“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once” - Albert Einstein
Unfortunately, for most of us, our busy lives and daily routines make things feel like everything does happen at once. So much so that we strive to become masters of multitasking as we juggle through our daily tasks. Oftentimes, balancing all of our priorities, from our family lives to our workloads, becomes not only stressful but unproductive too.
I think it is safe to say that if we could lower our workloads we would have already done so. So what can we do to increase our productivity? How does one make time so everything doesn’t happen at once?
I’ve got 3 easy steps for you...
1. Calendar Events & stick to your Timeline
Plan your workdays ahead of time. It is important that we all make the distinction between “being busy” and “being productive”. If you’ve ever had an “uncontrollably” busy day where you look at the clock at 5 PM and think “Where did all my time go? I’ve got nothing done!” Then it’s time you take control of your busy days. The best way to do so is to give yourself a strict period of time to spend on each task. Use your calendar to segment your time and provide yourself with uninterrupted time for each task you wish to accomplish that day. Giving yourself micro-deadlines helps create the urgency needed to be truly productive.
2. Stay away from Shallow Work
What is “shallow work”? This is stuff like checking emails, responding to voicemails… all the little things that pop up throughout the day and get in the way of our bigger tasks. Shallow work is the opposite of “Deep Work”. Deep Work is a phenomenon that was brought to light by Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University. Cal Newport is the author of the Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, Deep Work. (A book I highly recommend to anyone who’s looking to improve their overall productivity.) Deep work is practiced when we allow ourselves to focus solely on one task at a time, cultivating deep and meaningful thoughts that lead to meaningful work and as a result higher productivity.
Pro Tip: Build a timeline that affords you time to do shallow work all at once. For example, responding to all emails once a day instead of doing so as they come throughout the day, opens up more time for deep work.
3. Don’t waste time on Social Media
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are wonderful for connecting with family and friends. Yet, we must stop and think about how much time we spend on these platforms actually connecting with friends and family? I mean can you really say that each time you log into Facebook you do so with the intention of saying “hi” to your grandmother? Or to connect with an old pal? I think it’s safe to say we often log onto social platforms aimlessly and without thinking. For instance, have you ever closed out the Facebook App, stared at your phone for a couple of seconds and opened it right back up? Exactly. This behavior disrupts our days & clashes with our ability to be productive.
By staying away from mindless social media surfing, sticking to a timeline that provides us with segmented time for each of our tasks and, focusing on Deep Work, each of us can increase our productivity. So I encourage you to begin thinking in terms of Deep Work, Calendar your events to minimize time spent on shallow work, and perhaps the hardest of all- think twice before aimlessly logging into Facebook.