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  • Writer's pictureSaffron Sumner

Truths of Productivity: Aiming for Progress, Not Perfection


Welcome to the world of productivity, a fascinating realm where the goal isn't perfection but rather effective progress. If you're reading this, you're already aware that productivity is critical to our professional and personal success.

But as someone who has ventured deep into the realm of productivity, I'm here to tell you that there's a lot more to it than you might think.

The Myth of Constant Productivity

One common misconception that often trips us up is the idea that we should always be productive. This belief, my friend, is not just unrealistic, it's also counterproductive. It's akin to expecting a car to run endlessly without ever needing a refuel. Quite simply, you'll end up running on empty.

I've discovered that balancing periods of intense focus with phases of lighter, less demanding work leads to a more sustainable productivity rhythm. So, if you've been relentlessly chasing non-stop productivity, it's time to take a well-deserved breather.

Productivity and Perfectionism: The Tricky Tango

Perfectionism can be a major stumbling block in our journey towards productivity. As a confessed recovering perfectionist, I can attest that it's often the single biggest obstacle preventing progress.

We end up stalling by continuously striving for perfection, hindering our movement to the next stage. So, remember, when it comes to productivity, "done" is better than "perfect".

*Note to self, take my own advice*

Finding Your Productivity Hacks

In the vast ocean of productivity advice, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of hacks out there. The key, however, is to remember that productivity is a profoundly personal journey. Not all strategies will work for everyone, and that's okay.

The process of trial and error is critical here. Test different approaches, keep what works, and discard what doesn't. For instance, I found that recording myself while working has done wonders for my productivity. It creates a sense of accountability, keeps me off my phone, and provides easy content.

Another trick I've found effective is alternating periods of hyper-focus and distraction-prone low-maintenance work. However, and this is crucial, productivity hacks are not magic bullets. They can only work effectively when a solid strategy or system is in place to support them.

Laying the Groundwork: Strategy and Systems

Before you can implement any productivity hacks, you need a solid foundation. This means having well-established systems and strategies in place. Time blocking is an integral part of my productivity toolkit, helping me structure my day according to my natural energy levels and other daily activities, such as working out, walking dogs, or eating.

The Role of Mental Health

Mental health is a complex and subjective subject that interacts with productivity in diverse ways. While some people might thrive under certain conditions, others might find the same circumstances overwhelming.

It's crucial to remember that a healthy mind is often productive, and maintaining a positive state of mental health is an essential part of any robust productivity strategy.

Tools of the Trade

The digital age has gifted us with a plethora of productivity tools. My personal favourites include Trello, Flora, and Notion. But remember, you don't need to amass a vast arsenal of tools. Select a few that genuinely compliment your work process.

The Power of Breaks

A non-negotiable aspect of my productivity journey is leisure time and regular breaks. No work on weekends, no late nights, and frequent holidays have become sacrosanct. After all, a rested you is a productive you.

Dealing with Distractions

Distractions can sneak in anytime, often wreaking havoc on our productivity. It's essential to have a strategy to deal with them. Writing things down through mind maps, on a notepad, or sticky notes helps me stay focused.

Mindfulness and Productivity

One often overlooked aspect of productivity is mindfulness. This practice of fully attending to the present moment has been shown to have numerous benefits, including increased focus and reduced stress levels.

Developing mindfulness can help you avoid falling into autopilot mode and allows you to make more deliberate decisions about how you spend your time. Incorporating mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or mindful walking, can be a powerful productivity booster.

Productivity and Physical Health

Your physical wellbeing plays a substantial role in your productivity.

Regular exercise boosts your energy levels, enhances your mood, and improves cognitive function. Similarly, a balanced diet provides the nutrients your brain needs to function effectively.

Pay attention to the importance of quality sleep too. A well-rested mind is far more efficient, creative, and focused.

Learning to Say No

In our quest to be productive, we often take on more than we can handle. Learning to say no is a valuable skill that can help safeguard your time and mental energy.

It can be challenging, particularly if you're worried about missing out or disappointing others. But remember, every time you say yes to something, you're potentially saying no to something else, including your own productivity and wellbeing.

The Role of Environment in Productivity

Your physical environment can significantly impact your productivity. A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind, while a calm, organised environment can enhance focus and efficiency. Consider your workspace's lighting, temperature, noise levels, and overall aesthetic.

Small changes can make a big difference.

Reflect and Refine

Productivity isn't a destination; it's a constant learning and adaptation journey. Regularly reflect on your productivity habits, strategies, and tools.

Are they still serving you well, or is there room for improvement?

Continual refinement based on your evolving needs and circumstances ensures that your approach to productivity remains effective and sustainable.

Productivity is far more nuanced than simply getting more done.

It's a holistic approach that involves being mindful of your mental and physical health, the environment around you, the tools and strategies you use, and even the art of saying no.

Remember, the journey towards productivity isn't about chasing after perfection or trying to do it all. It's about finding what works for you, implementing solid strategies, and maintaining a healthy balance. And always, it's about giving yourself the grace to be perfectly imperfectly productive.

PS. Watch FREE, recorded webinars where you can learn about self-managing self-employment!

Hey, this is at the start of the journey. It would be cool if you would follow the social platforms and join the Facebook Group.

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