Don’t you admire those people who have time for everything? They are doing well with their careers. They are physically fit. They have time to prepare healthy meals. They spend a lot of time with their families. Yet, they still have tons of friends and never lose contact with them.
We all want to be like them. That’s a problem, since we’re comparing our own productivity to theirs. We tend to copy their lifestyle, but sooner or later we find out it’s not the right thing for us. Each of us is different. You have different lifestyle, thinking patterns, and energy levels from everybody else. That’s why you can only compare yourself to… you.
It’s time to transform that comparative mindset into a productivity mindset. You should find the best system that works for you. We’ll suggest few tips to help you do that.
How to Boost YOUR Productivity and Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.
– Dalai Lama (more quotes)
Be aware of your strengths
You can’t be more productive when trying to copy someone else’s strengths. You have your own skills and values. You have your own personality. A simple personality test will show you: you’re not like that person who’s always the main star in the room, knows a lot of people and gets her energy from socializing. However, you have other strengths that could lead you to productivity.
Seriously, take that personality test. It’s not a joke; it’s based on Jung’s theory of psychological types.
Analyze your rhythm
Yes, there’s a colleague who gets the most important tasks done early in the morning. But, what if you reach your best productivity levels in the evening? Productivity does not mean doing work and doing it perfectly 24/7. It means discovering your own circadian rhythm and playing along with it.
Circadian rhythm? That’s the 24-hour cycle of the physiological processes in your body. It’s like your inner clock that tells you when it’s time to rest and when your body and mind are ready for work. The circadian rhythm of an average person should fit into standard working hours. However, many people don’t fall into that pattern.
As Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, head of University of Surrey’s Sleep Research Center explained, “If you have a fast clock you like doing things early, and if you have a slow clock you like doing things late.”
Find out what your inner clock tells you. Try to do more work when your body and mind are alert, and rest when you need to rest. That’s how you’ll boost your productivity capacity.
When you work, are you focused on the task at hand or do you get distracted with the excuse that you’re multitasking? Analyze the way you work. Do you procrastinate? Are you a fallen victim to online distractions?
Your brain needs some training to reach and maintain focus in a world full of distractions. Brain scans show how meditation has power to improve our focus. Maybe it’s time to sign up for that meditation course?
As for the online distractions, install browser extensions like Strict Workflow and StayFocusd. They limit your access to social media and other distracting websites, so you’ll have no other choice but to focus when you work.
Note the progress
If a productivity trick works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Whatever techniques you try, compare the results you achieve to the ones you used to achieve. Are you getting more productive?
Be aware of the progress you make. If a change in your lifestyle is making you less productive, then it’s not the right method for you. Remember: you have only one competitor, and that’s you.
Respect your limits
Why do you think that working hours are limited? Statistics show that the average American works eight hours per weekday. That’s close to the well-known concept of an eight hour working day, which was established ever since the Industrial Revolution.
Can you really be fully productive for eight hours straight? It depends. This standard of eight hours wasn’t established according to scientific principles; it was just a compromise. If you’re constantly looking at a computer screen, you’ll get tired faster. In addition to the type of work you’re doing, there are other factors that influence your productivity: your health, physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy, and even spiritual energy (that’s about the purpose of doing things).
Bottom line is: your body and mind have their limits. Respect them. If you go outside those limits, you won’t be working productively. You’ll just drive yourself to a burnout. Understand your daily maximum and respect it.
When possible, get help
When you create the to-do list for a day, do you feel like there’s no chance to complete everything on time? If that’s the case, it’s important to make priorities. Can you delay some of the tasks for tomorrow? If that’s not possible, then you’ll need to get some help.
Don’t make excuses
This is a universal productivity rule. It’s applicable to everyone. Do not make excuses! Do not procrastinate! Do not give yourself lame reasons for not trying and not accomplishing things.
Think: why are you doing this? Why do you want to succeed? What can you do to become better at what you do? Do it!
Productivity is much more than doing more in less time. It’s about discovering your own rhythm and getting the best out of it. There’s no universal productivity system that works for everyone. Create your own!