Saturday, October 24, 2015

Number 1 Challenge On Productivity Gain and How to Hack it!

Number 1 Challenge On Productivity Gain and How to Hack it!

Psychological Obstacle for Productivity

There are many tips for productivity gain. Many of them are some kinds of task or prioritisation systems. These systems are usually designed to help us to improve on efficiency. However, I find that the productivity challenge for most of my friends and myself is more on the psychological side.

The psychological challenge is mostly a matter of our nature to avoid pain and failure. Let's face it, we may make big promises to ourselves to force us to do better and get things done quicker but at the end many of us procrastinate and feel totally tired to move forward. It is because our smart brain see ahead of the daunting challenge of the complex task ahead of us and subconsciously telling our body to skip to do other things that we fee more comfortable or enjoyable to do. If your lacking of productivity is really a matter of psychological issue, then no system is going to help you cause you simple will not do anything.

The No. 1 Tips on Productivity Gain

The most important thing we need to do is to build up our momentum happily. We have to make ourselves feeling good about taking on the challenge so we are not scared about it. To do so let's just keep thing simple & straight forward with easy targets which we feel mission accomplished quickly and easily. 

Thus the most important productivity gain solution is to ACT NOW. 

Just set our body & brain in motion to warm up. Let's not assume the unrealistic goal of producing a perfect product out of one attempt. Do expect and accept the fact that we may be doing thing wrong and have to start over again and it's okay. Do not over plan to be perfect (yes there are other things that demand serious planning but these are rare in life). Just get started to do the first version however drafty it may be quickly. Do expect that new ideas or inspiration will come while you are doing the first version. We will feel good in doing things and feel a sense of accomplishment. And we will be more comfortable or even more motivated to do the new and improved version if needed. Hack may be it's even more practical that we do the draft version to gain realist experience we we can do the project right! 

To be playful with words and acronym, let's call the number 1 tips on production as ACT
  1. Act on the first small task that can be done within an hour or so
  2. Complete the task and feel happy about it. Make a big check mark or draw a happy face on your notebook to reward yourself!
  3. Take on the next small task 

In sum, if you feel you have procrastination or lacking energy to take on a challenging project is your reason for not having enough productivity, just ACT now and motivate yourself to gain speed!

Other Productivity Issue

What I have just said in this blog post is for more complex task or projects which, due to the complexity, can simply overhaul our mind so we avoid getting started. For simple, repetitive tasks like checking email, we don't need to have draft and inspiration in reading email. We just need to act on checking email and get it done asap.  I have actually written something about this earlier with a "paper system" that I used in office. Perhaps you may find it useful here:

Time Management - My To-Do List System.