The Secrets of Productive Women

Women like Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mary Barra are ruling the roost, according to the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list by Forbes.

These are not your run-of-the-mill women, they are smart, intelligent, talented, and productive. At the end of the day, your success largely depends on how productive you are.

Nobody cares for how many hours you put at work or how hard you do your job, if you’re not providing the results then you will not be talked about. However, sadly, being productive can be a challenge for most women.

The world is constantly changing and so are the expectations. This guide will hopefully help you overcome these hurdles and be productive.

Let’s have a look at some tips:

#1 Know What You Want to Achieve | You cannot be productive until you know what you wish to ‘produce’. A lot of us get busy doing too many things, which causes us to lose focus and as a result we are left with a poor outcome.

Multitasking may be a good habit but it does not always produce results. The most important thing is to know your priorities.

Make a to-do list and cover everything that you wish to achieve. It can include short-term goals or long-term goals. Next, have a critical look at it and create a time frame.

#2 It’s Okay to Take a Break | You don’t have to pressurize yourself and work round the clock. It is okay to take a break every now and then to relax. When you’re concentrate on a task, your brain – most importantly the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – goes in an overdrive.

After a point, it needs a break as it gets tired and productivity begins to decrease, according to this study. If you’re concentrate on one task for too long, it begins to feel boring and you start to lose motivation.

Let’s take an example of a writer. You have a 5,000 essay to write but you obviously cannot write it in one day even if you can type these many words.

Writing an essay does not only require getting down on a computer and typing. It needs research, critical thinking, and other such skills. Your brain, like any other part of your body, gets tired and begins to signal  you.

Even if your hands do not ache, your brain will begin to give you signs of fatigue. You’ll begin to make typos, miss details. This is when you should stop and take a break. In fact, merely pausing for five minutes can have a very good impact on your productivity.

Get up, take a stroll, breathe fresh air, have a cup of coffee, and stretch a little. It will cause your muscles to move and the brain will get alert one more time. You can also try other relaxation techniques to soothe your mind.

It should be mentioned that all kinds of professionals need a break, even if your job is not physical. A study by S.J. Scott proved that taking breaks can improve your decision-making ability and will power.

According to his report, judges were more likely to grant parole to prisoners after coming back from a break.

This shows that mental fatigue is different from physical fatigue. Make it a habit to take breaks. It’s also important for your physical health

#3 Know When You’re Most Productive | People are different. Some like to work early in the morning, some enjoy burning the midnight oil.

You need to know when you’re most productive and make good use of this opportunity. This is a question you’ll have to answer on your own as others cannot help you know your strengths.

Plus, if there’s something that can make you more productive than make sure to make good use of it. For example, if caffeine can give you a shot of energy then try to consume caffeine but without going overboard or counting too much on it.

You can get addicted to anything, from music to caffeine. It’s important to control addictions and only choose healthy habits. Caffeine, for example, may make you feel energized in the beginning, but if you count too much on it to provide you with a shot of energy, your body may eventually grow a tolerance or you may end up being in a situation where you cannot function without you daily cup of cuppa.

#4 Remember You Can’t Do it All | Grow the habit of saying no to things. It may sound like a bad idea on paper but it can turn out to be very beneficial in the long-run.

We all are born with limitations. Upwork CEO, Stephane Kasriel, says, “Stop taking on more than you can and trying to multitask or stretch yourself thin. Neither are effective.”

Grow the habit of delegating work to other but you need to make sure to pick someone who has the ability and skills to handle the job well. Moreover, you can still be a mentor or guide to make sure thing don’t go wrong as you may eventually have to intervene.

This is also a very good way to prepare leaders. If you don’t delegate authority you will never know who else is capable enough to handle difficult tasks, 

It may need your intervention in the beginning, but eventually they will learn the art. 

#5 Do It Now | Follow the ‘five minute rule’. If it’s gonna take only five minutes or less than do not delay it. Do it now and get it done with.

Vice chair of General Electric, Beth Comstock, and many other successful women follow this rule to stay productive. There are many advantages of following this simple rule.

A lot of us are in the habit of procrastinating. If you can do something, you should do it now. Think of simple tasks such as sending an email or signing a check. Why delay it if you can do it now?

If you delay a task, you may even forget to complete it later and get into real trouble. So do it now.

Not doing it now may take you even longer if you think about it. Let’s say you just received an email, you read it and decided to reply later even though it would’ve only taken you five minutes to do so.

Now, you will have to come back to your computer, open your email account, get into the threat, have another look at the email, and then reply. This will eventually lead to more wastage of time.

However, if there’s a task that may take you longer then you may delay it, but still make sure to complete it on time. 

#6 Start With Your Toughest Task | A lot of us keep pushing what scares us. This only causes delays and reduces productivity. You should ideally start your day with your toughest tasks. Career strategist Adunola Adeshola follows the same strategy and appears to be quite happy with it.

“Once I’ve scratched the most important thing off my to-do list, I immediately feel like I’ve conquered the day,” she says. “Sure, some days there are five to seven important things, but starting by tackling something critical helps me eliminate busy work and distractions so that I can end the day feeling accomplished.”

There are many benefits of starting with a tough task. We are energized physically and mentally when we start our day, i.e: we can do more. If it’s something demanding, it’s better to do it when you have more energy so that you can complete it.

#7 Keep Distractions Away | Stay away from things that take away your focus. It can be anything from a ringing phone to a nagging friend.

You need to make sure to work in an environment that is free from all kinds of distractions. They can take away your focus and cause you to be less productive. Moreover, distractions can also result in poor outcome.

Once again, think if you’re a writer. You will write well if there’s nobody talking in your ear. If you’re concentration is divided, you may begin to lose your train of thoughts and jumble up words.

Many think this is important only for creative people, but research has proven that distractions can cause anyone to be less productive and provide poor outcomes.

This is it. Follow these simple tips and you will have no difficulty in achieving your goals. However, remember that it may be a little while before you begin to see actual benefits so do not be in a hurry and give it some time.

Also, if possible, try to count your productivity and the growth you see. For example, if you write 1,000 words in 5 hours, try to reduce it to 4 hours. Quantifying goals helps focus and achieving milestones can give you the push that you need to do better.

Danor Aliz
Danor Aliz is a lifestyle journalist who enjoys writing about everything luxury. Her favorite subjects are luxury travel and everything that has to do with fashion. In her spare time, she loves to paint and also enjoys her time walking her dog Daisy.

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The Secrets of Productive Women