Productivity Circle — Fundamentals

This article was originally posted on tonyfreed.com

Efficiency is the key

“Productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production.”
Wikipedia.

We have only 24 hours. So, if we want to produce more, we need to do it in a more efficient way. It means, on the one hand, make better decisions, prioritise tasks and projects, generate more creative ideas. On the other hand, we have to be 100% committed and focused while working on something.

A few years ago I developed and used since then the productivity circle. It all starts with slowing down, relaxing and refreshing. Planning and prioritising on the next step and finally working sets. Important to notice that working sets shouldn’t be longer than 60–90 minutes, followed by 20–30 minutes of downtime. Otherwise, productivity will go down.

Relax & Refresh

Rest is fundamental to success, health, happiness and, as a result, to productivity. As the saying goes, “Even God rested on the seventh day.”

Take breaks

Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60–90 minutes. So take a 20–30 minutes break to recharge. Walk, read, play guitar, take a nap, whatever. Just don’t keep sitting at your desk. The key to higher productivity is to work smarter and efficiently, not longer.

Sleep well

Get enough of quality sleeping. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep is important. But what is more important is the quality of sleep. Adjust the room temperature and cut out the distractions. Regular exercises and healthy food are also crucial for sleep quality. You will feel more energized, and as a result, more productive.

Eat healthy food

Spikes and drops in blood sugar are both bad for productivity and bad for the brain. Smaller, more frequent meals maintain your glucose at a more consistent level than relying on a midday feast. Research indicates that eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day isn’t simply good for the body — it’s also beneficial for the mind. Ditch the alcohol, cut out the caffeine, and watch the cigarettes, set a gentler alarm.

Exercise and meditate

For many of us, it’s not easy to find time in our daily schedule for regular exercises. But the studies indicates that we should. Regular exercises and meditation are increasing productivity. It is important to make it a part of your daily routine to increase your productivity at work. It can help you release stress, create a creative game plan, and strategize your daily priority list. Thinking with a clear mind, combining exercise and meditation, helps workers stay on task and focus better.

Think & Decide

Before getting to work, we have to understand what should be done, when and why. First and the most important thing to check is the possibility to remove or delay the task. The second check is can we delegate the task.

There is no much productivity in working on something that is not very important or can be done better by someone else. There is zero productivity in doing something that shouldn’t be done at all. It’s better to think twice and not start the project instead spend time and money on something not worth it.

Review your tasks daily

The morning routine is paramount for high productivity. Planning and reviewing daily tasks helps us to focus on what is important and achieve bigger goals faster.

Quickly review incoming tasks

New tasks are are coming all the time. Emails, phone calls, slack notification, ideas, bugs, etc. We cannot spend our day on reviewing each one of them as they come over. What we can do is to categorize them quickly by the level of importance. If the task can be done for less than 2 minutes, no reason to delay it. If it will take longer, better to save it for later review.

Write everything down

Every task and idea should be written somewhere. Otherwise, we forget about them, thinking about them again and again. Productivity is about efficiency. There is no productivity in doing something twice.

Produce

Real productivity comes when we 100% focused on the task. In order to focus we need to be motivated and to be able to focus. We’re not going to talk here about motivation at this post. Ability to focus depends on an extensive list of things. Some of them are very subjective. All these things can be divided into two categories: your personal ability to focus and the environment.

Personal ability to focus.

It’s hard to focus if you tired and burned out, if you ill or hungry, stressed out or can’t stop thinking about something not related to the task. That’s why refreshing and planning are so important for high productivity.

Environment

It’s also hard to focus if someone or something interrupting or distracting us. Teammates, family, loud music, room temperature. Adjust room temperature and light (if it’s possible), turn on music or nature noises if you need, turn off all the notifications, tell people not to disturb you.

Summary

Productivity is about producing more. Since we have only 24 hours, we need to optimize the process of producing. Refresh and relax to be able to focus on tasks. Think about future tasks, plan and prioritize. Focus and produce the results.

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