This post is also available in: Polish
Many people ask me if I have any time that is not planned. Beneath that question is another one—do I have spare time when I do nothing? I find that question intriguing. It shows me that many people don’t know why it's worth planning ahead and work on specific tasks at specific times. Today, I am writing about why it is worth being productive.
Before I move forward, let me remind you of my definition of productivity . I define it as:
The art of doing the right things in the right way at the right time.
I plan a lot. I maintain and follow my productivity system. I want to implement as many habits and routines that support my productivity as possible. I have a plan for my mornings, days, and weeks. I choose MITs for every day. I know what I want to achieve this quarter, this year, and in the next five years. My ultimate goal is to be able to connect the tasks I choose to work on with my vision, to be able to answer the question "Why am I working on this task and how does it bring me closer to completing my goals?" My productivity system allows me to answer that question. What do I get in return?
What do I get from being productive?
Look into the past
It's much easier to understand why I want to be productive if you know more about my past. The short story is that I used to be the most chaotic person I knew (You can read the long story here - from couch potato to marathon runner). I took on a lot of things, I didn’t know what my capacity was, and I was almost never able to meet my deadlines. I had no idea what was important to me, so I tended to take on random tasks and learn random things. I was a child in the mist :) It was very frustrating to be in that place…
The present - why be productive
Now, I work really hard to be productive. My productivity has resulted in many positive things. Here are a few of the main ones:
- I have a sense of purpose and direction . I know what my goals are and I can see that I'm closer to reaching them almost every day. This is really an awesome feeling, I tell you!
- I know why I do my tasks. It's much easier to work on something when I know what I'll gain from it. Knowing the “why” makes my work easier.
- It's much easier to eliminate tasks I shouldn't work on (either at the moment or at all). If I can't find a connection between my current task and my vision and goals, I won't do it.
- I'm more trustworthy, both for myself and for my peers. I know my capacity. That makes planning much easier. I can tell with a high certainty when I'll be done with a task or project. This allows others to trust me more—and allows me to trust myself more, too :)
- I'm less stressed. In the past, when I took on too much, I was constantly stressed that I wouldn't deliver as I had promised . I was always in a rush to do something, and very rarely was I on time. Since implementing my habits around productivity, I'm much calmer. I'm much more predictable, and I’m less stressed.
- I have much more spare time. This is a very surprising result of being productive. I know my capacity. I know how much I can do in a given time. And I plan accordingly. Usually, on weekdays, I’m done with all my most important tasks by 4PM. That creates a lot of spare time in the afternoons when I can do whatever I want. This might surprise you, but my afternoons and weekends are not planned! And because I complete the things I need to do during my planned time, I can rest without feeling guilty.
Above, I described why I want to be productive and why I constantly work on my productivity system—even at the price of being perceived as “crazy” ;)
So, why should you be productive? Really, I think it's up to you to answer that question for yourself. Do you find any of the positive results of being productive worth the effort? I'll leave you with that question.