3 Productivity Tips for Busy Bees

Written by Arielle Faeldan | July 13, 2020

Stressed out woman in front of computer
Career and professional development/ Time management tips for work

With various self-help books on the shelf, your second cup of lukewarm coffee in hand, and 300 emails in your inbox, I’m guessing that you consider yourself a very busy, and sometimes over-worked person. While all of us have the same 24 hours a day, how is it that some people seem to be able to do it all, while for some others, simply keeping our lives on track feels like an uphill battle?

How can we improve our lifestyle? You don’t need to spend extra money on the top productivity apps to start making a change. In order to maximize time and energy, we have gathered 3 time management tips on how to defeat procrastination and get stuff done.

#1 You Own Your Time

“I don’t have time” is a phrase a lot of us will use to get out of social events, to put off a hideous task we know we should do, or to convince ourselves that we truly are not able to advance further in a certain area. To get things done, a simple mindset shift will set you in the right direction to better time management.

Time clock
Tips and strategies for time management

Realize that your time is fully and 100% in your control. At every given moment, you are doing what you most want to be doing. When saying “I don’t have time to go to the gym,” that actually translates to “going to the gym isn’t currently a priority at this moment.” By internalizing the fact that you have full control of your time will not only bring peace of mind, but also give you a better view on how you might want to better spend your time.

#2 High-Leverage Housekeeping

The idea of “getting work done” is commonly linked to the production of artifacts—a chapter for the book you are writing, a spreadsheet or document of information to a research, a solution to a school problem you are given—and the value we create seem to be the only measure of productivity. The idea of having to always create more often keeps us running in the hamster wheel of constantly having to do more, be more, learn more, more more more… In order to produce more, the key is to produce efficiently.

flat lay image of phone, laptop and planner
Time management tips to improve productivity

In a podcast hosted by Cambridge doctor Ali Abdaal and his brother Taimur Abdaal, they introduced the idea of high-leverage housekeeping.

High-leverage housekeeping is the metaphorical tidying of the toolshed, pruning of the hedges.

In simple terms, high-leverage housekeeping is to take some time to set up a functioning system that simplifies your work process and reduces friction—physically, digitally, and cognitively. Take time to do the administrative work for yourself by setting up a platform online or even keeping a binder of all the documents, projects, pieces of information that is normally floating around, creating a sorting system for your emails, photos, and bills. Make use of productivity apps and planners that will make your professional/student life that much easier. These tasks lack the immediate gratification of producing value, but the organized system frees up the cognitive space and mental energy for you to actually be more productive while you are busy at work.

#3 Different Types of Fun

Most time management tips and productivity strategies are very helpful based on the condition that we are ready to get up and going. However, working is not usually fun (surprise!), so we inevitably fall into a slump from time to time. To get out of the dark corner of laziness and indulgence, learn to recognize different types of fun and where work lies between them.

In a blogpost written by James Stuber, fun is divided into two different types:

Type 1 Fun: simple, unadulterated fun

Type 2 Fun: reward coated in suffering presence

Not Fun: not enjoyable now, or ever

man hiking, walking over rocky terrain
Productive efficiency

We tend to only associate enjoyment with type 1 fun, because it is the most simple and straight forward type of entertainment and relaxation. Playing video games, eating potato chips, or laying on the beach is fun. There is no immediate consequence to it, but the enjoyment is instant. However, type 1 fun doesn’t lead to ultimate happiness, but sometimes emptiness. On the other hand, type 2 fun is not fun’s look-alike brother. It requires some effort, or even suffer, to start off with, while the reward kicks in the future.

Type 2 fun is the last bench press set in your workout routine or a late night up writing your paper. The present suffer and future reward don’t connect well in our minds, which is why we tend to avoid it all-together.

When going through a block, remind yourself that what you are working on is fun, just not the instant type 1 fun, but the rewarding type 2 fun. To experience the runner’s high, go hard at work and push through the phase with sore legs and shaky breath to get there.

Want more tips on upgrading your lifestyle? Read more here:

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Lifestyle improvement strategies

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