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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Columnist: Rudolph Mensah

3 ways of becoming more productive in a busy world

In the world today, we have replaced effectiveness and productivity with business.

We think because we are busy we are productive. No, Denzel Washington once said “because you are doing a lot more doesn’t mean you are getting a lot more done” and I perfectly agree with him.

Everyone is overwhelmed with busy schedules, how do we become more productive? Students have busy timetables, there is 9-5, entrepreneurs and business owners are “slaves” to their work and the 24 hours not enough to finish anything.

Marriages and relationships are falling apart because there is no time anymore for anything and anyone except work and work. There have been a lot of productivity hacks shared around the world as the need increases to be productive and effective. Many only waste your time on fruitless ventures and never get anything done.

A lot more of us rely on will power as we’re taught to. “I am going to write two articles for online publication today,” I say to myself, at the end of the day, I have written nothing then I am disappointed with myself. It leads to what is called “ego depletion.” I begin to think I am such a failure for not doing what I said I will do.

For this reason, I wrote two books in a series I titled GETTING THINGS DONE which are available on amazon.

Today, I am going to give you three ways you can become more productive. Are you ready to become more productive?

1.JUST START

First, write down what you want to get done. Write a book, paint your room, arrange your books, you have an essay to finish or you have to analyze data for your boss. You will be tempted to look at the enormity of the task and postpone it. If I have to write a 10-page essay for school. I may be tempted to ask, “when am I going to finish?” Then, I will give up entirely.

So, one way to become productive and get it done is to simply start. Don’t worry about how long it will take you to finish. When I wanted to write my first book, there were lots of things I didn’t know and that could have deterred me but I just started and the rest they say is history. There is power in starting. Stop talking and start.

Another reason why starting will make you productive is because of what is called ZEIGARNIK EFFECT. In psychology, the Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. There is a sense of unfulfillment. Due to this effect, we are likely to go on to finish once we have the courage to start.

Don’t wait to feel like doing it before you start. Once you know what you want to do, count 1 to 5 and then just start.


2.SET DEADLINES

I love deadlines. I am working on a project with a friend, we’re co-authoring a book. The only reason why we are making progress is because we set deadlines. When it comes to time management, it is not how long you do it but how deliberate and well you do it. Don’t rely on your will power as I said in the introduction, you should have disciplined schedules. You have an essay to write and submit tomorrow.

Give yourself a deadline, say, 9pm today. Don’t just say, “I will write it this evening”, no, it wont work. Don’t rely on your will power to sit up this evening and write, you will fail yourself and never get it done. Again, work in chunks, every 90-min work warrants a 10-15 break. Don’t make yourself busy throughout the whole day. Productivity is a science. Also, make yourself accountable to how you spend your time. Create a log of how much time you spend on every activity you work on eliminating the time wasters. Social media is obviously one of them.


3.MULTITASKING? NOPE, IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU SMART, SMART PEOPLE FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME

Research says that focusing on a single activity create a lot of energy and passion for completion. We have been taught to think that when we multitask, it means we are being productive. Multitasking robs you of your focus and only makes you good at everything at best when you can be great at one. Focus on your most urgent and important task, what Brian Tracy calls the frog and eat that frog first. When you finish, you can move on to other frogs. E.g: In looking to build my personal brand online, I didn’t go to Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, google plus, LinkedIn and others all at once.

My focus is on building my audience on Facebook first, then I moved to twitter, growing my followers and then moved to LinkedIn and started building my network. When you have already mastered Facebook and twitter, now it will be easy to combine them but don’t do it right from the beginning. Recently I joined Pinterest and I am navigating the app for my author brand on Amazon as a recommendation from an author friend of mine in the United States. John Maxwell says, “Everyone has the power to impact the outcome of his life.

The way to do that is to focus on today…Today is the only time you have. It’s late for yesterday. And you can’t depend on tomorrow.”

I will end with a quote from a man I admire so much, Peter Drucker, he said: “Concentration is the key to economic results. No other principle of effectiveness is violated as constantly as the basic principle of concentration… Our motto seems to be, ‘Let’s do a little bit of everything.”