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29 Aug

3 tips to living a productive life

Written by Tiwalola

Image by @didistone

Productivity has become such a loaded word over the last few years. Do you remember in lockdown where it was like a war of the most productive and you got shamed if you didn’t bake banana bread or start an online course? The ghetto. 

If you’ve ever felt guilty about not being productive enough then it’s very likely you’re defining productivity all wrong. When you really think about it, productivity isn’t about how many emails you send, how many meetings you attend or how put together your life looks. If you’re low key depressed but overworking yourself to save face is that really productive? I don’t think so. 

Productivity is about spending time doing what matters to you.  

It’s not about the quantity of boxes you’re ticking but the quality of the activity you’re doing. Does the goal honour your values? Does it lead to real growth and progress? Does it contribute to your overall well-being and fulfilment? Productivity can look like waking up early to prepare for a meeting but it can also look like taking a bubble bath and watching Netflix if that’s what your body needs the most. Side note: REST IS PRODUCTIVE

As a confidence coach, I’ve tried and tested numerous productivity hacks to bring you the best of the best all within this article. If you want to see a real difference in your productivity levels and transform the way you set and achieve goals keep reading… 

Tip 1 – Know your worth 

In today’s success obsessed culture, the productivity that’s rewarded often looks like non-stop hustle and overachievement to the point of burnout. If you’re ticking boxes then you feel productive, you feel like you’re winning in life and if you’re not, and decide to have a slow month for example, you end up feeling like a failure and a waste of space because in comparison to everyone you’re falling behind. 

When not *doing* enough begins to equate to not *being* enough it’s a dangerous space to be in. The truth is your worth is not pegged against your productivity levels. Your worth is tied to your existence. You matter simply because you exist. Read that again. You are human not a machine, you are and will always be good enough regardless of how many of your goals you can achieve. 

Tip 2 – Set yourself up for success

Create a morning routine filled with purpose and intention. My worst habit that was sucking my productivity dry was waking up first thing in the morning and scrolling on social media. We all know we shouldn’t do it, yet we fall into it every time. In my book Confident and Killing It, I share powerful daily habits that most high achievers love. One of them is starting your day with intentional “T.I.M.E” for yourself. 

T.I.M.E looks like: Starting with 10 mins of gratitude journaling and being Thankful for your opportunities and gifts. This takes your to-do list from a list of things you “have to do” to a list of things you “get to do” in order to feel fulfilled in life. Next, spend 20 mins reading to find Inspiration and insights to cultivate a growth mindset, then take 10 mins to Meditate and reflect on how you want the day to go, and finally Exercise for 20 mins for good health. This way you start your day with intention, prioritising your needs instead of getting distracted by other people’s agendas. 

Tip 3 – Slow progress is still progress

Fear is a big productivity killer. When a task feels huge and you don’t know where to start it’s easy to put it off. Majority of the time you’re not procrastinating because you’re lazy, it’s most likely due to the negative thoughts you have around the task that are making you feel fearful and overwhelmed. Thoughts like “it’s going to take too long, i’m not the best person to do this, what if I fail?, I have to be perfect before I start” will demoralise you and stop you from starting. 

Negative thoughts = negative feelings = procrastination. 

To overcome this, break big goals down into baby steps and focus on doing one thing to take you one step closer to your target each day. Most people freak out about steps 7, 8 and 9 before they’ve even taken step 1. In reality it’s the small everyday wins and improvements that lead up to transformational change. I grew my business by 156% in 1 year because I focused on being consistent. Big wins are cool, but consistent baby steps is what gives you real long term results.

And when you do make progress, remember to celebrate yourself! Whether it’s a big or small win you are always worthy of celebrating your accomplishments. I use a  Monthly Wins Tracker for example and data shows people who track their wins feel more confident and optimistic about their future.  

If productivity is doing what matters most TO YOU then it will look like different things to different people so don’t compare yourself to others. Positive thoughts and self-compassion, cultivate feelings of confidence, drive and courage which in turn motivate you to take action and help you be productive. So as you set out to level up your life in 2022, lean into the positive possibilities of your life, know that your best will look different each day and remember everything you need to win in life is already within you!