Balance is the key to success. We all want to be successful at the things we do, with our family, friends, and society. More often, we are on the run to be successful that we forget the basics that help us to be successful. Most of us belong to the category of people who spends late nights in the office, working as hard as they can, but how often have you felt it was worth it? How often have you looked at people who are not just great at work but finds times with family, friends, and entertainment, and wished you were them.
Being productive is not just about working all the time but about working efficiently in a short span of time. Scott H Young, the author of the bestselling book Ultra learning, says that there are unseen activities that influence our productivity. It might not seem important, but these factors influence us more than one think. It is these highly effective habits that set successful people apart.
1. Getting enough sleep
The first thing that most of the people who go behind success are to give up an ample amount of sleep and while they might feel they are being productive during those hours, that’s where they are going wrong. One needs to understand that the human body requires rest and that we all have a natural sleeping set point. This varies in people. So not all might be early risers nor all can be the late-night owls. Forcing something unnatural would lead to less and disturbed sleep. Good sleep helps in enhancing mood and cognition but also in consolidating memory and functioning properly. You might think that you are adapted to getting less sleep but behind the scenes, it is affecting your cognitive performance. Making sure you get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep is a step towards this highly effective habit.
2. Taking breaks to think
Ideas are not just born out of nowhere. It requires time and lot of thinking skills. The time that one often spends thinking about new ideas and innovations or solutions are often not considered or appreciated. People who sit staring at blank walls or those who decide to take short breaks now and then are often considered as slackers. But the truth is that taking breaks in between work is a highly effective habit. Most of our brain is wired to concentrate effectively for 30 minutes after that focus just reduces. Taking a 5-minute break after every 30 minutes have proved to be effective in enhancing productivity. Instead of forcing yourself to work continuously, take breaks, it will do you and your brain a favor.
3. Chatting to colleagues
This might come as a surprise for many of you. There is a high perceived notion that chatting to colleagues is just a waste of time but the truth is it’s not. No one likes to be isolated and it definitely doesn’t improve productivity. It is not until you communicate, that you can reason and activate and faculties of reasoning, logic, and deduction. You might be able to get the solution to a problem on your own but communicating it would help in reasoning and finding logical solutions, it would help in getting the spark that was lacking. Encourage office room discussions, discuss your work amongst each other because you never know where inspiration can come from.
4. Learn to say No
This is sometimes the toughest task that one would have to do. We all are bad at saying no. We think each little thing as an opportunity and take it up only to get hoarded by work. The busiest person at your work is those people who cannot say no. They not only have works piled up but doesn’t even get to spend quality time on one work and often gets interrupted. Nobel Laureate Richmard Feymann once said that he creates the idea that he is irresponsible so that people don’t load him with work. He has created the idea that he is lazy and irresponsible so that he would not be hoarded, instead, he spends dong the task at his hand effectively. Remember, productivity doesn’t mean doing the most, it means getting the best from what you have done. Learning to say No is a highly effective habit one can develop to perform better.
5. Taking Naps
We discussed the importance of sleep. However, not always can one remain active throughout the day. There are times when the workload is so much that you feel like taking a break and closing or eyes or you find yourself struggling to stay awake. It is these situations that taking a nap break would be ideal. A nap is light sleep of around 15-20 minutes and often helps to refresh oneself. The advantage of napping is that you don’t go into deep sleeping and so doesn’t feel all groggy once you wake up. Instead, it helps to increase alertness and enhance performances and is a highly effective habit especially for those who work on continuous shifts.
6. Take Vacations
It is quite important that you break out of your daily habits and give yourself a break. Taking a break from work helps you to refresh and rejuvenate. Most of the time people tend to think that taking a vacation is trying to get away from getting their work done and a wastage of money. But this is not true. When one breaks away from their daily patterns, they can rediscover more, their curiosity is awakened and it helps to relax. Further, like the quote says, “You haven’t learned until you traveled”, traveling helps to broaden your mind and is an opportunity to learn something new.
7. Don’t do the work you hate
No one likes to be forced, no one likes to be pushed and this is exactly what happens when you do something you hate. You are forcing and pushing yourself against your will to be productive, to perform better and to function. This, in the long run, would only drain your energy and will power. So just do yourself a favor and stop doing the work you hate. Doing something you hate won’t help you to be successful or productive, instead do something you enjoy and feel meaningful.
It is only when you look deep into some habits would you actually see the productivity behind being unproductive. Develop these highly effective habits and anyone can be who they dreamt to be.