Everyone who aims to achieve more in life knows that the only way to do that is by being super productive and deliver more in the time we have available. However, the concept of productivity almost always entails its fair share of anxiety and stress.
When you think about achieving more every single day, you need to get more done. More work equals more stress, right?
While many believe that the more productive you are, the more stressed you will be, I beg to differ. See, being productive definitely requires a lot of efforts from your end but if you know the secret that the successful people have been using for decades, you can be productive while being calm!
The Illusion of Productivity
Most people think that they are productive because they keep checking off tasks on your to-do list? They keep adding every task to their agenda and at the end of the day feel productive.
However, after a few weeks, if you ask them, they will tell you that they could have achieved more. The reason for feeling unsatisfied even after completing tasks is because of the illusion of productivity.
Getting things off the checklist has become one of the top priorities for most of us. Completing routine tasks from the to-do list has become an addiction! It’s not wrong to do this. Creating a to-do list of your tasks and making sure you complete them is one of the best things you can do to succeed.
However, adding low priority and routine tasks to the list and feeling good about it when you have more important tasks pending, is not the best approach and will take you nowhere!
This is an issue that most of us struggle with. We confuse movement with progress! We start believing that adding more tasks to our list and completing them will help us become more productive and successful. We forget to sort the list based on priority and end up spending time on tasks that don’t have the most impact.
We should remember that every task does not contribute to our progress. What separates highly successful people from others is their ability to prioritize.
Being Productive requires Prioritization and Planning
Most people believe that being productive needs, you to seize every moment and crush every task that comes your way.
What most people fail to understand is that productive people are masters at prioritization and planning. Only when you truly understand the art of prioritization and planning, you can unlock the stress-free productive state of mind that you are craving.
When you know how to prioritize your tasks and plan your days, weeks and months in advance, you can be super productive while avoiding the stress and anxiety.
However, it is easier said than done. For most people, the dilemma of priorities consumes them, and they feel paralyzed by the sheer amount of tasks piling up in their to-do list.
There are many ways to prioritize your tasks, and the one that has proved to be most useful to me is the Eisenhower Matrix.
The simplicity of this method has done wonders for me, and I am sure it will help you in your pursuit to be more productive.
Also, for planning, you can block out time every night, weekend and month end to plan for the coming day, week and month respectively. While this might sound overwhelming, trust me with time, you will enjoy this exercise.
Why Prioritization and Planning Works?
The reason why prioritization and planning are so effective in decreasing the stress and anxiety in your journey to be more productive is anticipation.
The primary reason for our stress and anxiety is the anticipation of the future. Whenever we are in a situation where we have pending or missed tasks, we stress out. Whenever a task presents itself, the first thing we do is get overwhelmed by the efforts required. Most of the time we procrastinate until we have no choice but to get the task completed at the 11th hour.
When you know that the tasks that are important is taken care of before anything else and also understand that the tasks that you need to complete are allocated specific time in your schedule, you automatically become less stressed.
Also, planning allows you to break down large tasks in smaller manageable tasks that can be spread over the days. This technique will enable you to not only get the task completed before the deadline but also ensures that you can maintain the quality of your work.
Being productive is something that we all want, but when we get stressed in the process, it can be our worst nightmare. When you plan for in advance and learn how to prioritize your tasks, being productive becomes more natural than it ever was. I have just mentioned the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritization. If you have been using any other method for prioritization and planning, please do share it in the comments below.