So many days it seems like there just aren’t enough hours.
I feel that way a lot of the time and yet I still think I’m pretty productive. Honestly, when I’m at my busiest, I’m most productive, because I have to prioritize carefully. My productivity falls to nearly zilch when I have too much free time on my hands because I have trouble forcing myself to do anything when it seems like there’s time to do it later.
So I try to stay busy. And I’m largely pretty productive.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to get even better at it.
I’ve just read The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey who took a year off of life to focus full time on studying productivity. He performed all sorts of (borderline insane) experiments, which are a lot of fun to read about and, hey, better him than me, right?
One of my favorite conclusions was that getting up early doesn’t necessarily make you more productive if you’re not a morning person! Full disclosure, I don’t think of myself as a morning person and I hate getting up early, but unfortunately, I am one of those people who focuses better and gets more done in the a.m. and does actually benefit from forcing myself to get up early.
However, there may be hope for you. If your creativity and ability to focus peaks in the afternoon or evening, Ben Franklin’s 5 AM wake up call will probably not make you more productive.
I also loved the section on Emptying Your Brain. You all already knew I was a big fan of making lists, but Chris went over why I apparently love making lists, which was kind of cool to learn. Stuff like to-do lists gets what you need done out of your short term memory, freeing it up to achieve other things. My most productive days are set up something like this**:
- Unrushed morning – able to eat breakfast and get ready calmly.
- Checking in with God and some Bible reading (essentially the equivalent of meditation for you non-religious folks – as far as productivity is concerned).
- A little time spent writing down the day’s to-do list and prioritizing what really needs to get done.
- Tackling that to-do list.
It was interesting to me that my most productive days hit on all the points in The Productivity Project. Chris harps a lot on the importance of prioritizing and taking time to meditate. Knowing what motivates you to do the things you want to achieve makes you that much more likely to achieve them and that motivation can often come during your quiet moments.
**Needless to say, it’s a rare day that actually goes like that for me, especially out on the road. But when it does, I’m like a productivity machine.