Dr. Mac Powell Discusses Four Ways to Increase Productivity
Time management is a very personalized skill and essential to effective and productive work. Those who master time management find that the quality of their work improves while personal satisfaction and happiness are maximized as well. In this article, Dr. Mac Powell discusses ways to ramp-up productivity and make time work for you. Giving up worthless activity, setting priorities, boosting determination, and learning to focus will help you create space for a more fulfilling life.
Get Rid of Activities That Are Worthless to You
The key to understanding when activities are providing no real return comes through understanding that everything is placed within a context. There are times when staring at your phone may provide you with valuable information or some needed entertainment. Likewise, sometimes, watching the news is informative and beneficial. However, if we find that we are merely staring at random content on our phones or watching television for no real reason whatsoever, the actual return on time invested is probably zero or a net loss. Try avoiding things that do not add to your enjoyment or productivity. Or maybe create bumpers of time where you say, "Less of that and more of ..." well, something that you enjoy and that brings value to your life. You may be surprised how easy it is to get rid of worthless activities.
Learn How to Establish Priorities
We are challenged every day to determine which tasks must be done today and which ones can wait until tomorrow, or even another day or week if necessary. Placing unnecessary priority on tasks while ignoring more critical ones creates inefficiencies and ultimately leads to burn out and failure. At least weekly, list out all of your current projects, obligations, and deadlines. Think about which tasks are urgent and rank everything in order of importance. Rank tasks based on the estimated time investment each will need and whether they are locked into specific dates (meetings, appointments, etc.). Be flexible when scheduling and be willing to cut out tasks or activities that are not necessary or that interfere with the completion of more mission-critical tasks. And, most critically, break these tasks into smaller increments and cross them off as you complete them. The brain loves the chemical rewards associated with accomplishments, so give yourself as many of these rewards as possible.
Give Your Determination a Lift
Determination doesn't come and go with the wind; it must be cultivated and maintained. If you do not want to or expect to achieve a goal, you won't. Period. When you have set a realistic goal in mind, you must consciously determine what steps are necessary to reach that goal and assert the willpower to take those steps. Be aware of the power of delayed gratification to boost your determination. Think of the way you will feel when your end goal is achieved and how the slack time or other things you are giving up today to get to that feeling of accomplishment are insignificant in your big picture.
Work on Focus and Concentration
Focus and concentration are like the muscles in the body. They only grow and become stronger with effort. Building brain power can help you become more productive and more easily reach your daily and long-term goals. Eating well, exercise, sleep, and recovery all help. Exercise and healthy eating will give your brain the physical maintenance and fuel it needs to run at peak performance. Adequate sleep will help you recover and unconsciously process the avalanche of information you take in every day. Find enjoyable activities that challenge your mind as opposed to passive viewing and spectating. Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body when it comes to your productivity and success.
About Dr. Mac Powell
Dr. Mac Powell is a lifelong community change-leader and an avid believer in doing better for the world around him. Dr. Powell has consistently made strides in change management and community development. Dr. Mac Powell holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Missouri and pursues his passion for diversity inclusion as a mentor to LGBTQ professionals. As a clinical therapist, an executive of several universities, and chair of ACE's Commission on Education Attainment and Innovation, Dr. Powell has dedicated himself to helping others improve their lives, especially in empowering them with greater access to affordable higher education.
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