When I was young, my parents always told me that I need to be hardworking to achieve greater success in life. And I have the wrong perception to think that being busy equals hard working. I used to believe that those who are always busy are the most hard-working and the most successful.
After stepping into the working world, only then I discovered that this is not the case at all. First, people who are busy may not be the most hard-working, they can be busy working on something that isn’t producing them the most results.
In other words, being busy is different than being productive.
You can be busy, but it doesn’t mean you’re being productive. People who are productive usually have more free time for other areas of their lives, like relationship and family.
People who are not productive are the ones who usually find themselves working every hour and every moment of the day. No matter how much time they have, they seem to just don’t have enough time to do what they need to do.
Hence, ask yourself, are you being productive or are you being busy?
Here are 10 things you need to do stop to become more productive in your everyday life…
1. Stop trying to do everything yourself
People who are busy always find themselves trying to accomplish everything by themselves. They don’t really trust others and they prefer to do the work themselves because they believe others can’t perform better than them.
This is a wrong perception and you need to change it. Successful people seek help and rely on others to get the work done.
Look at all the big companies and organizations out there, they are not trying to do everything all by themselves. They hire people, they outsource, and they delegate their work.
You can only achieve so much if you do everything by yourself. No man is an island.
If you start a business on your own, there is only so much you can do. You have 24 hours to work on your business. But if you start with a partner, you have twice the time and energy to work on the common goal.
This is why you shouldn’t do everything all by yourself. If you want to create extraordinary success in life and you want to be productive, get the help you need.
2. Stop going through every day without a clear direction
Most people go through their days without having a clear direction, they don’t have a daily aim or goal to pursue.
When this happens, rather than working on your own plan, you become a part of other people’s plan.
If you want to be productive and get more done, you need to first identify your objectives and understand what you need to get done throughout the day.
This is why having a to-do list is important. Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur behind Virgin Group credited his success to having a to-do list. He carried a notebook with him everywhere he goes, and he said that having a to-do list has helped him better focus on what he wants in life.
Therefore, stop going through each day without first identifying what you need to do. You need to work on your priority. And to do that, you need to identify your priority.
Remember what the late Stephen Covey said?
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
3. Stop multitasking
You may think that to be more productive, you need to work faster and work on more things at once. After all, working on a couple of things simultaneously can help you get more done at the same time, right? Wrong.
According to research, multitasking actually lowers our productivity.
Our brains are wired to focus on only one thing at a time. This is why accidents happen when you try to drive and text someone at the same time.
You can’t talk to someone when you read or type too. Try talking to something as you type a paragraph on your computer, you will quickly discover that you will type wrongly.
When you talk, you will stop typing. When you type, you will stop talking. This is because our brains can only focus on doing just one thing at a time. This is especially true when it comes to work that requires your thinking power.
Unless your work is something mechanical like washing the dishes, you can’t focus your brainpower on more than two things at the same time.
This is why when I write articles, I don’t listen to songs with lyrics, else, I will be distracted by the lyrics because my mind wants to sing along.
Thus, try to focus on doing just one thing at a time and stop multitasking.
4. Stop checking social media and your phone every hour
So, how much time do you spend on social media a day? According to DigitalInformationWorld.com, internet users are not spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networking and messaging platforms.
That is a lot. Almost 2 and a half hours are spent on social media and messaging platforms.
The thing is that checking social media isn’t something necessary. Why do you want to check social media every hour? It has become an addicted habit that we all do.
We check social the first thing when we wake up. We do it throughout the day, once or twice almost every hour, and we check social media again before we sleep.
I know it is addicted to wanting to know what happens in the world and your friends now, but you don’t need to be doing it every hour.
If you want to be productive, you need to cut down time spent on social media.
If you spend 2 hours on social media every day, imagine what you can accomplish if you cut half the time and use the one hour to work on your goals.
Regardless of whether you use the one hour to learn how to code, to blog, or to learn photography, after a year, you will have master something useful to your life.
Hence, stop checking social media every hour.
I’m not saying that you can’t do so but be moderate. When it’s time to work, make sure you focus. And when you have completed your work, then, you can check social media if you want to.
5. Stop trying to be perfect
I bet you have heard about this before, perfectionists are less productive because they have to wait for everything to be perfect before they start working on it.
A study published by University Affairs showed that professors who are perfectionists have a lower productivity level than those who accepted the fact that they were only human.
When you try to make everything perfect, it will stop you from doing the work. Instead of taking action and executing your plan, you will wait for your plan to be perfect before you act.
This kills productivity because you tend to procrastinate more. Ask yourself these few questions below:
- Do you always worry that you didn’t do a good job?
- Do you always question your work and doubt your actions?
- Are you afraid to admit your mistakes?
- Do you always wait for the right moment to act?
- Do you always tell yourself that you cannot make mistakes?
If your answer is yes to the above questions, then perhaps, you are a perfectionist and you care about being perfect than getting things moving.
The key is that you don’t need to be perfect because nobody does. Understand the fact that you just need to get things moving.
The key to success is the ability to learn from your mistakes and failures. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the more you can achieve.
So, stop being a perfectionist because if you do, you will never learn anything new.
6. Stop being busy all the time
Do you believe that you don’t have enough time and you have too many works to do?
As I said at the beginning of this article, being busy doesn’t mean being productive. You can be busy the entire day only to discover that by the end of the day, you didn’t accomplish much.
You want to focus on doing the most important work that gives you the most result, not just any work.
Most people fail to be more productive because they try to do as much as possible. They try to take in everything without prioritizing what is important and what is not.
Not all tasks are created equal. You need to focus and work on what is important first before you move to other less important tasks.
Follow the Pareto 80/20 Rule as what Brian Tracy suggests in his blog here.
Remember this quote from Mark Twain:
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
7. Stop saying “yes” to everything
If you really want to be productive and get more done, you need to learn how to say “no” instead of saying “yes” to everything and everyone.
When someone requests your help, it is alright to say “no” because you have something more important to do.
You don’t have to reject blatantly, you can choose to attend to the request at a later time or direct it to someone who is more suitable to help.
For example, if you are in sales, you know that prospecting is important and you have scheduled it every morning, what if your junior comes to you and ask you to brief for about a certain project? Well, you can say “no” because you are doing something important, and you can attend to his request after you have done your prospecting.
This is a much better way of handling requests.
If you try to be everything to everyone, you will never be productive. You have to know what is important and what needs to get done, and then do those work first.
8. Stop living a reactive life
Productivity requires you to live a proactive life, not a reactive life. Meaning, you need to know what you need to do and accomplish each day. You can’t go through your day without any clear direction. If you do that, you will be reactive and respond to everything that comes to you.
Highly productive people have goals. They know what they want out of their lives and every day, they work toward that direction.
What about you? Do you have clear and specific goals that motivate you in life? If you don’t, use my Goal Setting Formula method here to set your life’s targets.
The thing is that if you have no idea what to do, you become reactive because you will wait for things to happen rather than making things happen.
Successful people are proactive people. First, they started with an intention. And then they turn their intentions into goals and objectives. And they then work relentlessly toward their goals and objectives.
So, stop living a reactive life and start becoming proactive. Understand what you want and start living that way to make it comes true.
9. Stop overestimate yourself
People often overestimate their abilities. They think they can accomplish more and hence, they have a long to-do list. But at the end of the day, they only accomplish a few of the tasks and feel dejected because they don’t complete the list.
Do not overestimate yourself. This is especially true when things are new to you. If you have never written an article before, setting a goal to write a 5,000 words article in 3 hours can be extremely difficult.
But too bad that most people overestimate their ability and thought that things are going to be easy. And they work on the task, only then they discover it is not as what they have expected and planned.
As a result, many people lost their motivation once they try things out. They find that things are not as easy as what they have expected.
Don’t let this happen to you. It is good to challenge yourself, but you need to also consider your own ability and work according to your own situation.
You don’t want to let your productivity suffers because you overestimate what you can accomplish.
10. Stop hustling without taking rest
Yes, you want to work hard and you want to hustle to achieve what you want in life, but you have to make sure you take rests too.
If you want to maintain your productivity, you need to make sure you take rests and breaks throughout the day. You can’t go on if you have emptied your fuel.
Our energy is like the battery bar on our phones. We need to recharge it whenever it goes low. You can’t go on every day without recharging your energy, eventually, you will suffer burnout and serious health issue.
Research has shown that taking breaks throughout the day is important.
You want to recharge and refresh your energy. Remember, taking a break is not a waste of time, it is to refill your energy so that you can go further and faster.
That’s how you maintain your productivity. Hence, don’t hustle without taking breaks. Take breaks and schedule them into your calendar.
Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. And not all tasks have the same impact on your life.
Therefore, if you are serious about being productive and produce a real impact in your life, stop doing the 10 things mentioned above. Cheers.