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Productivity for Busy Men

by Michael Leonard on September 14, 2021

Despite more useful technology at our fingertips than ever before, productivity is lacking. Not a little bit either, it’s a growing issue for people at work and home.

According to Go Remotely,

  • 41% of stressed employees state that stress negatively affects productivity.
  • The average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day.
  • Engaged employees are more productive, resulting in a 21% increase in profits.


But that doesn’t mean everyone is struggling to maximize their days. The good news is that there are tons of ways to improve productivity even if you’re extremely busy.

Here’s how…

 

How to Increase Productivity

1. Get Clear About Your Vision and Goals

Oftentimes, we’re not productive because we’re not inspired by our work. If you have a job that you don’t love and are just going through the motions, it’s nearly impossible to maximize your productivity.

But when you’re inspired by your vision, you won’t have to force yourself to do what you need to do at work. As Steve Jobs said, “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

Spending time on projects that you’re passionate about will instantly just make you have energy to get the work done. Make it a point to have a big picture vision and smaller, bite- sized goals to help you focus throughout the day.

 

2. Track Your Days

Before getting into all the things you can do to improve your productivity, the next step is to review your daily routine. By doing a deep dive of your current productivity levels, it’s easy to see what’s holding you back.

As Paul J. Meyer said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

Start by setting the intention to monitor yourself throughout an entire week. This will give you enough data to better understand the tasks and activities that are killing your time.

To track your days, start by:

  • Using time tracking software.
  • At the top of the hour, log what you did for the past hour with a note in your phone.
  • Recap your day before going to bed. Review any notes, time software, and total time spent on your phone.


After seven days, it will be pretty clear what’s killing your efficiency and what habits are helping you.

 

3. Make a Plan

Once you have a clear understanding of how you spend your time, the next step is to make a plan of attack. After tracking your every move for a week, it should be pretty easy to formulate a new plan to switch up your routines.

Start by mapping out your week by putting in the MIT’s (most important tasks) in your schedule first. Then, try to complete these tasks early in the day, when you’re most alert and generally more productive. Save the afternoon for less cognitive tasks and ones that don’t require as much effort.

Also, skip multitasking at all costs. While it feels like you’re being more productive, studies show that you aren’t and can hurt it by as much as 40%.

When you have a solid plan for the day, it should make it easier to stay focused on one task and get into deep work.

 

4. Minimize Distractions

According to the Go Remotely study mentioned above, “During one whole hour, employees get interrupted about 7 times, with each interruption taking up about 5 minutes of their working time.”

I would argue that one of the keys to better productivity, especially during work, is to minimize distractions at all costs. The more you can work distraction- free, the more you can get done in a much shorter time.

Here are a few ways to minimize distractions:

  • Use a time tracking software
  • Wear noise-cancelling headphones
  • Communicate with your team and/or boss
  • Hide your cell phone in a desk or turn off all notifications
  • Block off your calendar for specific tasks (usually early in the morning)


Otherwise, you risk losing hours of productivity every single day, which can also hurt your job performance too.

 

5. Create a Positive Space

Your environment has a huge impact on your productivity. As best-selling author Robin Sharma said, “Mess creates stress. So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.”

Aside from cleaning your personal space, make sure to include relics and other memories that inspire you. Whether it’s an award from work, a personal achievement, or a framed family picture. Each of these will help get you in a strong mental space to make the most of your time.

Related: How to Build the Perfect Home Office

 

6. Manage Your Stress

Did you know that some stress is actually good at helping you become more productive and efficient? But too much stress kills it.

It’s actually called “The Yerkes-Dodson Law.”

A Harvard Business Review discussed this law more in-depth. They found, “Performance increases with physiological or mental arousal (stress) but only up to a point. When the level of stress becomes too high, performance decreases.”

The study also found that different tasks require different levels of arousal for optimal performance. “For example, difficult or unfamiliar tasks require lower levels of arousal to facilitate concentration; by contrast, you may better perform tasks demanding stamina or persistence with higher levels of arousal to induce and increase motivation.”

The more stressed you are, the harder it will be to focus and concentrate on specific tasks.

This is why it’s important to monitor your stress levels on a daily basis. While a small amount of stress is beneficial, too much is detrimental to becoming more efficient.

 

7. Upgrade Your Mindset

Think about it, would you be more productive if you were thinking about negative, pessimistic thoughts… or if you were thinking about positive, empowering thoughts?

Positive thoughts can lead to more positive feelings, which will help you get motivated and take action. Make it a point to consistently monitor your thoughts and emotions so that you don’t sabotage your productivity.

Don’t forget, you are in control of your thoughts, no one else.

 

8. Exercise More Frequently

Exercise does the mind and body wonders. For productivity, it can be a game-changer as well.

A study from Briston University had 200 participants test their productivity on days when they worked out vs. days when they didn’t exercise. The results were impressive, as participants who exercised on work days rated 21% higher than those who did not exercise.

Needless to say, if you know that you have a big day ahead of you, don’t skip the morning workout. Your health and productivity levels will thank you!

 

9. Reward Yourself

As you start to become more productive, it’s important to acknowledge your achievement. Even an extra hour each day of productive time can make a huge difference in hitting your goals.

But so many high achievers skip this step, which can make it harder to stay motivated. As Positive Psychology said, “If you know that you have done your part and given it your best, go ahead and give yourself some incentive. Small rewards given to the self can increase work engagement that is directly connected to persistence, energy, enthusiasm, and pride.”

It doesn’t have to be anything big, either. Even a nice dinner or a new item from your Amazon wishlist can do the trick.

Acknowledge your wins so that you can keep them coming.

 

10. Don’t Forget to Rest

The final tip is to make sure that you don’t burn out by getting plenty of rest and recovery.

There is a big difference between being productive vs. being busy from hustling non-stop. We live in a society where people think being busy and hustling are always the key to success. But it’s not!

While a strong work ethic is required to get what you want, there is a fine line between hustle and burn out. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you are resting and recovering so that you can maximize your productivity each day.

A Sleep Foundation study talks more about the effects of sleep and productivity. The study found that:

  • More work often means less sleep.
  • 38% of employees experienced fatigue while at work in the past two weeks.
  • Sleep time is reduced by 1.5 hours during workdays compared to their sleep on non-work days.


Not to mention, big mistakes can happen when you’re sleep-deprived. As they mentioned, “Sleep deprivation can affect all employees and has even been linked to several infamous workplace accidents, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Challenger space shuttle tragedy.”

Needless to say, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your productivity and livelihood. While the other nine tips are sure to help you out, always make sure that you are prioritizing your sleep. And don’t forget to read other popular self-care strategies for men too.

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