3 productivity hacks to improve your output
Over the past couple of years, we have experienced unprecedented changes to our personal and working lives. For many, adapting to the constant changes of our working landscape has been challenging, to say the least.
Uncertainty makes it harder for us to define, plan and, most importantly, execute our goals. This is where an appreciation of the science of productivity can help keep you on track.
When asked to define productivity the majority of lawyers associated it to efficiency. That answer is not incorrect, but it is incomplete. We can all be efficient while being unproductive, by focusing on the wrong tasks.
In his book, The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey explains that productivity goes beyond managing our time and being efficient.
We should also focus on how we manage our energy and attention – two key ingredients to driving us to achieve our goals.
For example, when remote working was first introduced, for many this resulted in no longer having to commute to the office. Although we may not have given much thought to commuting before, it turned out that commuting had actual health benefits that helped us stay productive.
What may at first have seemed like a small habit replacement change, had a significant impact on productivity – a lot of us, found ourselves working longer hours and taking shorter breaks.
Here I share three productivity hacks that can help you stay on track to achieve the results you want.
1. Don’t juggle your priorities, instead balance them
A mistake many make is to compensate their high workload by giving up on activities that take them away from work. So hobbies take a second place to meetings and calls, and what you find is that over time, you slowly burnout.
What many fail to grasp is that resilience is not about stress endurance, but rather a stress recovery mechanism and in order to build it, you have to invest in allocating time, energy and attention to the activities that help you de-stress.
Instead of treating these activities as rewards when we are not busy (which never really happens), treat them as essential to ensuring we are bringing our best judgement to deciding on competing priorities.
2. Multitasking is a myth
A direct result of striving for efficiency sees most of us looking to be all things for all people, struggling with setting boundaries and saying no. Instead we create unrealistic expectations and unhealthy habits that lead to failed attempts of completing the never-ending to do lists on our desks.
We multitask by reading emails during video calls, and reviewing documents during our family meals – what happens is that we are not paying full attention to either activity and as a result our brain is just taking longer to process the information in front of us.
In fact, if you look at the neuroscience of multitasking you will see that it is not actually possible, and that switch tasking (which is in fact what you are doing) is a very unproductive way of operating.
To drive greater results (and avoid costly mistakes) focus on one task at the time, even if only for a short period of time. By avoiding – and if possible, eliminating – multitasking, you can achieve more, and feel less overwhelmed.
3. Procrastinate with purpose
Another big culprit that holds us back from accomplishing our goals is procrastination. Fighting it can seem futile at times when we are struggling to find the energy required to pursue and sustain positive changes in our lives.
In his book Still Procrastinating?, Dr. Joseph R. Ferrari explains that there are three types of procrastinators:
- Thrill seekers who enjoy the pressure of deadlines
- Avoiders who put off on actions that do not bring them joy
- Perfectionists whose quest for perfect prevent them from starting
Instead of feeling guilty for lacking the ability to not procrastinate, recognise the type of procrastination you are experiencing in order to adopt strategies that can help you mitigate its negative effects.
If my research on the science of productivity has taught me anything is that to be productive we need to be efficient on the right things.
I hope that these tips can inspire you to appreciate that being productive is about what you lose just as much as what you gain.
If something is important to you enough to make it your goal, define it, plan it and go for it!
Views expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.
For more information on productivity, visit leticiacorbisier.com and join her emailing list for more advice.