Anshu Kumari is a teacher and writer who helps people learn more about love, books & self-improvement.
It is very tough, isn’t it?
You tried to work the entire day, but you couldn’t finish a single thing on your to-do list.
You’re afraid that at this rate, everyone will get ahead of you. Your friends will get better jobs, fancy houses, loving partners, and earn more than you. They’ll be successful and live your dream life.
On the other hand, you could be jobless any day. You’ll have to move back to your parent’s house. You’ll have to drive your father’s car around. You’ll have to get the job at the nearby bookstore. In short, you’ll have to live a pretty mediocre life.
But you always wonder.
How do the others make it seem easy? How are they able to focus for so long? How do they achieve so much where you are struggling to get things done?
You follow the same productivity methods as them, but they top the job whereas you are average. You try so hard but cannot get better. You have tried everything but still can’t make it happen. You disappoint yourself and the others around you repeatedly.
You think using the same tools as the high achievers will guarantee you success. If you try all the tricks there are; eventually, you’ll break through and start earning more.
But the truth is it does not matter how successful a trick is for another person. What matters is what works for you. What kind of person you are will decide the effects of the tips.
Here are the top 3 tips that may help many to be better at their jobs. But you need to stop following these famous techniques if you want to be more productive.
1. Do not use Pomodoro for more focused work
You must have heard this term at least once in your life, if not more. Every personal development guru raves about the Pomodoro technique. And it may be pretty good for others. But is it good for you?
Are you someone who takes a 5 minutes break from work and NEVER returns to it?
It’s insane how many times I have tried to use Pomodoro at my job and in writing. But every time, instead of increasing my productivity, it drains my initial energy too.
I am a teacher. I have noticed that when I have a break between the classes, I usually end up canceling the next lesson.
I write in the evenings and late at night. If I get up from my chair before completing the draft, likely, I won’t finish it when I come back. Either I spend the night scrolling through social media or end up sleeping.
So I have scheduled my day in such a way that I teach with no breaks. And whenever I sit to write a draft, I never stop typing until I finish it. Many of my friends have advised me to take breaks. But I know very well what works for me. Do you?
Have you tried the 25–5 trick but didn’t see any significant difference in your work?
If that’s the case, try something different for a week. The next time you sit for your work, assign a 2 to 3-hour job to yourself. And do not move from your place before finishing it. Keep your water and snacks beside you so that you don’t buy yourself an excuse to get up.
Remember to keep track of the amount of work you do. It will help you notice the difference between the two techniques. You’ll need to try for yourself and decide if this tip works for you or not.
2. Do not assign a specific place for your work
Having a dedicated workplace could do you more harm than good.
When I was a kid, my mother put a chair and desk in the corner of my room. That was supposed to be my ‘productivity space.’ I did all my homework there. I didn’t understand then how it had affected my mind. But I recollect I could not learn my lessons anywhere other than that place.
I remember once we had a two-session exam in our school with an hour break between the two. During the interval, others were revising their lessons while I sat staring at the book in my hand.
I couldn’t learn anything, no matter how hard I tried.
Do you have a specific place assigned for your work?
Most importantly, does having a particular place help you or hinder you?
Having a workplace can increase some people’s productivity, while it could severely harm others’. You need to know what it does to you.
Change your environment from time to time. The world is open for you. Go anyplace you want. If you like to be in the Sun, go to your balcony or your backyard. If you want fresh air, move your work to a park. Want some quieter time? Take a chair with you to your terrace.
Now the office goers don’t have many options where to sit and work. But those who have free will over where they could operate from should exercise their rights.
It would be best if you didn’t attach too much importance to your writing space. All you need is silence while working. In this busy world, train yourself to do that from anywhere it requires.
Unless you have a medical problem and can’t move, MOVE.
3. Do not organize your to-do list according to the Eisenhower matrix
Are you familiar with the Eisenhower matrix?
It is a strategy to organize your tasks according to their importance and urgency. It helps you take action on the essential things and postpone the not-so-important.
When you open your eyes in the morning, the only thing you want is to have a pleasant day. Even when you’re lying on the bed, your mind runs through your to-do list for the day. It wants to predict the mood of the day.
What if you remember an important task that you despise? Will you be excited to get out of bed?
And what if that loathsome task is the first thing you have to do that day?
I know to-do lists are essential as they create a guiding light for your day. But how you arrange the events on the list should be up to you. Unless you have a deadline for something, you can create a list that gives you the ultimate joy.
Do you struggle every time with what to put on the to-do list?
I have classes from 10 am. And I won’t want my beautiful day to start with yelling at high school kids. I also won’t like to prepare for the next Parent Teacher’s meeting. So every day, when I wake up, I open my diary and write a scene for my upcoming book.
That book may or may never be published, but I love creating stories. That simple action gives me immense pleasure. And it sets me to tackle anything.
I’m not giving you a pass to waste your time the whole day. You can’t put playing video games as the first task. Put something productive and gratifying. I’m sure you must have something in your life that you love doing.
The next time you make your to-do list, write all the tasks lined up for the day. And choose a few of your favorite things and keep them high on the priority. Try different things every few days to see which works for you the best.
Doing this will set the tone for the day. And when you get into a merry mood, you can take on the world. What’s the big deal preparing for that boring meeting!
Imagine waking up tomorrow and realizing you have to do your favorite thing as soon as you get out of bed. That thought alone will bring a smile to your face.
So go, find that one thing.
Trying everything and still failing sucks, especially when others seem to get results using the same tips.
But finding the techniques that work for you can have dramatic effects on your productivity.
Imagine striking off all the items on your to-do list.
Imagine being a star performer at your job and receiving the admiration of everyone around you.
Just imagine living the life you have been dreaming about forever.
Choose one technique from above and avoid doing it tomorrow. Try to remove one every day from your schedule and see how it works for you. Continue what works and lose what doesn’t.
You could double your productivity in a day.