Doing a good day’s work is deeply satisfying. Whether you work in an office, outdoors or underground, with people or machines, paid or unpaid, there’s something fulfilling about putting in good and meaningful work. As beings made in God’s image, we find work meaningful because God also works.Whatever the case may be, the various jobs we do serve others and sustain our world, and through them, we’re able to meet our needs and the needs of others. Most people want to be effective at the job they do, and so it makes sense to ask how we can be more productive so that our effort doesn’t go to waste.
When we talk about being productive, we can mean that we can become more efficient by doing the same amount of work in a shorter period, or we can mean we make the most of every moment that we’re at work so that we don’t waste time. Either way, being productive means being able to get more done because you’re focused and working efficiently. Here are a few ways you can become more productive in your life.
How to Be More Productive
The way to be more productive is by paying close attention to details and planning ahead, as the following points suggest:
Be aware of your rhythms. People have different circadian rhythms, and we don’t all have energy at the same time of day. Some people are more alert and productive in the morning, while others have their peak productivity hours in the late afternoon or the evening.
If you can schedule your work properly, you can play to this reality by setting meetings and tasks that require less creativity and energy in those low productivity times, and the things that require unique insight and focus when you’re more energized.
Plan your day out. If you want to be more productive, don’t just stumble into your day, as that can make for inefficiencies. Instead, plan your day out so that you know what’s coming your way. If you have meetings coming up, make sure you’re aware of where and when they’re happening, and begin getting ready for them.
You may need to prepare in advance for some meetings, and getting a head start on that will go a long way. If you’re collaborating with others in a team, getting your work done earlier will help your teammates with theirs.
Limit your distractions. – One of the obstacles that stands in the way of being productive is being distracted. These distractions can vary from notifications and messages on your phone, to unnecessary tabs open on your computer, to having a cluttered workspace that works against you, to longer than necessary chats by the water cooler or in the break room. These things aren’t bad in themselves; it’s great being able to stay in touch with people or hanging out with your coworkers at work.
However, if you’re not careful, a good thing can become a distraction that chips away at the amount of work you get done. To help you become more productive, you can take steps such as putting away your devices while you’re at work or muting your notifications.
You can also optimize your workspace for work. From how you set up your desk, to whether you have devices nearby, to notifications that come in, to the lighting and location, are you ready for work? Some people can’t function in libraries or similar quiet spaces, while other people can’t get anything done in a coffee shop. Do what works for you to help you get work done.
Take breaks. When you’re working, your body and mind can begin taking strain. Taking breaks every so often will help to refresh yourself. For people who work in offices, taking a break and moving around helps with your circulation, relieves the eye strain that easily happens from staring at a screen all day.
Doing some meditation or stretching will help to relieve muscle strain. Your body and mind need a break, and that reset during the day can help you be more productive than powering through.
Sleep and eat well. One of the key ways for you to stay healthy and productive at work is to eat and sleep well. When you eat well, you give your body the nutrients it needs to give you energy for all your tasks, and a balanced diet also includes foods that boost your immune system such as spinach, broccoli, oily fish, citrus fruits, and yogurt. Overeating or being malnourished works against your overall well-being and they have a significant impact on your productivity.
Along with eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting good sleep is also necessary. Most of us know what it feels like to start the day when we slept poorly the night before. In general, when you sleep you allow your body to recover from the day’s activity, reduce stress and improve your mood. Good sleep is also connected to eating well, as you crave healthier food, and healthy food, in turn, helps you to sleep well.
Good sleep will help to improve your concentration, productivity, performance, memory, problem-solving skills, and cognition. Getting good sleep also helps you relate well with people by allowing you to better read emotional cues. One study indicated that the impact of sleep deprivation on certain areas of brain activity had a similar negative footprint as being intoxicated.
Getting good sleep goes a long way towards making you more able to concentrate on your tasks and better able to relate to people. So, making sure you sleep and eat well will go a long way toward making you more productive at work.
Know your “why.” One reason people sometimes struggle to apply themselves and work consistently is that they lack a deeper motivation to do so. Of course, the fear of getting fired and losing all that comes with a regular paycheck is enough to get most people off their couch and hard at work. And that motivation will go a long way for most people, even though their sense of satisfaction is never high.
If you’re not clear on the bigger “why” behind your work, there’s a dimension that you may be missing. The “why” of your work can flow from the vision of your company and the kind of work that they do in the world. For some believers, their “why” flows not only from the work their company does and the role they occupy in that firm but from the broader purposes of God in the world through them as individuals.
Your work allows you to provide for your family, but it also serves others in the world and allows them to do their work of live their lives a little easier. No matter the task, it can all be done to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) – from changing diapers, picking fruit, making trades on the stock market, building software, laying concrete, etc.
Work has dignity because of the purposes God created it to fulfill and having that sense of purpose goes a long way toward inspiring you to work harder at whatever tasks lie before you. Some people are inspired by the beauty of what they create, and to get more of that beauty out into the world, they are willing to pour their lives into their work.
End the procrastinating. Procrastinating happens in a variety of ways, from delaying starting a project to going slowly in the process. Procrastination happens for various reasons depending on the individual, and these range from fear of failure, perfectionism, and to be honest, laziness.
Procrastinating takes up a lot of time that could be used to get the work started or completed, and for many people, it is the one thing that makes them unproductive. Having an honest conversation with yourself about why you procrastinate is helpful because if you identify and address the issue underlying the procrastination, it will help you to be more productive by starting and ending your projects in a timely fashion.
Our value and worth as human beings aren’t determined by how productive we are in any sphere of life. We remain dignified beings made in God’s image regardless. But it must be said that being productive brings with it a certain joy and satisfaction.
Celebrating a good job done well, whatever it may be, brings a sense of wholeness that’s hard to deny. You may have obstacles that stand in the way of your productivity, but these are not insurmountable. Depending on your situation, with some changes, you can get things on track and make the most of the gifts and potential God has given you.
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