Productivity: How Doing Less Makes You More Productive

How To Be More Productive?

If you scour the internet you will come across numerous articles on how to be productive. If you were to take all the articles and group them the most common categories will be about:

  1. How To Deal With Procrastination.
  2. Effective Goal Setting & SMART Goals.
  3. Effective Time Management.
  4. X ways to increase productivity [Replace X with your favorite number]
Leisure & Productivity
Image Courtesy: Zach Betten @

Not that there is anything wrong with these articles or the information contained is incorrect.

It’s more like treating the symptoms than fixing the problem.

Then there are those fancy tools and leather bound planners and organizers.However no amount of planning is going to make you productive if you do not take action.Apps and Organizers like todoist, wunderlist, and Filofax aid productivity, but in the end they are just tools.
Sometimes all you need is a pen and paper.

So How To Be Productive?

Productivity Tools
Image Courtesy: Oscar Nilsson @

Before I answer that let me ask you
What does being productive mean?

Will you agree if I say Productivity means getting things done?
Now that we agree that productivity means getting things done is it reasonable to assume that you can either get things done by someone or do things yourself?

You need money to get things done.
If you have money would it not make sense to spend some money to get the work done, to free up your time to make even more money?
For Eg: If you earn $10 an hour and there is a task that will need 2 hours of your time but you can have it done by someone else for as less as $5 you should outsource it. If you use the time saved on earning more money, you are not spending $5 but making $15 more.

So by outsourcing the non-essentials and focusing on your core tasks you are making more money by doing less?

What if you don’t have money?

MoneyThis would mean that instead of spending money (which you don’t have) you will have to spend time to do things.

But you only get 24 hours each day and you can only do so much in one day right?
Well, if you have limited resource you would use it wisely wouldn’t you?

So in this case you will only spend your 24 hours doing things that matter?

Wait, so even if I don’t have money but only time, I will only do things that matter and not everything?

Productivity Is Not about Doing Everything, It is about doing things that matter.

Now that you know what productivity truly means, instead of making a To-Do List, create a “Not To Do List”

How To Set Realistic Goals?

How to Set Realistic Goals?
How often is it that we achieve the goals that we set at the start of each year?
Sometimes we are so caught up with life that we forget about our goals.

Then there are times when you don’t seem to me making progress fast enough and life seems to be stuck in second gear for far too long.

You are putting in the efforts but don’t seem to be making any real progress.

This could be due to one or all the reasons below:

  1. Not Taking Action
  2. Forgetting about Goals
  3. Setting Unrealistic Goals

While taking action is the foundation to being successful it is easy to get discouraged and disheartened when you don’t see the results you were hoping for even after putting in the efforts. This could happen if you have set unrealistic goals.

In the comment section Andrea asked me how to keep goals realistic?

A question that we often do not consider during planning & goal setting.
Is my Goal realistic enough to be achieved?

I do not mean question your ability or doubting yourself. It’s not the goal but the deadline that could be unrealistic.


Let’s take an example of weight loss as a goal.

The ideal way to lose weight would be slowly and gradually over a period of time. Yet people will sent unrealistic expectations and go on a crash diet. The problem with diet is that you can live on a diet for only so long. The loss of weight gets easily reversed when you stop dieting.

Here the expectation to lose weight is unrealistic [in a matter of weeks] and the method no sustainable.
So How Do You Set Realistic Goals?
What Is My WHY?
The most important step of setting your goal is to know your WHY.
Why do I want to do this? Why do I want that?
Write it down so that you always remember.
You are going to need it when you no longer have the motivation or will power to keep going.


Where Am I Now?

Assuming your goal is to be a writer. As a writer where do you rate or rank yourself now. What are the areas you need to work on?
If being wealthy is one of your goals, you should be clear on how broke you are.
If having a great career is your goal then your current state should be clear.


Where Do I want to Be? How Do I know When I Get There?

You have your WHY and you know WHERE you are right now but how do you know when to stop? Think of it this way.
You decide you are going to run a mile tomorrow morning, you set out in the morning and keep running but how do you know when to stop.
Yes you want to be wealthy but what is your definition of being wealthy?


These 2 questions will make your goal really specific.


Define the Timeline

Setting a realistic timeline can make a difference between achieving a goal or quitting without making much headway.
When you think of defining a timeline you also need to consider the resources at your disposal. By resources I mean time, money and how much of both you have at your disposal to achieve the goal.

You also need to consider that along with working on this goal there are other things that you might have to do. If you want to be an online entrepreneur along with having a fulltime job, you need to be realistic about the time you are going to be able to spend building your business. Also delay and procrastination is going to make sure that you don’t reach your goal on time.


In Summary:

  1. Know Your WHY.
  2. Measure Your Start Point, Set Your End Point.
  3. Allocate Time Based on your schedule
  4. Take Action & Measure Progress

Decisions & Success: What Is decision?

Being Confused and the Trait of Indecisiveness

Have you come across a very confused individual, someone who cannot make up their mind about anything and take timely decisions? They think and constantly deliberate but cannot seem to come to a conclusion. They don’t want make a wrong decision and therefore end up making no decision at all.

Different Types of decisions

I was so scared of making an incorrect decision that I would end up taking no decision at all until I was forced to make a decision.
I would think endlessly in my head about the pros and cons of each option in front of me, over and over again. This process of deliberation was mentally taxing and emotionally draining. The agony I endured reflected upon my face. I would try to delay making a decision to a point that it was no longer a decision of mine but the only remaining option. When you are forced to make a decision that you wouldn’t rather make, you are no longer in control of your life.

Then there was the other side to it. When life seemed to have stood still and yet time passed by swiftly I would panic. Whenever I saw my peers and colleagues move ahead in their lives be it a career, relationship or finances I would realize how boring and stationary my life had been and I was desperate to make a change. To escape this I would make rash, ill thought decisions that served me no purpose.

The Decision cycle

So I went from being rational in the decision making process , procrastinated about taking the decision then forced to make a decision which caused me to take rash and emotional decisions.

The Truth about Decisions

What I realized is that there is no thinking model or process that guarantees that you will take the right decisions all the time. You just won’t.
In its essence a decision is the act of coming to a conclusion after deliberating on the choices you have at your disposal. You can take a day, a week or a month, years even to think and deliberate on your choices but once you come to a conclusion, you must act.

P.S: I you loved reading this post, spread the love and hit share via the Social Share Bar Below. It’s as easy as a click. Got something on your mind, leave a comment for me in the comment section below.