In the book “The productivity Project”, Bailey tries to show how we can live more productive lives.
Chris discovered that to be more productive, there are three important things you must manage:
- Time: How we use our time throughout the day. How much time we spend doing tasks that are important and how much time we spend procrastinating
- Attention: How focused we are while doing our important tasks or how easily are we distracted.
- Energy: How much energy we have throughout the day. Do we have enough energy to complete our tasks efficiently or are we too fatigued to complete the task at hand.
Since time is a limited resource, it is important that we learn to manage it well. To manage time well we must increase the time we spend doing tasks with high return and decrease the time we spend on tasks with low return.
To be productive we should decide on three tasks that we plan to complete in that day. By planning on what tasks are important we get a better sense of direction as to what we must do that day to be productive.
Very often we know what we must do but we still decide to put the task off and procrastinate. By figuring out which of the following triggers are preventing you from doing your job you can decrease the amount of procrastination.
- lacking intrinsic reward
- lacking personal meaning.
I.e. if a task is unstructured you can plan and break down the task into smaller steps which you can work on one at a time. If a task is difficult you can research how to complete it more effectively.
Work on high returning tasks such as projects, and spend less time on low return maintenance tasks such as cleaning your room. Chris recommends 3 main ways to do this:
- Grouping all your chores/maintenance tasks and try completing as many of them at once. This means we should try to allocate one day of the week to do all our household chores.
- Become aware of how much and attention you spend on low return tasks.
- Shrink the task by setting time limits on the task because
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” – Parkinson’s law
In this day and age, our attention is constantly shifting back and forth from our social media and our work at hand. So it is crucially important that we improve our control of our attention and are better able to focus on our tasks.
We can improve our attention by performing a brain dump. A brain dump is an activity in which you write down everything that you currently have to do on a piece of paper or your phone. This activity relieves your brain from the job of constantly holding information and helps free up the brain’s resources. As a result, the brain can better focus on tasks you need to complete.
Now although it has been stated countless times, meditation has been shown to improve attention along with many other benefits it has. A study in Pennsylvania University confirmed these findings as researchers found that people who meditate had better focus and attention than people who didn’t meditate.
No matter how much time or attention we have, it may all be useless if we are too tired to do anything productive. Therefore making sure that we have enough energy throughout the day is an important part of being a productive person.
To manage our energy we must start off by focusing on our dietary habits. The author gives tips to help us maintain more energy throughout the day:
- We should eat more unprocessed food and cut down on processed food. Unprocessed food usually takes more time to digest and as a result, they slowly give us energy throughout the day.
- We should notice when we are full, and then stop eating.
- We should cut down on coffee and alcohol and drink more water.
Sleep gives us more energy and focuses for the next day. So although pulling all-nighters might sound like a good idea to get some extra work done. In the long run, getting less sleep will only decrease our productivity.
In the “Productivity Project”, Bailey talks about what being productive is, and he also gives us actionable steps so we can become more productive.
Now we may not ever be totally productive all the time. We may still sometimes spend time watching YouTube videos when we are supposed to work on an assignment. However, it is important that we strive to continually improve and work to become more productive so that we are better at achieving our goals.