Increasing your productivity is a priority for most of us, in whatever area of our lives we want to focus on.
What’s your baseline though?
Do you know where you’re at – realistically – with your productivity right now? Well, that is your first step.
Establish your Current Productivity
There’s a couple of ways your can go about this. The easiest, for creative or work based productivity tracking, it to get a programme on your computer that does it for you.
I use Rescue Time personally, which promises to help you “find your ideal work‑life balance”. They’re right in saying though, that with so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered.
So they will help you “understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive”. I’m there for that.
The Rescue Time programme is free (there are paid options I believe, but I don’t bother with those personally), and just sits on your computer, judging you.
Nah, just kidding. There’s no judgement here. It’s a really useful, and sometimes very stark look at your productivity, or lack thereof, each day though.
It’s been invaluable for giving a long hard look at myself, and figuring out what I’m wasting time on, how much time I’m spending on ‘busy work’ that’s not actually moving me towards where I want or need to be going, and exactly where I can improve.
Like I said, it’s essential to know your productivity baseline right now, and take an honest look at that, before you can begin to improve it.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
If your productive work is off the computer, don’t worry, you can still get the baseline down. You have a phone right? Or some sort of digital device with a clock function on it?
Set a Productivity Timer
Right so, this sounds way too simple. But it works.
When you get up in the morning, you just refresh the timer on your phone (or whatever), and start a new day. Then you just press start when you begin to do something productive – however you’re counting that – and pause when you’re doing things that are not productive.
At the end of the day, you check your productive time, and write it down or otherwise record it somewhere safe. Then you do it again the next day.
For this to work properly, you’ll need to:
- Decide in advance what counts as productive activities. You can add things in as they come up, if they’re genuinely in line with your goals, but you’ll need a basic list to begin with.
- Be disciplined about using the timer. There’s no point in tracking this if big chunks of time that may or may not have been productive are missing from the day. So choose a timer that’s easy for you to carry round with you. (Seriously, your phone is ideal.)
- Review your productivity. Day to day, and week to week, keep a running record of your daily productivity.
And watch as your productivity grows, just by the actions of monitoring and managing it. Of course there’s lots more you can do to improve it, but establishing your productivity baseline is the first step.
So, start today. Tomorrow at the LATEST.
Be honest, be fair, and go easy on yourself for dogs sake. Drop any ‘perfect productivity’ expectations right now. Nobody is perfectly productive every single day.
This is an observation exercise, not a stick to beat your damn self if you don’t seem your day has been productive enough.
(Do you hear that, Lora’s Brain? That’s sound advice. We should take that advice. Right so.)
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