Productivity boils down to one skill: self-control. When we think of our own ability to have self-control, it’s easy to focus on our negative past; how we’ve failed at being successful and our lack of self-determination when something has gone wrong. We all fall short of being productive during times of stress, exhaustion, boredom, etc. Although we may not always be chomping at the bit to increase our potential, there are simple behaviors that we can apply to our daily lives to enable us to keep a balanced workflow.
The first behavior is to focus on the final solution, not the initial problem. Create a plan from the get-go that will allow you to fix the problem rather than dwelling on issues that you are first presented with. Be dedicated and intentional with your strategy to be sure you are staying on track. Once you have an overall plan in place, you will feel more confident in your decisions when obstacles get in your way. This boost in confidence will do wonders for your self-control.
Secondly, forgive yourself when you fail. We will all have moments of failure in our lives, but we know that we learn best from these experiences. Don’t allow fear of failure to hinder your drive in your professional career. So, once you do fail, reflect on how you can grow from your misstep, apply it, and move forward. The immobilizing negativity that will surround you if you do not forgive yourself will be debilitating toward your overall productivity.
Don’t say yes to every offer you are given. Putting yourself in a position to be overworked will lead you down a road of long-term anxiety and stress. You may feel you have a laser focus because you can stay more productive with your laundry list of tasks, but this will soon turn into a disaster. Smart workers will not take on more work than they can handle because they know the end goal is unattainable.
Do you have a Type A personality? If so, the next learned behavior might not come easy for you but is imperative to finding a healthy balance in your work life. Do not seek perfection. Typically, perfectionists are more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient, and/or aggressive in their nature. Although perfection feels attainable, emotionally intelligent people know that it doesn’t exist. When perfection is your number one goal, you will have a nagging feeling of failure looming in the back of your head knowing that things didn’t go the way you wanted.
Lastly, don’t give in to temptation. When you feel your self-control diminishing, take ten minutes before giving in to the temptation. This short amount of time will allow negative feelings to subside so you can move past the sudden impulse. One of the best ways to avoid the pull toward temptation is to allow yourself plenty of rest outside of work. A healthy sleep/rest cycle will be vital to keeping your mind sharp and fighting off the sudden desires that are unhealthy to your work life.
When you begin to put these strategies into practice, it’s important to remember that they all play a crucial role in your success toward self-control and productivity. There will be times when you need to reevaluate your approach and personalize your strategy, but that’s what enables us to be better workers and grow in our experiences.