The real secret to productivity


Do you want to be incredibly productive and create your best work? Here's your answer... stop working so hard!

You might have been waiting for a new type of schedule or for me to tell you that waking up early, cutting out caffeine, and giving up social media will change your life. If you shift your way of thinking a bit, you can see that maybe the fight to being productive is so hard because we are simply trying too hard. The truth is that some of us may never be the kind of person to do the same task for two hours. Some people just may not be geared to follow the same order of tasks every single day. Some people can try every scheduling app out there and still feel overwhelmed and inadequate.

That’s because the real secret to productivity is having an understanding of what works for you and having a healthy understanding of the way your brain works.

I am about to share my secret to making the most of your day and fulfilling your potential. Most days I sit down at my desk and let my brain do its own thing. I have a list of tasks that I follow, and I organise them in a system that makes sense for me, but I don’t try to over-analyse my agenda or pack events and tasks in tightly. I use a time tracking app that lets me see exactly how much time I spend on a project even if I don’t finish it all at once. I can see how much time I spent on each project, and if I need to be spending more or less time on specific projects, I adjust accordingly. This system works well for me. I get everything done, and at the end of the day, I feel great! I thrive when allowed to operate in a controlled manner of chaos and multitasking. When I gave myself the opportunity to look inward and tried to work with my brain instead of against it, I discovered that this was the best workflow for me.

But don’t do what I do- that is not what this article is about! I want you to take inventory of what your body is telling you. Throw out the rules. You can sleep in and work late if you want. Go ahead and move around the house during the day or restrict yourself to one room. Take more breaks, or take fewer if your brain works better in long spurts. Multitask or don’t. Use five scheduling apps or just use a notebook. Whatever works for you is right.

Mastering your productivity and focus takes work and it’s a journey to finding yourself and what works for you. We all have days (ahem, weeks) that we may not be feeling our most productive or want to do any work, but when you give yourself the room to grow, that self-love will change your career. It really is ok if your intuitive workflow is incongruent with the kind of workday that you are “supposed” to have. Allow yourself to set aside the pressures and opinions of others and concentrate on you. Being kind to yourself means that you listen to what your body and mind is telling you. This approach doesn’t have a set system or number of steps. There is no one-size-fits-all magic formula for success. Being yourself is the best way to achieve true fulfilment and productivity!

By Catherine McGuire