I was driving to my parents’ place this weekend and a few hours to do something productive while I was sitting in the car. I decided to listen to something, so I turned on John Carol’s podcast about productivity. It was about 35 minutes long and talked about different methods of being as productive as you can. After it was over I had a brief pause to grab a coffee. I stand there and started thinking about how I was approaching all that when I was younger. I realized that during my early twenties I’ve wasted lots of time that I could have used so much better.
In the previous article I mentioned that I started fishing about 15 years ago. That was my early thirties. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember anything special that I was doing to improve myself. Sure, my career as a psychologist was quite good and I had a pretty nice job in the marketing field so the salary was also really good. As a hobby, however, I never had anything beneficial and my weekends used to get wasted on going to the club with friends or watching sports while eating nachos.
I often wondered why I was so lazy and often blamed my parents for not disciplining me enough at the early age. Then some psychologists were suggesting that being lazy is linked to a high intelligence. While it seems nice to justify your lack of motivation with being smart, it still is not a full explanation. Finally, instead of wondering why I was lazy, I decided to actually start doing things and fix my laziness that way.
When I was turning 30, I remember I had a feeling of disappointment and realization that my life was not as great as it could be. If you asked anyone, I was a successful person – I recently finished my masters in psychology, had a stable job, nice apartment and was in general quite desirable bachelor. For me it was different. I felt strongly that my full potential was capable of much more and the fact that I’ve wasted so much time always saddened me. So, I’ve decided to change my life and here’s what I did to increase my productivity.
I started getting organized
You had to see how mess my schedule was before I decided to change it. Appointments were always in my head instead of in the calendar. I rarely took notes and if I ever needed to find an important paper, I used to go through the huge pile and spend at least 20 minutes looking for it. I decided the first step would be fixing all that up and become an organized person.
I started prioritizing tasks
I used to try to do things at the same time or waste time on something unimportant and then I did not have enough time on something that was really important for me. So, instead I made a list and gave each item a priority points (from 1-5). 5 was very important and 1 was not that important, but still needed to be done. I decided to dedicate most of my time to 5 and 4. If I had time left, I would do others. You have a limited time during the day and it is impossible to always do everything on your list. That’s why prioritizing tasks is so important.
I eliminated distractions around me
I used to have a small talk often with my co-workers about different time every time they passed my desk. That would distract me and put me off focus. Instead, I decided to put a sign “I’m working” and no talking was allowed during that time. I did not become asocial at all. I talked to them during the breaks. It was so good for me that my co-workers started doing the same thing.
I started exercising
I know it sounds like it has nothing to do with productivity, but after I started exercising I became much more productive. Why? Because I felt much better during the day and had more energy to do tasks. Once I started exercising, I also changed my diet. When I stopped eating fatty, fried food, I started feeling great and had a motivation to do the things that needed to be done.
I really wish I started doing all that before I turned 30. I’d have so much more time to achieve things in life that I wanted to achieve. I’m not unhappy about my life. Quite the opposite, I love it. However, I know that I’ve procrastinated for years and I want others to avoid the same mistake. Hope the article was helpful and I inspired you to become more productive.