. So on Sunday night, March 21, I jotted down this top 3 for Monday, March 22.
My top 3 today (at the time of writing this blog):
1: Create content for a week
2: Prepare blog article for publication
3: Lesson 7 hand in homework
As you can see, I have a time table with marked areas in it. These are my time blocks for the day. First the relevant task in the reserved time block, then the rest.
Without making productivity and goal setting sound hollow, I have shown you that personal productivity is important to you. When you have worked on something in a focused manner and are therefore one step closer to your goal or have even finished the task completely, it gives you a feeling of satisfaction. And this feeling contributes directly to your well-being. By asking yourself why that task needs to be done, setting aside time for specific tasks, and preparing in the evening for the next day, you work in a focused way on your personal productivity.
I have no illusion that these three points are the only ones that contribute to your productivity. These are the three points that I fully support because they work for me. I'm happy to share them with you hoping they'll be of use to you.
If you have a great advice that helps you get the things done that you need to get done ... Then leave it in the comments below this article. 👇 I would really love that.