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Secret Key to Achieving More by Doing Less

Baskar Sundaram

We are being surrounded by more and more things daily. Even the tasks we need to complete in a day only seem to be increasing. We often stretch ourselves too thin and end up either not completing the tasks or compromising on other matters. Hence, we are constantly looking for ways to boost our productivity. This is the wrong way to handle things.

Given below are some ways by which we can do the right things that save time and also complete tasks:

Wrong Concept of Productivity

We think of productivity as doing more with the given time. When we apply this concept at work, we are just endlessly working because work never ends. Obsessing on speed will only decrease our productivity. Instead of aiming for productivity, aim for freedom. Freedom to focus or even the freedom to do nothing. Doing nothing is also important as it helps us think and boosts creativity.

Rejuvenate

When we find ourselves with more tasks to do, we automatically cut out on relaxation and fun activities. Most of the time, we compromise on sleep. Sleep deprivation affects focus, creativity and even decision making. Humans are also social creatures, so spend time with family and friends. If our relationship with others deteriorates it affects our mental state and eventually our work life. Doing fun activities like painting, hiking will boost creativity and recharge our mind and body. Understand that we have finite energy and pushing ourselves to do more will lead to more problems in the long run.

Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks

Productivity is not about doing more things. It is about doing the right things. How do you identify what are the right tasks to complete? Rate each task based on passion and proficiency. Tasks that score high on both passion and proficiency should be the ones you pay attention to the most. Tasks that score more in proficiency but less in passion should mostly be delegated or passed on to someone else. Tasks that are you are passionate about but lack the necessary adeptness, will lead to wastage of time in a work environment. So handle those tasks carefully.

The Power of No

Learn to say no to favours or tasks that take up most of your time and keep you away from goal. It might seem scary, but understand that your rituals, routine and priorities come first. Prioritise what’s important to you. Each time you say ‘yes’ to something you might be losing out on something significant. Agreeing to work late? You cannot have dinner with your family. 

Try to build a ritual for morning and evening. Your morning ritual should help you feel energised and ready for work. It can be journaling, making coffee, checking your emails and more. Your evening ritual should help you to rewind and relax. It can be as simple as reading a book or spending time with family. Rituals provide a structure to your life.

Set Goals

You always need a plan to hit your target. Start every day with three goals you want to achieve that day. This gives you something to aim for and keeps you focused and motivated throughout the day. Another way to plan out your days is to plan an ideal week. Start with a blank sheet of paper and write down what your ideal week will be. Your ideal week could be anything you want. Also, give yourself plenty of time to rejuvenate. Your ideal week will help you to prioritise and make plans for each day.

Distractions

We are surrounded by distractions. Each push notification screams for our attention. Each time we get distracted, we lose focus and then it takes a lot of time to gain that lost focus. Since our world is built to distract us, what can we do to stay focused? Allot a particular time daily to check mails. Keep your notifications off or use the ‘do not disturb’ feature. Use apps that help you focus. Keep your desk organised and clutter-free. A cluttered desk will easily affect our mind. Create a ‘not-to-do list’ and write down the tasks you will not pay attention to that day. Take small steps every day to help you focus. 

Productivity is about doing the right things and being smarter about how we handle tasks. It is not about doing more and more tasks. It’s about building a routine that will nourish both your body and mind and also minimise distractions.

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