Having a productive mindset is key to getting more done. Think smart instead of working harder. While most of us know that we should have the right mindset, we’re not sure how to achieve it. What does a productive mindset look like? When you have a productive mindset, you can make the best use of all your resources. You’ll maximize your efforts, your energy and your time. It isn’t about working harder. It isn’t about trying to accomplish everything. It isn’t even about trying to get things done as quickly as possible. A productive mindset is about making the most of the things you have. It’s also about enjoying the process.
With this frame of mind, you’ll think smarter and work smarter, getting more done. What elements does a productive mindset have? Which elements do you need to nurture in yourself to become more productive?
Here are some of the best:
Curiosity – a willingness to question, explore and seek out new concepts and ideas. It’s also the desire to learn and know more things.
Motivation – without it, you cannot improve or make progress.
Vision – if you can visualize the things you want to achieve you can focus on them better. When you have a clear picture in your mind you can strive towards those goals.
Critical thinking – you need to assess situations objectively. Look at all the advantages and disadvantages then make appropriate adjustments.
Self-confidence – believe that you’re capable of achieving your goals. This allows you to achieve your potential.
Persistence – a willingness to overcome adversity and obstacles allows you to achieve your goals. Don’t allow others’ opinions, setbacks or circumstances to make you feel as if you can’t succeed.
A positive outlook – your attitude makes or breaks you. With a positive attitude, you can meet any possibility head-on.
Open-mindedness – if you have an open mind, you can generate innovative new ideas. You also become more receptive to new experiences.
Balance – to function properly, you need to maintain balance in your life. It’s important to work towards your goals. However, it’s equally important to recharge your batteries from time to time. Pushing yourself too hard only leads to frustration and burnout. When you integrate all these elements into your thought processes, you’ll develop a productive mindset. As a result, you’ll achieve your goals more effectively.
Plan Your Day
Planning is key to success. Using to-do lists can help you to stay productive. They improve your focus and organization. You can make those lists as long or as short as you wish. You may find it most helpful to keep them to just three or four items. That way, you’ll be more likely to achieve those goals. This will boost your mental well-being and increase your productivity exponentially. Too many items on a list just cause you to feel overwhelmed and disoriented. Jot down your to-do list each evening before you go to bed. This gives you a good start to the next day. Instead of having to waste time focusing on which tasks need to be done, you’ll be ready to go.
A to-do list allows you to capture every task that comes in. There’ll always be tasks coming at you. A to-do list helps you to prioritize the ones that need to be done first. As a result, you can concentrate on the tasks at hand. You’ll avoid unnecessary distractions. To-do lists also give you more clarity and help you to pace yourself properly. You won’t forget anything important. Also, when you check off items on the list, you get a real sense of well-being and achievement. This alone makes it worthwhile drawing one up.
The “Eat the Frog” Technique
This technique may have a strange name, but it’s very useful. It’s based on a saying by author Mark Twain. His idea was that if you eat a live frog every morning, nothing worse can happen to you all day. This is a funny idea, but it’s true! Of course, it doesn’t mean eating a real frog! The frog here is the most unpleasant task on the to-do list that you’ve drawn up. It’s human nature to try to avoid unpleasant tasks. We’re all guilty of putting off something that we must do but don’t want to do. Whether it’s a phone call to a difficult client or a long and boring report, eating the frog is essential.
When you avoid an unpleasant task, it’s always on your mind. It stops you from getting on with other jobs that need to be done. It prevents you from focusing. You know all the time that the unpleasant task must be done. Why put it off? Do it first and get it out of the way! Although it’s no fun to “eat the frog”, it will make the rest of your day easier. With the hardest task done, you’ll have the easier jobs to focus on for the remainder of your workday. Make eating the frog a lifelong habit. Tackle that major task before you do anything else. It isn’t easy to get into this habit, but it’ll boost your productivity immensely. What do you do if you have more than one unpleasant task to tackle? The answer is to eat the ugliest one first! Begin with the task that’s least appealing.
Find the discipline to start straight away and to persevere until you’ve completed the task. It isn’t going to be easy. However, when you’ve got into this habit, you’ll realize how it has improved your work life. Your productivity will increase hugely, and you’ll feel as if you’re achieving more.
Ditch the Procrastination
We’ve already mentioned how, as humans, we’re naturally inclined to procrastinate. While it’s normal, that doesn’t mean that it’s desirable. Procrastination can be the death knell to your productivity. Rather than putting off jobs until later, tackle them head-on. This is where the “eat the frog” technique comes into play. However, it doesn’t just apply to the least appealing jobs. It applies to absolutely everything in your life. Whether at work or at home, ditching the procrastination can make a huge difference.
You might not think that procrastination is a major issue. If you’re putting off reports that need to be done for Friday until Thursday afternoon, is that really a problem? After all, you’re getting them done on time. So, how can the delay be impacting your overall productivity?
Let’s take a closer look.
Imagine it’s Monday and you’ve got a vital report to finish for Friday morning. You know the report is essential. However, it requires lots of research. You don’t enjoy researching and writing the report. You, therefore, decide to put it off. You spend the following three days working on other, less vital tasks. When Thursday comes around, you realize the report still needs to be done. You’re trapped. You’ve got lots of other work to do. However, you can’t work on any of them. You need to get that research done and the report completed. You must work all night to meet your deadline. You submit the report as required on Friday. Everything’s fine. However, look at how it impacted on your productivity. You didn’t effectively spend the time between Monday and Wednesday. You should have allocated time to each task according to its importance. More important tasks need longer times spent on them. Spending longer hours on a less important task isn’t increasing value. The work is less important already.
You’ve also given yourself several days of anxiety, whether you realize it or not. That report will have been on your mind the whole time. The longer the task is prolonged, the more anxious you become. You eliminate this worry by tackling the job head-on. Not only that, although you finished the report on time, it probably wasn’t of the best quality. This means you’re not achieving your personal best. You won’t impress your managers and you won’t put yourself in line for a promotion.
Clearly, procrastination is a problem, so how do you eliminate it?
Identify what you tend to procrastinate on. Is it always the same sort of task? Ask why you’re putting those tasks off. Probe your answers. Is it because of your ability? Your feelings? When you understand the reasons for putting the task off, you’ll be better able to overcome them.
Come up with your action plan to resolve the problem. If you’re worried that you’re incapable of completing the task, take a course or read about the subject. If you’re lacking confidence in speaking to a client on the phone, work on your self-esteem.
Take the plunge. Although it’s hard to take that first step to do the task you’re avoiding, it’s essential.
The more you do it, the easier it becomes. It may take time, but soon you’ll overcome the habit of procrastinating.
With a productive mindset, you can achieve more in your life! So, let us try these out immediately tomorrow!
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