I admit that lately, my productivity has slowed to a trickle, like sap dripping from a sleepy maple tree. There's something about the quarantine in Canada (I'm writing this from Tkaronto, Ontario) that has felt like a long hibernation... a hibernation that has now brought us to the middle of July. Can you believe it?
As things start to reopen and social distancing starts to feel a little less distant, an undertone of anxiety bubbles under my surface. A voice whispers into my ear to "work, work, work" while my body tugs me deeper into my sheets to "sleep, sleep, sle..."
There I go nodding off again.
Now although I don't believe that our productivity represents our worth, I won't deny that getting something done feels good.
So in response to the modern day #hustle guides on "how to increase your productivity" and "how to crush your to-do list," please enjoy Daily Magic's version of real productivity.
TIP 1: Set a finish line and stick to it.
I know that sometimes we can't help it. The to-do list is overflowing and the voice in our head is saying, "I'll get one more thing done then I'll stop." The problem with this pattern is that we're creating a habit of working till we're burnt out and we're not setting any clear work boundaries for ourselves. If we work until we are absolutely exhausted, then we are leaving zero energy and mental capacity for anything enjoyable at the end of the day.
Try this: Pick up to 3 things max that you want to finish. Be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you have to finish those goals and be honest about how big the goals are. If you only write down and accomplish one thing, that's great! Set a clear finish line and stick to it.
TIP 2: Prioritize Sleep over Stress
I'm definitely guilty of cutting corners when it comes to sleep, but I often find myself fatigued and full of regret the next day. As much as I wish it was true, coffee can't fix everything. When we don't get enough sleep, our bodies don't receive enough time to heal and recharge for the next day; it even increases irritability and our sensitivity to stress. While we're asleep, our brains enter a deep state of consciousness when information is processed and memories are stored. Without proper sleeping habits, we put ourselves and our brains at risk for long-term fatigue, fog, and other chronic issues.
Try this: Try setting a bedtime reminder or alarm on your phone about an hour before you want to sleep, so you can start unwinding and turning off screens. If you seem to struggle going to bed earlier, try skipping caffeine for a day or two to help balance your natural energy cycle. I know that might be a tall or venti-sized order but it's worth a shot.
TIP 3: Know thyself
Once inscribed on the entrance of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, now inscribed on this lovely blog post. Regardless of where you hear it, "knowing thyself" still rings true to us today.
Strive to know yourself and act accordingly.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have more energy around noon-time? Do you like working through lunchtime or do you need more breaks to help your focus?
Try this: reflect and write down all of the things you know to be true about you and how you work. Are you a visual learner or and audio learner? Do you need to write everything down? Does music help you focus or does it distract you? Be honest with yourself and look at what you've got with pride!
Let's Face it
There will be hundreds of posts and social media graphics that will tell you to "do this" and "do that" in order to get more sh*t done. I've heard things like "make your bed first thing in the morning" and even "drink this herbal tea" to be more productive. At the end of the day, your life shouldn't be measured by the amount of items you check off your list, or the number in your bank account. Your worth shouldn't be measured by the amount of accomplishments seen by the public or the things listed on your resume.
Challenge what society (and maybe your mom) tells you about living a "successful life." Let ample self-care, proper rest, and self-awareness be your tools for a revolution. Let productivity be defined by the moments you've lived and not the hours given away.
Seeing you & rooting for your glow up,