When most people want to improve their productivity, they make small changes, like creating a daily schedule or waking up early. However, you can also increase your productivity by moving abroad.
Moving to a country with a less expensive cost of living can enable you to work less, thereby devoting your spare time to other projects.
If you run a business, moving to a cheaper country means hiring local experts for less.
With the saving, you could employ people such as domestic help, allowing you to devote the time saved on household tasks to your work.
If you can work remotely from your computer, you can take advantage of living somewhere where the time zone gives you a head start on your clients based on where you are now.
You could also have a few hours each morning to complete other tasks before your clients are ready for their working day.
It's a productivity system that teaches how to take a simple approach to improving your productivity, by encouraging you to focus on forming one productivity-boosting habit at a time.
To clear your mind and improve focus, get your ideas and to-dos out of your mind and onto a list.
Documenting to-dos in the moment lessens the likelihood that you'll forget to do something and gives you a master list of to-dos to reference when you're trying to decide where to direct your time.
For your to-do list:
...says that when working on big rocks (the most important tasks), you need to minimize distractions as much as possible.
You're more likely to complete small tasks in a single working session, and more likely to make better progress on big tasks/projects that you need to work on over multiple sessions.
There are two main mental biases which add stress to our lives:
Though it seems radical, one can be indifferent and focus on one’s strengths, uncover one’s hidden passions and try to find meaning and purpose in life using self-reflective activities like mediation or journaling.
Working on high-priority tasks can be hard, but it is even harder to stop working on them. One needs a weekly or monthly review and reassessment to check what is important to us and deprioritize certain tasks which are no longer serving one’s best interests.
There are various mental biases like the sunk cost fallacy, the completion bias, or the Zeigarnik effect that our brains can experience, making it hard to deprioritize certain tasks.
Many studies on productivity point out that we are only doing 2.5 to 3 hours of productive work on any given day. While most companies and managers expect the 8 to 9-hour productivity on a daily basis, we need to let go of this 9 to 5 office culture.
We need to build a new schedule that aligns with our body clocks and energy levels to best suit our work and has the work-life balance we always wanted.
We all have different Circadian Rhythms that make up our own chronotype, and are at our best if we work according to the same daily energy levels.
Our chronotype determines if we fall in one of the three types: A lark, an owl, or the third bird. Once we find that out, we can work our schedule to be the most productive, creative, motivated and focused.
Our habits power our daily actions, but we all cannot build the same habits and have to find out what works for us in a scientific manner.
One can use a productivity tracker or simply write a journal tracking the activities, using the following method:
As our digital tools can be used anywhere, there are no boundaries between work and the rest of our lives.
We need to set a limit to the amount of digital labour (email, Zoom calls, phone message responses) we keep doing all the time, and focus on people, projects, hobbies, and ways to find meaning and purpose.
Putting highly successful people on a pedestal can unknowingly hinder our own efforts. We get caught in comparisons and it’s easy to forget that they’ve had and still have their own set of struggles and challenges on their path.
Use highly successful people as inspiration, not idols.
Working well is not about maximizing every waking moment of the day, in order to get more done. And the focus on maximizing time may actually diminish our creativity.
Instead, try identifying and focusing on the few hours of the day you are most productive.
To achieve sustainable productivity habits, it’s best to build up with easily achievable tasks.
Small chunks of accomplishment will amount to something big eventually.
Be selective about the apps and systems you use.
Updating and optimizing our productivity apps and systems makes us feel like we’re accomplishing something. But there's a catch in this: that “something” is managing our productivity apps and systems, not actually working toward our goals.
Rewards may work in the short term, but real mastery and success are due to genuine interest, not the lure of rewards.
Cultivate intrinsic motivation. You should be able to enjoy the process with or without any reward.
The theory of finite willpower has recently been called into question. Newer research suggests that willpower may be more variable, and based on context and culture. But although willpower is malleable, it’s important not to overdo work at the expense of leisure and relaxation.
Developing small habits, or rituals helps build willpower over time.
Visualization doesn’t inspire us to jump higher, but rather causes us to become complacent. People also become more easily deterred by setbacks because, in our fantasy version, nothing went wrong.
Use your imagination, but realistically. For example, use your imagination for possible challenges and setbacks.
Many people stay busy because that's the norm for them, and they cannot imagine themselves sitting idly. To avoid the busyness trap:
Rather than being hard on yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, be more supportive of yourself and understanding of your challenges.
Try changing the way you talk to yourself when you’re trying to build up the motivation to do something. Positive self-talk and self-support will help.
When you feel overwhelmed by the mountain piled tasks you have to do, the first thing to do is to make sure you organize the tasks according to their urgency level.
Remember to reorganize your tasks and focus on what is important for the day. If there are tasks that can be moved to be done before the end of the day, then so be it. Just do not forget your priorities.
How you perceive your task list is how your brain will respond to your perception. If you see your task list as overwhelming and scattered your brain is going to allow itself to think that it is like that
However, if you shift your perception and think of it as something you're doing because it is important to you or because you want to take the time to cultivate your self, hobbies, or anything in your task list, the brain will allow itself to rewire and adjust to that perception.
Providing full focus towards your tasks will energize you to finish right away and the pile of tasks will decrease one by one. If you notice the urge to do something else, breath and let go of the thought of doing something else, and focus back to the task on hand.
Give yourself time to adjust and get your focus on. Once you see the progress you're making, you'll be thanking yourself.
What we do in our downtime matters. For example, sports-related hobbies are beneficial for recharging because they require active engagement and distract the mind from work-related issues.
We all know that a constant connection to your work makes it harder to switch off after a day of work. We have to set time aside to recharge properly.
One approach for recharging leads to balance and recovery. It suggests you use your downtime for something unrelated to your job that will refresh you. Think about it in terms of detachment, relaxation, autonomy, mastery, meaning, and affiliation.
You first have to understand which of your needs are least satisfied by your work, then choose hobbies which fulfill these needs. If your work does not offer enough social interaction, pick a social pastime. If your job is not challenging, choose a hobby where you can learn new skills.
Enrichment Theory offers a perspective from work psychology and points out that the skills and experiences we build in our free time can complement our work performance.
It suggests that you find a hobby that touches on your job in some way. If you want to use your leadership skills, play the role of team captain for your local soccer team.
Both perspectives of work psychology - one based on balance and recovery, the other on enrichment - are correct, depending on how you view a particular hobby. Consider if you take the hobby seriously or not.
A serious approach would be where you actively identify yourself with the activity - for example, you describe yourself as a climber rather than climbing as something you do.
For serious hobbies similar to your work, research found that if you spend too much time on them, you're effectively spreading yourself too thin, and it could dent your confidence at work.
But, taking a casual approach to a hobby that is similar to your work may benefit from the overlap.
A hobby that is taken seriously is not a problem is it is sufficiently different from work.
Spending more time on a serious hobby that is different from work is beneficial as it leads to feelings of greater professional confidence.
During World War II, the BBC broadcasted upbeat music in factories twice a day to see if it might step up the pace of work and get the military what they needed. It worked. One report stated that the output at a factory increased by 12,5-15%.
Since then, music has started to play an important role in productivity.
Playing the right music in the office motivates staff.
When you're concentrating, you'll want calmer, more relaxing music. At the end of the day, when you're feeling tired, you'll desire more upbeat music.
There are two possible ways music might be beneficial while working:
Some famous composers' work has better cognitive benefits than others. Studies show that Mozart's sonata increased "alpha band" brain waves, which is linked to memory, cognition, and problem-solving.
The "activation theory" is the idea is that people need a certain amount of mental arousal to function effectively.
One 1995 study found that when workers at a large retail organization were allowed to listen to personal stereos for one month, regardless of their choice of music, their performance improved significantly. The reason for improvements in productivity was how relaxed they felt.
Some scientists think that music doesn't help us at all. It's possible that we view the ability to listen to music as a privilege from our employers, and convincing ourselves that we are working harder in turn.
In some contexts, music is actively detrimental, such as problem-solving, while listening to more cognitively demanding music, like jazz. One study found students performed worse in reading-comprehension and maths scores when they did them to music.
One meta-analysis concluded that background music disturbs the reading process and has a small harmful effect on memory, but has a positive impact on emotional reactions and improves achievements in sports.
Music might be beneficial in the workplace, depending on the type of work, the genre of music, your control over the music, and your personality.
Managing time gets challenging as our career progresses and we take up more responsibilities. Five ways we can manage our time like a successful leader:
About 40% to 60% of our day is taken up by important stuff that needs our attention but is not on our daily calendar.
Planning our day accordingly, keeping about half of it free for these 'out-of-calendar' activities, is realistic and sustainable.
Instead of committing to getting the requested assignment done as soon as possible, factor in some buffer time and ask for a couple of days or a week.
This will help you get the work done along with any 'reactive realities' that come up, and it's a win-win if you get it done before the deadline.
Rather than having habitual meetings, make them dynamic and result-oriented.
Focus on the problem, and ensure there is a continuous follow-up, giving people space to brainstorm and come up with solutions.
You need to figure out when your brain works best and get heavy work done in those productive hours.
These windows of 'brain time' cannot be wasted with meetings and chores that end up wasting your time.
We normally get frustrated and can have a frowning expression when we are interrupted while being busy. When saying a 'no' can be impolite, a better way is to say 'yes' and then asking respectfully to fix a time to discuss.
The best leaders know the value of time and are proactive and purposeful in handling their daily calendar.
Instead of checking off a list of tasks, concentrating on one big thing in a day turns out to be a lot more fruitful and gratifying.
The important, big things can be 'baked-in' your calendar, while you keep track of meetings and appointments.
The Might-Do list acts as your goals list that you will incorporate in your coming days while doing your routine work.