Virtually every person in the world wakes up with the desire to have a productive day, but this eagerness is far from reality. All the plans to be productive start falling apart and by the end of the day, we wonder what
we did all day. This is especially true now that we have to adapt to a new sense of normality. But moments like this, despite the challenges they bring, give us a great opportunity to work on ourselves and develop strategies to achieve our short and long term goals.
In my life, I worked in many productions, from events to films, and I had to manage time and people, but most of all, I had to learn to manage myself. When you are a manager you have daily deadlines, and constantly new unexpected challenges come up in the wrong moments. You have to learn how to face unexpected situations while still be on time with your regular schedule. In the workplace, like in your personal life, you are the manager of your time and the decisions you take will affect your day. I had to gather all the learnings from my life and translate them into my managerial life to achieve what I can now do best: get things done.
But I wasn’t born like that. I had to teach myself how to be productive and how to get things done. Any person can learn this. It is a step by step process and it is different for each person, but I will share with you the lessons I learned in life, hoping that this will help you as well.
ASK YOURSELF IF YOU FEEL LIKE DOING SOMETHING, AND IF THE ANSWER IS NO, THEN DO IT ANYWAY.
If you know that you are a person who likes doing things, but always procrastinates, then force yourself. If you don’t feel like doing something that would be beneficial for you, do it anyway. Do it badly, but do it.
Sometimes your instinct works against you. You have to learn when you should trust it and when you should challenge it, but it takes time and experience. Try to say yes as much as you can. Life will open a world of possibilities. But don’t overdue. You need to rest too!
PLAN PLAN PLAN
Planning is the most important part of any activity. Start your day writing down your To-Do List. You can do it on a piece of paper, or buy a planner. Find what suits you better. Without planning, you will just find yourself drifting all day long from one activity to the other, wondering what you did all day. Write down a list and every time you meet a goal, go back and mark it done. At the end of your day, you will have a clear picture of the many things you achieved.
NOT ALL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE BIG
Everything you accomplish is an achievement. Don’t be discouraged by the size of the accomplishment. If you can achieve ten small things in a day, it is as good as achieving a big one. If you focus on what you didn’t achieve, you will never start working towards your big goals. Start today with small targets and the rest will come if you keep working hard.
LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE
If you think about the daily things of life as a nuisance, then you might be missing a big opportunity. Start looking at the bright side. If you have to pay taxes, it is because you have a job. Celebrate it. If you had a fight with a friend is because you have friends. All you have to do is to change the way you look at life. When you are in a line, don’t think that you are wasting your time, think that you are taking part in something bigger than you, called life.
EVERYTHING IS PART OF YOUR GROWTH
Every bad day is there to teach you a lesson. Learn from your bad days as much as you learn from the good days and always ask yourself “What is the lesson I have to learn from it?”. If you spend your time complaining about the bad things in life, you are actually missing an opportunity to grow and learn something. Bad things always happen, get used to it, and learn how to deal with them by taking an active part in your life. Learn your lesson and keep moving.
EVERYTHING IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
They say that Rome was not built in a day. In the same way, you won’t learn how to be the most productive version of yourself in one day, so don’t put that pressure on you. Pressuring yourself to achieve impossible goals will only drive you away from your goals. Another lesson here, don’t look back
and judge yourself for the person that you were before. Today is a new day, and we, as human beings, are works in progress, so don’t judge yourself for not being there yet.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF DOING THINGS BY YOURSELF. IF YOU WANT TO GET BETTER, YOU HAVE TO DO IT WITHOUT YOUR SAFETY NET
You learn much more when you are without your safety net. I have been there. Sometimes it is scary to do things by yourself, but if you give yourself the chance to go beyond your fears, you will find out that it was worth it.
DON’T BE A VICTIM
If you focus on what you deserve instead of what you have to do, then you will be stuck in the self commiseration cycle. Life is tough for everybody, and rarely we get what we deserve without fighting for it. For most people, it is all hard work. Envy takes away time and energy. Just focus on your work.
LEARN WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES
If you spend a lot of energy on the wrong things, you won’t have enough energy left for the most important ones. Certain activities drain your energy, and others invigorate you. There is no right or wrong. Going out with friends can either drain your energy or invigorate you. It is up to you to understand what really works in your life and know that what you need one day, might be different from what you need another day
There are foods that destroy productivity and foods that enhance productivity. Learn which ones work for you and, try to stay away from the ones that don’t help. An easy bad one is a fast food, but there is much more on that list.
GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE
If you don’t feel productive, take your computer and go to a cafe. It is easier to become productive when you surround yourself with other productive people. Cafes are good places for this. But also, when we get out of the house anything can happen. Maybe you will start a conversation with someone and a new door will open. Anything is possible once you get out of your house and open yourself to the world.
YOU DON’T NEED TO FEEL A FAILURE
Despite the fact that sometimes is very useful to touch the bottom, don’t give yourself daily reasons to feel like a failure. Didn’t we say that you need to plan out your day? Then write down every small thing you want to accomplish. Do you have to do your dishes? Write it down. If you do so, at the end of the day you will look at your list and you will notice that you accomplished much more than you thought. If you put in your list only the big things, you will look back at it and say that you couldn’t achieve anything. You don’t need that. Disappointment takes away the same good energy that you need to feel empowered and strong enough to achieve big goals. Do many small things and be proud of yourself, eventually, you will get where you want to be.