By Ray Gano
Everybody knows we live in an age of distraction, just look at how many people are glued to their phones, on Facebook or some other social media.
We have so many different things trying to get our attention that it’s hard to focus on any one thing, let alone make progress on the multitude of tasks we have on our plates.
As you know recently, we were hacked…twice and our site was totally destroyed with 10 years of great content. Poof… gone.
A few weeks ago I wrote about being resilient, getting back up and pushing forward. If you did not get a chance to read that article, it was born out of the shenanigans that took place that weekend. That was when we lost everything and now we are literarily starting over from scratch.
Starting over means putting your nose to the grindstone, hunkering down and making things happen.
A lot of productivity gurus tell you that you need to cut out the distractions.
So, if email or social media are distracting you, simply get away from them or use a program to block them for the amount of time you need to complete a task.
Works in theory, but not in reality.
Here is what I have personally found. Being distraction-free doesn’t equal productivity. I’m a writer, and as a writer, I’m always working on creating content and along the way connect with potential readers as well as ya’ll who currently read my work.
There is an old saying, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.
Since 2005 I have learned how to have a productive mindset. NOW, I have to admit that there are times where I just let things coast, and that is not good. We need to remember who it is we serve and serve Him to the most and best of our ability.
So just because you get away from the distractions doesn’t mean you’ll be productive with the time you have.
I am a great example as a writer, it’s easy to justify doing anything other than writing as research or creative thinking.
Yeah, scrolling through Facebook for hours. Now, I have over 4500 friends on Facebook, so I could say I am “working” but what I am really doing is wasting time and not being productive.
It is really easy to fool ourselves. We start to think that if we’re doing something, then we’re being productive. But you can work really hard at the wrong things thinking that you’re moving forward when you’re really just spinning your wheels.
This has happened to me a few times.
The key to productivity is adopting a productive mindset and learning how to focus your creative energy on the things that matter.
What I try to do is hard focus on one thing and work as much as I can for 45 min. I then take a break, scroll around on Facebook or do something distracting.
I then hit it hard again and then take a break. I have found my productivity really boost.
So how do you create a productive mindset?
- Know Your Why
To get and keep your nose to the grindstone, you have to know your why. There’s a why behind everything that we do, but it’s not always a conscious why.
We eat breakfast..why? Because we’re hungry, but we don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about the purpose behind our desire to eat breakfast.
Having a productive mindset starts with identifying why you do the things you do.
Why are you writing that blog post?
Why are you contacting that client?
Why are you creating that product?
Questions like these force you to do some serious evaluation of your priorities because you’ll discover that the reason why you do some things isn’t a good enough reason to continue doing those things.
Other good whys, taking that vacation you have always wanted to go on. Getting that cool new guy / gal toy or maybe working on improving yourself and your life.
Knowing your why involves looking at your goals (why) your production and then identifying exactly what you hope to accomplish with all that you do and what motivates you to do it.
- Identify the Tasks that Make You the Most Productive
To find out what you are doing, you need to track it. I use an app called Toggle Desktop. I used this to track of few days of what I was doing. No matter what I did, I tracked it and timed it. After a few days I was able to drop the data into Excel and create a chart so I can visually see how much time I was being productive as well as wasting.
By doing this you can see where you are truly productive. You can then go and ask yourself “what are the tasks that make you the most and least productive?”
Working hard isn’t enough to be successful at doing what you love because you can work hard at things that are only drying up your creative energy instead of creating results.
You have to identify the things that are most worth your time because they’re the most rewarding in terms of productivity, and this is where Toggle Desktop helped me.
Whatever it is you do for a living, identify the tasks that will make you the most productive in your professional arena.
- Focus Your Creative Energy by Challenging Yourself
Once you have a list of the tasks that will make you the most productive, you need a strategy for actually completing those tasks. This is where going above and beyond the simple elimination of distractions is vital.
If you really want to get tasks completed, you have to challenge yourself. Tap into your naturally competitive nature and use it to your advantage.
Set a timer for a specific amount of time and challenge yourself to complete as much of a task as you can within that time frame. As I mentioned above I try to work really focused on short spans of time.
I have been experimenting with 5 min focus – 1 min break. I forget where I read about this, but I am finding that it is working. In fact, that is how I am writing this article that needs to get done.
By doing a super focused 5 min – you will get a lot done. At least I do and I am amazed at how much I can get done.
- Be Passionate About Results
A productive mindset requires a high degree of commitment to getting the job done. When the process makes you weary, it’s the results and your why that will drive you to keep going.
This is what keeps me going every day. I have to admit that there are times I do not feel like writing an article. But I know that I would be letting all of you down and I can’t do it.
As a writer, it can be really easy to give up in the middle of an article or better yet a book because the process is starting to feel slow and unrewarding. There are also times that I wonder if anyone is really listening or not. But the article / book isn’t finished, and the only way I can see the result of a finished article / book is to keep going.
If you’re lucky like me, you’ll love what you do, but don’t focus too much on loving what you do because on some days, you won’t. Like after the hackers kill your site and you see everything go up in a poof of smoke.
On those days you really leverage your why. You still need to be productive, so when you’re not passionate about the process, at least be passionate about the why so that you’ll keep going to see the results in the end.
If you want to be more productive, you have to start with adopting a productive mindset.
You need to have a strong why and with that your persistence grows. This is something that you will learn and continue to learn, being productive.
If you can learn this, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
I hope that this article has been helpful. Not really your typical Ray Gano article, but I am using the lemons of us having to rebuild anew and turn it into lemon-aide.
With all the negative that is going on in the world, I am really feeling like focusing on positive and learning positive things that can help you and me grow. Tracye and I have been doing this since 2005 and we have been to hell and back several times. So we have a lot of knowledge to impart.
Some of that knowledge is what is in this article and I hope that someone out there needed to hear this because this is what the Lord directed me to write.
If there is anything that you would like for me to write about, contact me and let me know.
ALSO… Tracye and I are doing Facebook Live on Tues @ 10AM and Thurs @5PM. Tune in to my Facebook wall and jump in and say HI.
If there are any topics that you want to see us talk about, again contact me and tell me what you would like for us to answer / talk about.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org