How To Spark Your Productivity
This 4-Part series looks at how to overcome common barriers and reignite your inner fire. Looking for the other parts? PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4
Have you recently felt the “fire” in you vanishing? I mean the fire to cook something up and produce something authentic.
I find motivating myself is hard when I feel the fire dimming in me. This seems to be a common happening for many professionals who have been highly productive for a long period.
Given two people of similar ability, the motivated person, the person whose fire is burning stronger, is always likely to outperform the unmotivated person. But how can you re-light your fire?
To get back your productivity, there are things you need to let go of. To set your productive spirit free again, there are things you need to bring to your attention. You need to eliminate the hurdles that tire you out and focus on being aware of the fuel you haven’t burnt yet.
PART 1: Lighting The Fire
If your are feeling burnt out, finding the motivation to get back on track can be challenging.
The first step is to recognize and adjust your work habits because productivity is rooted in more than just running endlessly forward. In fact, that’s the last thing you should do right now.
Instead, slow down and walk. But be mindful of each step. Here are 8 sparks to help you reignite the fire in you:
Productivity suffers when you work hard but the return is less than what you invested. In this case, the quantity of energy you put into your work should be replaced with quality. This is the first step to removing the hurdles that have tired you out. With more quality hours, less energy is expended and greater net energy is retained. You can do a lot with a little if that little is totally committed.
Life goes on whether you fail or succeed at any single task. When you are very stressed over an impending deadline, remind yourself that nothing is so important that you should sacrifice your mental or physical health for it. Ask for an extension or scale back your plan. Quality matters. It’s your name value. The trademark of your productivity.
Activity is not the only necessity for productivity – thinking can be immensely productive. Doing without thinking is as bad as thinking without doing. Most importantly, separate thinking time from working time, to ensure that you aren’t interrupted or distracted by meaningless but seemingly urgent tasks.
Aim for progress before perfection. Substitute rational thoughts for time wasting excuses. Example: Instead of thinking “This project has to be perfect” try “I would like this project to turn out perfectly, so I should get started while I have plenty of time to devote to it.”
Just because it doesn’t have to be done now, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. When you feel rising enthusiasm, get started! A small fire feeds a large fire.
Effort alone is not enough, it must eventually produce measurable results. To get started on a major project, begin with a small or easy-to-complete task to establish your mental commitment to the job. And see the results immediately in the context of the whole project.
When you are having a hard time getting around to a task of moderate importance, schedule a specific time to do it instead of leaving it to chance. Save routine or unimportant tasks for times when you are not up for more challenging work.
Remember, working smart, even if it seems to initially take more time, is always more productive than working hard.
This article is adapted from the book, 1001 Ways to Motivate Yourself & Others.
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