Sometimes your life requires big adjustments to move you forward toward a productive and fruitful life. This is the case with addictive substances and behaviors. If you are addicted, then the only real answer is to quit. That often requires a commitment to change and the support structure necessary to make it happen. If your life is already basically on track, then what can you do to become more productive?
Minor adjustments make you more productive
Some highly successful people I know watch almost no TV. I watch about 10 hours of TV a week. Well, that’s how much TV it would be if I watched it live. Instead my family and I watch almost everything from the DVR and speed through the commercials. I estimate that saves me about twenty minutes out of each hour, or 200 minutes a week. That’s relatively small change to gain three hours and twenty minutes a week of time.
Travel time is valuable time. I’m typing this post with my MacBook on my lap waiting for a flight. Now not everyone travels, but I’m sure there are times during your week that you are sitting around waiting for transportation or meetings. If I didn’t take this thirty minutes to write a post, what would I have done with the time? Read a book? Grab a cocktail at the airport bar? I’m not saying either of those is a bad activity; they just do not translate to productivity. You need to be creating your art to be productive.
Why minor adjustments are important
What you can do with the time you gain is the payoff. By knowing I could get tomorrow’s blog post done sometime today during my travels, I was able to enjoy yesterday with my family and then with a friend we’d been trying to spend time with forever. I got to watch my wife play with a small boy and our wooden train sets from when our children were young. I got to know the boy’s mom, a good friend, even better.
When you feel like putting work off, think of the payoff. When it’s approaching the end of the work day and you feel inclined to clean up your desk – don’t. Instead, work right up to the wire and know that you will have that much less to address when you start up again in the morning. By the end of the week, maybe you can clear out of the office by 3:30 or 4 p.m. and enjoy a happy hour with friends knowing all your work for the week is done.
These are the kind of minor adjustments I have been making and my productivity has increased accordingly. Your results will likely be different, but I’d still love to hear what’s working for you in the comments.
Raul Colon says
I try to do the same. I like carrying my laptop everywhere I go. When I have to wait for something I use it to create posts or read great blogs like this one.
It has also proven very convenient that when I have an idea I can just sit to the side and write what I thought about and not have to wait for later.
I have cut significantly my TV Time down but yesterday I took the time to relax which was highly needed. I also use my DVR although sometimes I am so used to watching ads that I forget I can fast forward.
Jim Raffel says
Thank you for the”great blogs” comment – very nice of you.
I also forget I can speed through the commercials. That is until I hear a “Dad!” or “Jim!” and then I am instantly reminded. Nothing like family to keep you honest.
Dan Polley says
A great reminder. There’s a lot of time I spend waiting or sitting around that I could be writing or brainstorming or doing something more productive.
Jim Raffel says
There is and I don’t fully utilize all of my time. I just try to fill more and more of the gaps.
Good article. I have been trying to do this. But it is hard. Bit by bit helps.
Jim Raffel says
Hmm, I agree it’s not easy but for me the trick is getting out of my own way. I think the hard part is getting past our lizard brain (as Seth Godin calls it).