I’ve decided to come out of the closet and proudly announce that I am a productivity nerd. I love this stuff. I love experimenting with new hacks, tools, apps, foods, exercises and ideas that boost my day-to-day performance, focus and energy levels. It’s so rewarding when you know you’ve given it 100%, whether working, playing or resting.
First, let me clarify what I mean by ‘productivity’. I’m not talking about technological processes or procedures (although this can come into it). I’m looking at personal productivity and how you can fulfil your goals by being more focused, driven, energised, purposeful and present in whatever you are doing.
It definitely doesn’t mean multi-tasking.
It means looking at what you do, what you say, what you eat, how you live and how you think. I’m talking about getting things done, using effective tools, techniques and systems. More importantly, getting the right things done.
I wrote earlier this year about what I learned in my first 12 months after leaving the corporate world. One huge realisation was that so much potential productivity goes to waste in the office environment.
When you are your own boss, you need to be disciplined and good at managing your time and energy for maximum impact. The same goes for working in a corporate environment, expect that there is generally someone somewhere who will nudge you if you aren’t on track.
By being more organised and productive, you ultimately free up more time to enjoy the fun things in life. And who doesn’t want more time?
It makes sense, right?
Join me and become a productivity nerd. Here are 5 ways to get started.
1. Write down your one big thing each day
What is the #1 thing you need to achieve today, no matter what? To do lists are ok but they soon become overwhelming and tasks become diluted. My big rock today was to write this article.
2. Make exercise and nutrition a habit
I work out religiously most days. It’s a habit so I don’t need to think about it. Listen to your body and do the type of exercise you need. Get your gym gear organised the night before. In the morning, just put it on and go.
And mix it up.
Feeling sluggish? Do a HIIT session or run to get the blood pumping and boost oxygen to the brain.
Tense muscles or mind? Get to a yoga class or do a cardio warm up followed by some light stretching.
Back pain and a forward posture? Your muscles may be weak so pump some iron at the gym or sign up for a Pilates class.
Also, focus on your eating. Prepare healthy lunches each Sunday for the week ahead or use a slow cooker to create easy and nutritious dinners.
3. Sort your head out
Don’t write reminders and to do lists all over the place. I used to be awful and jot down actions in notebooks, on my phone calendar, on Post-it Notes, scraps of paper, and even by emailing myself (anyone else guilty of that one?). For the last year or so, I’ve developed a system to gather all my ‘to do’ items in one place so I know exactly where to find everything and how to stay on track.
4. Nourish your mind
It was only after leaving the corporate world that I met a fantastic mindfulness coach and ‘brain trainer’ (thanks Divya) who opened my eyes to the wonders of meditation, reflection and self-awareness. At first I was apprehensive but, with daily practise, I started to see and feel the benefits on my mind and attitude. More focus, more clarity, less stress, less energy wasted on worrying – resulting in enhanced productivity. It really does work – you just need to do a little every day and soon you’ll look back and realise how far you have come. It’s also no coincidence that some of the world’s top athletes and CEOs happen to be fans of mindfulness and meditation.
5. Be in the moment
Following on from being mindful, it is important to be present. We know that multitasking is a ‘no no’ these days. However, the reality is that we are all still expected to work this way in the typical office environment. Distractions, emails, impromptu meetings and urgent requests all spring up. Not easy to avoid.
So if you have some really important work to do, get away from your desk and only take what you need to complete that task. Go to a café, work from home, put on your noise-cancelling headphones, book a meeting room or hide in the breakout area. Whatever it takes to avoid further distractions and to get on with that one thing you need to do.
Abigail Ireland is a high performance consultant with a background in corporate banking, strategy, business management and entrepreneurship. She is also a qualified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and nutrition coach.
Abigail takes a unique 360-degree approach to high performance, drawing on her business and wellbeing expertise to deliver targeted services for her clients. She explores business, physical, mental and emotional drivers of performance.
For more information on Abigail’s consulting, training and coaching services, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.