Why is it so hard to be productive? The answer is always so simple.
Brains love to over complicate things; to try and make sense of situations and make you wonder what on earth you’re doing with your life. Complexity is the mind’s bread and butter; it’s jam (and probably various other condiment colloquialisms). As we delve into the technicalities of life’s freaky events, we’re left befuddled as we then attempt to decipher between the literal and figurative.
There’s a ratio between time and money, and you can only ever have one of them- but is this just down to us millennials not being tactical timekeepers? Here are five ways to improve your productivity and make the most of your personal time:
Allow Yourself Breaks
By this I mean: allow yourself REAL breaks. No matter what time of the day or where we are, our generation carries around constant guilt for not working hard, fast and/or well enough. This is, of course, not helped by older generations shaming us for our lack of work ethic, as well as our job-hopping. We’re living our youths in a different era and it’s a feat in itself trying to even get a decent job.
Instead of enjoying our time off and then producing strong work, we try to work all day but instead end up scrolling through social media and staring longingly out the window. By doing this – which we’re all guilty of – we are getting minimal work done; having no time left to do the things we love.
If you take the time out of your day to read your book, or do some drawing – watch Love Island – then you feel positive when you start your work, thus increasing the quality of it.
Kill Your Social Media
Need I say more? No- but I will because I like talking.
When I was back in high school I used a program called ‘cold turkey’ where you type in websites you want your computer to block and the dates from and to, so that whilst revising you can’t be distracted by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Of course with my luck the program malfunctioned, which left me without youtube’s delicious distractions for FIVE YEARS.
Maybe don’t be as extreme as blocking all your beloved websites, but close the 18 tabs you have open.
Cut Down Information Overload
Distraction is not just the only problem with social media. We are hammered with information from left, right and center from the moment we wake up, to the moment we close our eyes-leaving us cynical of life and our capabilities.
According to a report from marketing platform, Crowdtap, we have a daily average intake of just under 18 hours of media. That’s a lot of information for just one day, and when you take this in to account it makes sense that you flag at work. There’s only so much your brain can handle before it’s overkill.
I feel frequently overwhelmed at the amount I haven’t achieved or done in both my professional and personal life; whilst I desperately try to forget about the existential crisis I’m always in. Add overload of information and overthinking together and you’ve got yourself a pity party there. So, our parents, grandparents, judgmental-random-people-that-you-serve-in-the-pub think we’re useless- they aren’t developing in our era and so cannot understand the cons to it; something I’m sure they complained about to their elders.
Structure & Health
Routinely doing something every morning is the best way to keep a sharp focus. It doesn’t have to be a strict routine at all, but I can say, as a freelancer, if you don’t have some kind of structure to your day that’s when you become completely nocturnal- and possibly feral. I suppose having three meals a day isn’t just for a boost of energy, but to help shape our routines.
This leads me nicely to my next point. Remembering to eat and not ignoring lunch because you’re too busy will remarkably improve your focus and the quality of your work. My mum raves about the importance of breakfast, which meant the only thing she could make me eat as a growing kid, was ketchup on toast (don’t judge me, it’s delicious). King’s College in London did a study on the importance of breakfast for sustaining productive behavior, stating that you should ‘[eat] breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’.
Structure doesn’t apply to just your day, but to the future plans you make. Plans are good; we like plans. However, don’t go mental about it when you don’t reach your incredibly high goals. In fact, making too many goals is another big no-no. Tomorrow you’re going to go to the gym, finish a week’s worth of projects, quit smoking and send letters written in delicate calligraphy to all the friends you’ve fallen out with over the years. Now, where’s that cigarette?
Respect Your Time
Your time off is valuable. The harder you work the more quiet time you need. Allow yourself time to breath. Don’t let others forcibly impose on this alone time. Use your time off and your money to buy tickets to the gigs you want to go to. Go to the play at the theater you’re dying to see. Take the solo trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Use your money to create those sweet, sweet memories that you’ve earned… damn those freaky literal metaphors.