Work Smarter//

Getting Things Done Shouldn’t Be Complicated

Turns out, we're making things a lot more complicated than they need to be.

T.Dallas / Shutterstock
T.Dallas / Shutterstock

I’m all about productivity tools and systems. But sometimes, other writers in this field overcomplicate things when it comes to getting things done.

They talk about systems that require so much time and energy to follow, that productivity becomes a task by itself. Others are so focused on using the right apps on their phones and computers that they are distracted by technology.

It’s easy to miss the mark when it comes to productivity. Because why do we even use productivity systems? The purpose of productivity is to get things done effectively, so we have more time to spend on things that matter to us. Plus, applying productivity strategies should make doing work more enjoyable.

At least, this is true for most professionals. No one wants to be productive for the sake of being productive. What’s the point of that? And no one wants to take all the fun out of their work voluntarily.

If you’re reading this article, I bet this is not the first thing you’ve read about productivity. In fact, the readers of my blog are generally people who’ve read multiple books on the topic. 

They know about most of the productivity tips. And yet, they struggle to get things done and feel overwhelmed. This is something I can relate to. 

Knowledge itself will not help you to get more done

I can honestly tell you that I’ve read about every productivity advice that exists. I can never be sure I know all tips but in the past 15 years, I’ve read a lot about how to get more done.

Plus, I’ve applied nearly all the advice. I even took cold showers years ago because I read that’s supposed to be good. Like most people, I realized that it was a gimmick.

The truth is that most advice in this field is a gimmick. People craft all kinds of stories to convince you their system is the best. I took the opposite approach and often made fun of those types of articles. 

That’s how I a lot of likeminded readers found me. The truth is that mastering productivity is very simple.

To get things done, you get in good mental and physical shape, you don’t sacrifice your sleep, eat healthy food, avoid alcohol and drugs, and remove distractions from your work environments. Ideally, you also work with a Pomodoro timer to improve your focus.

There are a few more effective tips for getting things done that I share here. But that’s about it. It’s very simple. And yet, it’s hard to apply it. That’s why having more knowledge is useless. It will not help you to get more done.

We’re always in a conflict

Look at this way. You have two voices inside your head. One says, “Screw all this working on your goals stuff. Just kick back and have a little fun.” The other voice says, “C’mon, you know that you need to work on yourself. You need to wake up, get your shit together, do you work, hit the gym, eat clean. You’ll feel better afterward.”

The other voice jumps in, “Afterward!? Screw that! How about now!” 

Those shenanigans go on all day in most of our heads and it will not help you to get things done. When you’re constantly managing those voices, you’re wasting a lot of energy. Energy that you could be used to read a book, go to the gym, or work on your passion project. Most of us are aware of this process. As a result, we get frustrated.

At the end of the day, we look back and think, “Why did eat the whole chocolate bar? And why did I spend all evening on my phone? Was that really necessary?” You and I both know that the answer is no.

The next time you get upset or disappointed if you wasted your time, realize that you have an option. Sometimes we pretend that our focus is outside of our control. After all, there a lot of distractions in the modern workplace. 

Emails, Slack messages, annoying co-workers, demanding bosses, useless meetings that go on forever, you name it. Don’t blame other people for your lack of productivity. You can and you should achieve your full potential. 

Give the following technique a try if you want to get more things done

It’s very simple. Simply sit down or get in the position you work in. Physically get in your work position. That’s the whole technique.

And that’s also the only way to get work done. You know this. But here’s the thing. Sometimes we do everything to avoid getting into our position.

We grab coffee, go for a walk, read a book, run errands, whatever to avoid that chair and desk. I do it all the time. But you know what I also do? I sit myself down. I tell myself, “Do just one thing.”

I put my phone away and close my internet browser. Then, I start working on one small thing that I scheduled for that day. And then, like magic, I start working. 

Look, I’m oversimplifying this whole thing. And you’re reading a 1000-word article on siting down to get work done. Don’t you know this stuff?! Sure you do. So why don’t you do it? 

Honestly, getting things done is sometimes as easy as sitting down. 

Guess how I wrote this article? Before I sat down, I re-arranged my book shelve like someone with OCD. I tried to escape. The lazy voice inside of my head wanted me to open the Netflix app.

But I didn’t cave. I sat down. 

“Is it really that simple?”

Yes, getting things done is really that simple. Now, that doesn’t mean staying productive is easy. Making progress in your career and life is difficult. The funny thing is that we only make it more difficult by using the wrong productivity systems.

But at some point, you have to sit down and get started. Put your phone away, grab a cup of coffee/tea, or some water, and get in your working position. Now, just finish one task. I tell myself that all the time. And it always works.

Don’t believe me? Why not try getting in your work position now? Just see what happens next.

This article was originally published by Darius Foroux.


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