You’ve probably heard this a million times and you’ll hear it a million more. We live in a society ruled by how much you can get done in a day. From Gary Vaynerchuk and his side hustle motivational speeches to, YouTube productivity guru Ali Abdaal and his filling every minute of every day with a task, it’s everywhere. So we end up shunning those that do choose to just work their day job and leave it at that. Just because you choose to fill every useable minute of the day with work and tasks doesn’t always mean you’re truly being productive.
What is Productivity?
So if we look at the dictionary definition of productivity you’ll notice that it really is archaic! It seems as if it was defined around the turn of the century when Henry Ford revolutionised the workforce with automation and conveyor belts, doubling if not tripling their output.
“The effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.” Productivity
There is always a but. The trap most people seem to fall into when it comes to being more productive is just doing mindless busywork. Exercising for the sake of exercising, even though you just did a workout this morning. Cold calling potential clients when we know this method is outdated and inefficient. We tend to choose the longer version of tasks or tasks that inherently take a long time to fill the hours, then call it productivity. The problem here is we aren’t choosing tasks that are important to us or the goal we are trying to achieve. Most people’s idea of productivity looks something like this;
6.00 am – Get up
6.30 am – Workout
7.00 am – Breakfast
7.30 am – Start Work
3.30 pm – Finish Work
4.00 pm – Workout again
4.30 pm – Make content for a side hustle
5.00 am – Sleep
You can see the issue here! The image we are fed of what is a good and productive use of our time that is not possible for the average person to attain and not to mention one of the biggest downsides – your mental health would plummet. For most people, right after about a week of sticking to this they crash and burn out for the next month or two. So how do we fix it?
So for lack of a better word, the ‘cure’ is to learn to prioritise. Only you can truly know what needs to be at the top of your to-do list! And yes, that might just be a hobby you’re turning into a side hustle, but that could be anything from learning an instrument to trying to increase your daily steps. So if you are struggling to put your tasks in order of priority, try doing the opposite! Order your tasks in reverse from what really isn’t important to you right now.
Productivity will always look different for everyone. And if you’re putting your mental health first (as we all should) it also means that not every minute needs to be accounted for. So having your schedule packed in like sardines with tasks from 3:01:43 pm to 3:22:10 pm is madness and is asking for trouble!
In conclusion, learn to prioritise your tasks for things that make you happy and are important to you. Keep your mental health at the forefront of your mind, because once that goes it’s a slippery slope to burnout paradise.