How often have I heard that? When applying for college. (I got into the only school I sent an application to.) When trying my hand at insurance sales. (It didn’t end well.) Every time I come across pretty much any post about successful blogging. (I’m not sure how much I love that ethic.)
And yet … it’s all true. Numbers work in your favor, if you work for them. The math is simple: how much work do you get done if you put in eight hours of work? How much if you put in one hour, or none? Hours don’t have to be the only metric, of course: Anthony Trollope is famous for writing 3,000 words every morning before heading off to his full-time job at the Postal Service.
We all want to be productive, of course. It’s a rare person who makes it to the top by doing nothing. Sure, we tell ourselves, but I’ll be productive when I get inspired. When the muse strikes. When the siren call of my work or my art is stronger than the call of all these comfy things I’m doing right now.
Weeeellllll. I’m the first to admit that this thinking pretty much describes me. But when we allow ourselves to think that way, how much actually happens? Even when we fill our calendars with all the to-dos of the day, how often do we actually check off the list? And even if we do, are we really utilizing our time as well as we can?
Personally, I’m freaked out by the passage of time. I always want more of it. More time to read, to write, to cook, to spend time with my family, to be active … to slack off. Is there any way to make it?
Yes, says Cal in A Productivity Hack That Will Help You Get More Done. He advises not only deciding what you’ll get done in a day, but when you’ll get it done. That way you don’t waste time, you push yourself to achieve within the block you’ve allotted to that task and you’ll accomplish as much in an organized 40-hour week as you’d get done in a disorganized 60-hour week.
For me, deadlines are key to productivity, and this is a simple way to institute more of them in your life. To keep you in the present, focusing on the now. Of course, some of us need fewer deadlines, in which case, think of this as your de-stressing strategy. Either way I’m trying it. If it gets me more time to plan, to dream, to write, to be inspired, to move forward, then I can’t see how it could possibly hurt.