The Quickest Way To Increase Your Productivity

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The quickest way to increase your productivity is to let go of non-productive tasks. Productivity is more about being lean, doing more of the absolutely necessary. It's about reducing the trivial activities we engage in.


As an example, in addition to my personal development activities, online post-graduate study, work activities and blogging; I occasionally go to the cinema, I frequently burn time on Facebook, I take lots of short naps, I handle a lot of random requests and I try to be social. By my own judgement, going to the cinema is a great way to unwind so I try to keep it as an occasional activity. Also taking short naps help me relieve stress and become more efficient. But Facebook, chitchatting and most random requests I get are nothing but time killers. They zap my energy and time without giving me any value.

I try to reduce the trivial activities I get involved in and I have devised a great strategy in deciding which activity is trivial and which is not. I use sleep as my benchmark. Will sleeping now do me more good than what I am about to do? That is the question I ask myself always. If the answer is yes, I either go to sleep or swap the activity. This is aside from my compulsory night sleep. So I end up sleeping a lot during the day on some days.

I once chanced upon an HBR podcast: Manage your energy and not your time. It explained how it is unproductive to try to manage time, stuffing as much as you can in each hour. It emphasized managing your energy, making the most of your energy by thinking through your activities and doing only the absolutely necessary in the most efficient way. 

We all have 24 hours a day. There is nothing you can do to have more or less than 24 hours a day. The main difference between the highly productive person and the not very productive person is how they go through each day, the value they fill each day with. It's not by the number of activities or amount of interactions with other people but the valuable work you get done. And the quickest way to get the most valuable work done is by getting rid of the no value activities. You also need to be skilled at knowing what is valuable and what is not.

For some of us, dozing and cinema and doing nothing is valuable. For others, chitchatting and Facebook is valuable. So there is no universal standard to evaluate what is valuable and what is not. You have to figure out for yourself what activities are time wasters for you and that you need to get rid off because that is the quickest way of increasing your productivity.


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