September 07, 2016
Struggling with productivity at work? Is the soothing lull of procrastination too tempting to resist? You've probably tried and tested hundreds of productivity tips, from the Pomodoro method, to taking ten-minute naps, and while these might work well for the first week or so, you find yourself slipping back into bad old habits. Here's three methods you may not have thought of, that you can add to your arsenal to boost your productivity at work.
Do you go home at the end of the day with a lingering sense of frustration that you did nothing at all? Even though your whole day consisted of thousands of small tasks, ranging from answering emails, writing a few sentences on a report, and attending meetings, you still leave work with the feeling that more needs to be done. The problem is you lack courage. If we perceive that the cost of failure is too high - we buffer this potential failure by committing to multiple smaller tasks. This ensures failure before we've begun because we don't give enough attention to any single task enough in order for it to succeed. "By attempting to do too many things at once, we guarantee none will get the time and energy it needs to succeed. We must realize that committing to many things commits us to failure. Our very search for the sure thing actually sabotages our chances," writes Pearson in a recent Entrepreneur article. Instead of scattering your attention across many different little projects, have the courage to focus on one project, even if the risk of failure is high, and stick to it.
With the likes of Facebook, instant news feeds and games like slither.io, it's hard not to think that technology is one big productivity killer. But if you make smart choices about your technology, you can enhance your productivity and create more time. The Tesla Model 3 has the famous Autopilot feature, which leaves you free to do other things, like brainstorm ways to tackle your big project, or hold a hands free conference meeting (afterall you can't yet go completely eye-free).
After you get your Tesla Model 3, go for a drive with Alexa. Alexa is the name given to Amazon Echo a voice activated device that can do everything from checking the weather, to order Chinese delivery, or adding milk to your grocery list. However, Alexa does need a power supply in order to work, so maybe leave her at home.
If you're more into apps take a look at Evernote to help you capture your inspirational thoughts, organize your notes, and enhance collaboration. Collaboration apps such as Trello, Asana, and Microsoft Planner can give you an easy, bird's eye view of your daily tasks. Franz this Emperor of Chat app collapses all of your chat and messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Slack, Viber etc into one central place. No more switching apps!
Try the latest Silicon Valley fad - biohacking! Yes this really is a thing. There are a whole host of Smart Drug companies, such as Nootrobox, taking Silicon Valley by storm with their weird and wonderful concoctions designed to give you a cognitive edge so you can skyrocket your productivity. You can take the fad even further and hold company wide fasts to increase productivity. The employees of Nootrobox regularly fast for 36 hours. Company co-founder Geoffrey Woo says that Tuesdays, the company fast day are "one of the most productive of the week." Personally I'm going to stick to good old Vitamin C and three square meals, but to each to their own...
When you've got a huge problem before you, it's normal to want to solve that problem as soon as possible. So you engage your whole creative thought to solving this one problem. You might get lucky and solve it easily, but sometimes, to your utter dismay, you'll find yourself in a feedback loop, stuck on the one thing. Often, the answers to your problems can only be found if you become comfortable not finding an immediate solution.
Comedian John Cleese, who is renowned for his creative talents, advises putting aside one hour for creative thinking to let the deeply creative thoughts in your subconscious truly take shape. It's important in this restful stage to allow your thoughts to play with the creative problem, but try not to solve them. Brian Bates, professor of psychology at Sussex University says, ""If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it's 'when does this decision have to be made?' When most of us have a problem that's a little bit unresolved, we're a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved." By this reasoning if you postpone your decisions, you will uncover a truly useful solution to the problem at hand.
Like all good things in life, productivity is a skill to be learned and what works for me may not work for you. Keep trying new tips and tricks to get you out of work day slumps, and most of all, go easy on yourself if you find yourself in a hour long Facebook scroll session. It could be your subconscious was busy solving a huge problem on your behalf.