The quest to be more effective at work has given rise to misconceptions about what a productive day of work really means. This has also led most people to think that being busy equals being productive.
Busy or productive?
Here are some valuable ideas on what productive unicorns do during their work week, and how they are very different from the busy donkeys, inspired by Conor Neill.
Busy people are determined to incorporate more things into their day. Productive people cut their to-do list by half.
Busy people think that doing more things in the eight or nine hours of sanctioned work is the way to go. They get into too many tasks in their to-do list and end up moving most of their tasks the next day. Productive people know all too well that they do not need 40 tasks in their to-do list. They take a less important approach when it comes to planning their work day by performing only those that are important.
Busy people jump at each assignment. Productive people know the difference between “urgent” and “important”.
Busy people spend most of their time at work fighting unnecessary fires because they are caught off guard by urgent workplace concerns that, in essence, are not so important. In every company, many things can be labeled as urgent, but they are usually set by your colleague or boss who is waiting for a response as soon as possible. The extremely productive unicorns know how to differentiate between urgent tasks and important tasks. They focus on what matters instead of dividing their hours by trying to complete different urgent tasks.
Busy people are always distracted. Productive people create a system.
Busy people have developed overtaking habits over the years. They compulsively check their e-mails throughout the day and are interrupted each time their phone buzzes. And that can really slow down the brain.
In a recent study at King’s University in London, they discovered that compulsive stories with your inbox can result in a 10-point drop in IQ. Constantly changing between working on your current task and responding to your e-mail also changes the structure of your brain leading to a lower ability to concentrate.
Meanwhile, productive people create a system for the most mundane tasks, such as checking their emails. They reserve a short and specific time slot to manage their inbox so that they can focus more on what is needed to achieve their goals for the day.
People busy multitasking. Concentration on productive people.
Busy people do their best to do 15 things at once. They have several tabs and documents lit on their computer while constantly checking their calendar.
Productive unicorns focus on performing tasks that matter most efficiently. They multitask effectively by choosing to match a smaller task with an important additional task. For example, a very productive person writes notes on ideas about a potential project while waiting for the board meeting. Productive unicorns are also aware that they must perform multiple tasks only if the other, less important thing can be accomplished using a very small amount of diversion and energy.
If you are one of the busy donkeys who would like to become a productive unicorn, follow the 80/20 rules when it comes to your tasks. Remove things that are not needed during your work day provided that they have minimal impact on your productivity.
Busy people are the human equivalent of a 7-Eleven. Productive people know when to close the door.
If you agree to give your energy and time to different options when you were younger, you might want to think twice now if you want to accomplish one of your goals. For the younger ones, it’s good to try different things like learning to code, creating your own website, living in another country around the world and hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
However, there comes a time in your career and your life where you have to think about what to focus on. If you are juggling your schedule, your time and money between learning to code, creating your website, getting ready to live in another country and plan your hike on the Appalachian Trail, become a productive unicorn by giving up the goals more important to you. It is acceptable to leave strategically and give up plans that are not quite feasible and practical at the moment. Instead, focus your energy and resources only on that thing that resonates with your heart.
Busy people are stuck in their offices. Productive people know when to take a break.
Busy people rarely take breaks; In fact, they hate to think that breaks are for procrastinators. They are also frustrated when they see productive unicorns who seem to have all the time in the world and who really appreciate their work. Productive unicorns know when to take a moment to cool off. They take breaks by going for walks listening to their favorite jam, watching a short humorous sketch, meditating or having a snack. They know that they can achieve greater effectiveness when they let their brains rest after several long hours of work.
Choose to achieve optimum productivity levels on any workday by forgetting to feel like a busy donkey and turn yourself into a productive unicorn today.
Reissued with permission. Original here.
Photo via Shutterstock