Working hard is a great way to move forward and get ahead. But working hard does not mean working non-stop, using every second to ‘be productive’. If you want to truly be productive you need to work smart.
I recently read an article titled ‘The 7 Rules of Personal Productivity’. It offers some interesting opinions, however it is a select few of those 7 that I focus on – rules 2, 6 and 7. Why these? Because they tell you not to work [all the time].
Rule 2 – Know yourself
Knowing your working limits. Not everyone can work 12 hours a day, others can work more. Understand where your limits are now and work to it and just beyond.
Imagine you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t jump straight in and go. You’d train, starting small and building up. But also, know when to rest. If you had a particularly hard training session one day, your body might need to rest the next. The same is true for your mind – if one day you have a particularly taxing day mentally, take time to recover and restore your mental capacity. Over time it will build up and you will be able to go for longer and longer, but be patient, nothing happens overnight!
Rule 6 – Work when you have to, not when you don’t
“As long as you work hard when you have to and when it counts, you can take time off and screw around when it doesn’t.”
You don’t have to spend every second of every day working. Add other things to your day for variety and for enjoyment. It is important to make sure you still do the things that make you happy. Support a local football team? Go and support them every week! Like to cook? Make sure you have enough spare time to cook proper meals for yourself.
This doesn’t mean doing the bare minimum amount of work. It means finding the amount you need to do the best you can do! If time spent on a task and peak performance were plotted on a diagram, it would be curved – find the optimum.
Rule 7: Take Care of Yourself
You need food and rest. You need a balance.
To be productive you need to prepare you mind and body to work hard. That means fuelling it properly, recovering properly and switching off when needed. Eat food with family without talking about work, go to the gym and listen to music. Find something that switches your mind off from work, then when it’s time to get going again you will be raring to go!!
If you don’t feel happy and healthy you can’t work to your best. Push yourself and find where your limits are. Be patient and respect what your body and mind tells you. It takes time to be able to run a marathon.