Tuesday, August 12, 2014


    After graduating from college in May last year, the Canadian Chris Bailey received two great full-time job offers, but refused them.

    He had a plan and accepting any of these proposals would keep him from putting it into practice.

     During 12 months, Bailey and tested read everything he could find on the subject of productivity, sharing his findings on the site that bears the name of the project: A Year of Productivity.

    His goal was to become as productive as possible - and help people to benefit from his discoveries.

    The experiment earned 197 articles during this period, but he published a summary of the most important lessons learned. Here are five of them:

1 - Learn to choose well your tasks in every area of life

     We may have countless things to do in different areas of life (work, education, health, mind, finances, relationships, etc.), but you must sort these tasks according to their worth in improving each of these areas.
Most of them will only consume your time and energy and will not bring remarkable results at all.
     On the other hand, there are some who alone can give you a tenfold return. Discover which ones are they and focus on them.

2 - The most effective tips are the most clichés

         How cliché is to say that the most important tactics to be productive are eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising?
     But know that no matter how silly they may seem, they have proved the most efficient for Chris Bailey. "I think behind the clichés there is such a powerful truth that people feel compelled to repeat them so often they end up losing their value," he wrote.
     "But as someone who has tested hundreds of techniques to better manage his time, energy and attention in the last decade [because he has been researching the subject thoroughly before starting the project] I can state that:
nothing has contributed more to my productivity than eating well, sleeping enough and doing physical exercise".

3 - The three main ingredients for productivity are time, energy and focus

      Bailey found that no matter which techniques he used, they would always involve better managing one or more of these three factors:
time, energy and focus.For him, these are the three key ingredients for consistent productivity.
      If you have lots of energy and focus, but not to manage your time well, eventually devoting many hours to the wrong tasks you wont get the best results.
If you are good at managing your time and have a lot of energy, but doesn't have enough focus, you will be distracted and procrastinate.
And if you have focus and know how to manage your time, but do not know how to manage your energy, you can waste it on less important things.
Therefore, it is essential to have these three skills.

4 - Working too hard for too long is bad for your productivity

     Working nights in a row and not stopping even to lunch calmly may give the impression that you are doing a lot, but definitely doesn't make you a more productive person in the long run.

     "In an experiment that lasted a month, I alternated between working 90 hours a week and 20 hours the following week.
Then I discovered that the productivity was equal in both, for a simple reason:
when I limited the time I would spend on a task, I forced myself to devote more energy in less time so that I could complete it quickly.

     When had more time to work, I tended to procrastinate more and work on activities that give me less results (as we mentioned in the first item), and thus lose more time"states Bailey.

5 - Keep in mind that being productive has to do with how much you achieve, not how much you generate 

      Be gentle with yourself. When you are too focused on being more productive, it is common to make the mistake of focusing on numbers: 
how many pages or words he wrote and read, how many hours he worked, how many emails answered, how much money earned...
      The problem is that, according to Bailey, "unless you work in a factory, measuring your productivity based only on how much you produce will give you a limited overview of how productive you really are."For example, writing a text of 100 words that efficiently condenses what would be written in 500 does not mean you produced less - means you produced better.Replying 200 emails might give the impression that your morning was a success, but were these messages more important than any other single task you could have done instead? 

     Here comes again the discussion of the value of the tasks, and how they contribute to make you feel satisfied not only at the end of the day, but in the end of the week, month and year. 

    Furthermore, one must keep in mind why one wants to achieve certain goals and not lose sight of that objectives, or else ones job satisfaction goes away and the productivity will lose its meaning.

      Finally, Bailey added another point, to keep motivated, it is still necessary to be kind to yourself.
Being more productive requires a tremendous effort, but pushing yourself too much is unreasonable.

     You are trying to make positive changes in your life, then it is important to maintain a positive attitude toward yourself.


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