Well, why 12 hours of productivity? Why not 24 hours? I am not a perfectionist at being productive, but all I can say is we are humans, not machines, and we have a Life! I know we hear a lot about being productive for like 18 hours a day and so on, but honestly, it is hard for me to think of working in and on for 18 hours. That leaves me with just 6 hours to sleep and do all the non-productive chores of the day. Seems a bit overexaggerated. When I say 12 hours of productivity I do not count on the daily rituals, chit-chatting, daydreaming or reading your favorite book. Also, when you want to be sensible and not over-exhausted in the long run, I think even 12 hours a day of productivity is pretty hard to achieve. All I would like to emphasize is that your productive hours should be one which will help you accelerate ahead in life. And it can be as less as 6 hours a day and as simple as starting a new Facebook group/page.
What is productive is an individual choice. I do not want to intervene in it. But being productive is quite a daunting task. Try being productive for 5 days in a row, it’s not so easy. Being productive means being disciplined, being organized and being focussed. I am listing down tips that have worked for me so far. And it can work for any number of productive hours that you choose yourself to be in.
1) Pre-plan a day earlier
Until and unless it’s some special day, you would generally know how the engagement of the next day. Even with all the surprises and unplanned events, it should not distort more than 20% of your work schedule. If it does, then you should give a little more thought to your planning. Do not be too aggressive on yourself, you can be a little lenient. Always remember, the purpose of life is not just to work and die one day, but to enjoy life in the way you want it to be. You should not punish yourself for being productive, rather to make room for your personal engagements and happiness.
2) Start on early
It always feels good to start something early and finish way before the deadline. That extra minutes to enjoy and relax is a fantastic feeling. So, plan your schedule a little early to accommodate for any surprises during the day. Want to write 5 articles in day? Finish writing the first three articles before noon…..you will then have almost the whole day to finish the rest two without much pressure.
3) Stick to your task for 1 hour straight
This is the core of the whole topic. Try to have a distraction free focussed 1 hour at a stretch. Focus on what you want to do for this specific time. You will be amazed at how you have would achieve in such a small span of time. Once the 1 hour is completed, take a break for say 5-10 mins and start working again. Repeat this exercise for 4-5 times a day and you will have completed most of your tasks.
4) Get rid of the social media noise
Social media is really important, and it is hard to ignore them these days. But when you plan to work on something serious say deep clean your house, write an article, write 1 chapter of your book, create a video, etc., you would want to mute all your social media notification for a specific period of time. Once you have reached some milestones and check on the progress.
The second good alternative can be to assign a certain number of hours to social media, say 1 hour a day. Maybe 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. In that way, you would not feel left behind with all the updates.
5) Take a breather once a week
This is probably my last and a lenient suggestion. Give yourself a day off from your productive schedule. You might utilize this day for your personal relaxation or maybe completing other pending tasks. But it is necessary that you give yourself space. Else, it would become exhausting in a couple of days.
Here is a small illustration of how I utilize my 24 hours and how my typical productive days go:
|1) Sleep||8 hours (I do not compromise on that!!)|
|2) Daily chores||4 hours (Eating, cleaning, cooking, etc.)|
|3) Spending time with family||2 hours (yes, family and relationships are very important)|
|4) Social Media Engagement||1 hour [ 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the evening] (I started off this recently, else my social media engagement is almost nil)|
|5) Working (job/business)||9 hours|
Note: There are days when I work for 12 hours a day, but then it accounts for only 40% of the time in a year. I don’t pressurize myself too much for it and believe in the quality rather than the quantity. I do make adjustments here and there, but I try to make sure that I do not procrastinate on things and complete my work on the go.
So, this was my list….do share if you have something in your mind in the Comments section.