It might seem counterintuitive, however, the only way to achieve more is by doing less. Productivity is not about working harder. It is about working smarter.
Frequently, the desire to achieve massive results transforms into the desire to do everything and be everywhere at the same time, trying to seize every opportunity available.
Productivity is mistakenly associated with hard work and the results are often associated with the amount of work you are capable of doing. Work harder, get up earlier, stay up later — those have been considered to be prerequisites of better results and incredible productivity for a long time. In reality, this advice very often appears to be completely misleading.
In fact, the only way to achieve the highest efficiency of your work is to start doing less than usual.
1. Cut Your Task List In Half
Firstly, postpone the tasks that are not urgent. This will relax some time constraints and let your work at a normal pace. Secondly, delegate. Identify the tasks you are not good at. Delegate it to a person that has exceptional knowledge in that field and will enjoy the execution of the assignment. You do not have to do everything. Learn to delegate. Thirdly, find those points on your To-Do list that could be simply deleted. Seriously. There are always things that do not have any weight and the absence of their completion is not going to harm your overall progress. Delete them and move on.
2. Flex Your No Muscle
We all suck at saying “No” to people. The reason for that is we do not want to seem rude. Every time someone asks for help she hears “Yes!” in response. Eventually, after several yeses you end up showing your commitment towards things that matter most to other people and not for you. As a result, you spend your most precious asset, namely time, executing things that have nothing to do with your own goals. Therefore it is crucial to learn to say “No”. You can be sure, it will not sound rude if you say that you already have another commitment and do not have any time for help. This magic word is going to save you a lot of time and let you focus on what matters most to you.
3. Do Not Overwork
The desire to stay up late often seems to be a great possibility to do some extra work and make a leap in your progress. Regrettably, in the long run, this strategy is going to harm your productivity and make you more vulnerable to stress and failure. The pace you attain your goals with is not measured in hours spent struggling over extra tasks. Therefore, quit this race and make sure you stop in time. A few additional hours of work will do nothing but make you feel tired and ruin the entire next day. Work a decent amount of time per day and then stop just in order to do the things you love and let your brain have a rest. If you want to better manage the time you are working, try to track it.
Max Lukominskyi is the CMO at Evopaper, company behind Slice Planner – app-powered paper planner that makes your schedule look intuitive, so you can manage your time and get things done easily. His writing has been featured on Inc, Business Insider, BBC, The Independent, Huffington Post, IB Times, Thought Catalog, Medical Daily, The Muse and dozens other outlets.