I’ve read extensively about productivity for many years. I read tons of blogs with the intention of becoming more productive by following their advice or using some popular time management system that they are promoting. Therefore, you would think that I would have some understanding of how to be productive and I would accomplish tons of stuff because I could be productive at any time!
Unfortunately for me, that is very untrue. I have some degree of understanding how I can maximize productivity personally, yet I really don’t actually work in that manner. I’m so used to working in my own less productive manner that I find it really difficult to change myself to be productive. If I have a lot to do in a short amount of time, I may change my conditions to maximize my productivity but other than that it’s rare. All it takes is me turning off my phone or just messages, putting on a playlist of instrumental music like Amon Tobin’s Bricolage or a movie soundtrack (The Social Network OST is really good for work). Then, the most important step is to get away from my laptop and work with only books or on paper. Sometimes, I will keep one of my usual distractions and use the Pomodoro Technique to keep myself from burning out and take breaks in an organized fashion. The most successful advice for me to work productively is the classic “cut out distractions.”
Since I seem to have this so figured out, why don’t I do this all the time? The thing is that this is not sustainable for me. I can lazily work on a project for 5 hours, but trying to finish it with full focus in an hour is a lot more exhausting and something I’m not really used to. It probably makes more sense to do the latter, so I may try to change that. But in reality, the difference between the two doesn’t really matter as long as I accomplish something. In terms of overall productivity, the only thing that matters to me is actually doing something.
What I’ve found is that accomplishing multiple things in one day doesn’t just happen. Generally, I have to be in a habit of accomplishing something every single day. For me, productivity is a habit that I continuously fall in and out of. With senioritis tightening its hold, I’m aware that I’m completely out of this habit and fail to accomplish what I set out to do every day. So, for me to have the motivation to get back into the habit, I have to accomplish something small, reduce the size of my short-term goals and just put my head down and work.