Everyone wants to be productive. Nobody wants to go through their days feeling lousy and not getting anything done. And to be productive, we all need to understand the three pillars of productivity.
Productivity is highly influential towards people’s level of satisfaction and happiness.
Do you know that the more productive you are, the more satisfied and the happier you will be?
The days when you feel extremely productive are the times when you get the more done. You accomplished a lot of your tasks and as a result, you feel extremely satisfied. You are happy because you are achieving small victories throughout the day.
On the other hand, imagine going through your day feeling inferior, getting nothing done, you procrastinate and delay on all your tasks. How would you feel at the end of the day?
Not good, right?
Here’s a short story to share with you:
A little monk once asked his master sifu one day about the secret to happiness. The little monk asked, “Master sifu, what is the secret to happiness?”
His master thought for a while, and then handed the little monk a pot of plant. And the master said, “Take care of this plant, water it every day and make sure it has enough sunlight. And when it blossoms, I will tell you the secret of happiness.”
So the little monk took the plant and brought it to his room. He waters the plant every morning at the same time. And he makes sure that the plant has plenty of sunlight for growth each day.
After a month, flower started to bloom and grow from the plant. The little monk is so happy and he started to sing.
His master then saw the little monk and ask him what makes him so happy. The little monk replied, “The flower has blossomed from the plant you gave me, it is time for you to reveal the secrets of happiness.”
The master smiled and said, “Well, you have just discovered the secret to happiness, aren’t you?”
Albert Einstein once said:
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
My friend, and this why happiness and satisfaction have a lot to do with productivity.
The Common Problem People Have With Productivity
The problem is that most people get it wrong. They thought that being productive is all about getting things done and managing their time.
If they can be effective, they can become more productive. This is not always the case. You see, productivity can be closely tied with motivation.
What is the use of a time management system when you don’t have the motivation to do the work?
And what is the use of motivation and energy when you don’t have a good system to manage your work either? You’ll be making yourself busy doing trivial things and getting no significant results.
Either way, it is not the ideal way to achieve optimum personal productivity.
Introducing The 3 Pillars Of Maximum Productivity
If you want to achieve maximum productivity and make it long-lasting, you have to work around these 3 pillars.
1. Energy Management
The first pillar is your energy management. Some said that being productive is all about managing your productivity. True to a certain extent, but we cannot ignore the other 2 pillars.
This is where you use your energy and willpower to go through your day. If you don’t have energy, you will feel sleepy and tired. And you can’t accomplish much.
And when your willpower is low, you will be easily distracted. And you just cannot focus on your task.
Energy management is important and the most common mistake people make is that they don’t get enough sleep.
They thought that they are still young and they can sacrifice their sleep for work and productivity. They choose to watch movie until late night or they play games or surf the internet for nothing.
Do you realize that we spend as much as one-third of our life sleeping? And it is an extremely important activity that no one can ignore.
There’s no point to work 20 hours a day if you cannot have the energy to maintain your productivity throughout the day.
You will be doing crappy works and feeling tired and exhausted all the time. If you want to do quality work, get enough sleep. Make sure you have sufficient energy to go through your workday.
When you sleep, you get replenish and recharge your energy.
Just like your phone. You charge it every day, right? Why don’t you do that to yourself?
Do you know that your energy is just like your phone’s battery bar? You use your energy throughout the day.
You use your energy when you make a decision. You use your energy when you think and work on your tasks.
So maintain your energy bar at optimum level if you want to stay productive the entire day.
This is why the Pomodoro technique is effective in helping you get your work done. The technique schedules short breaks into your work so that you can rest and recharge yourself from time to time.
Never underestimate about energy management. You cannot be productive when you don’t have any energy left to tackle the work.
You can learn about how to manage your energy from my previous article.
2. Task Management
The second pillar is task management. This is where most people get to know about time management. What systems do you use to manage your tasks?
Are you following the Pareto 80/20 Rule? Or are you using the Seinfeld Calendar method? Did you prioritize your task through the Eisenhower Box? And do you measure and keeping score for your progress?
When it comes to time management and being productive, most people will search for these techniques.
They thought that all they need is a working system and they will become productive. This is only partially true.
If you don’t have the energy and the motivation, you will not be productive even if you have the best task management system.
This is why a lot of people found that time or task management system won’t always work for them.
When they have the energy and are driven, these systems will work great for them. However, when they don’t have the energy and motivation, they won’t act on the systems.
How many times have you learned about new techniques in time management, but you don’t really apply them into your life?
In fact, you already know about all these techniques. You know about time blocking, the famous Pareto’s Principle, creating a schedule, measuring your progress, the Pomodoro technique, creating a to-do list, etc, but are you applying them, all the time?
You don’t have to answer me. There will be days that you feel no motivation and no energy at all that you want to procrastinate and delay everything.
This is very common because humans are emotional animals and we will be affected by our feelings.
Therefore, if we want to achieve maximum productivity, we cannot depend on only one pillar. We need all three to work together.
3. Self Management
The final pillar is about motivation and habits. This is another important area where most people neglected when it comes to personal productivity.
It is about managing yourself. Some people are extremely hard working. They get enough sleep each day, they wake up early and they get to work for long hours. They are busy, but the problem is that they are working on the wrong tasks.
They don’t have a good time or task management system and they don’t follow Pareto’s Rule to do the important work.
As a result, they end up being busy the whole day but are not producing many results. Have you seen people like this? Or are you one of them, at times?
You have to understand that you need the motivation to do a task. If the task is easy or when your momentum is there, you will attend to the task, no problem.
However, when the task is boring and difficult to handle, you may require more motivation to overcome the inertia and do the task.
Zig Ziglar once said:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
And he was right. You need motivation to take action, unless, you have made it your habit.
Ever wonder why you will never forget to brush your teeth or forget about wearing your shoes when you go out? Well, maybe you did, once in a blue moon.
But these are deeply rooted habits that you will do it no matter what. They don’t require much motivation because they are habits.
Thus, if you want to improve yourself and be productive, learn to motivate yourself, and then turn the progress into your habits.
People are most motivated when they first set their goals. They imagine all the great things that are possible to them. They look at the positive side and are driven to achieve their targets.
Unfortunately, motivation doesn’t last and success does not come to them instantly.
When they took action and they don’t see the results they want, they started to lose steam and doubt themselves. Eventually, they will abandon the project and call it quit.
Never let this happen to you. Learn to manage and master yourself. Know your strength and know what motivates you to take action.
What Can You Learn From Here
First, you have to understand that to achieve optimum personal productivity, you have to develop these 3 pillars together.
You cannot improve your productivity by just using the time management tool alone when you don’t have the energy to do the work.
You need all 3 pillars to boost your productivity:
1. Energy management,
2. Work/task management, and
Therefore, work on all these 3 pillars together.
Learn to manage your energy. Get enough sleep. Take a short nap when necessary and maintain your energy at the optimum level.
Learn to use time management tools and techniques to work more effectively. Use the Jerry Seinfeld technique to build a habit, apply the Pareto 80/20 Rule to get the most important work done and plan your day.
Learn to manage yourself through self-discovery. Understand what motivates you and what drives you. Review and revisit your goals and dreams every day.
When you have the energy, you know which task to work on and you are motivated to do it, you will become super productive.
This is how you can reach your personal best.