Productivity woes

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by Anuj Mehta

A couple of months ago I was going through a "Productivity drought". In office I was shamelessly procrastinating my project work, aimlessly browsing the net, and in home watching any crap movie that I could get (I reached the height when I saw 2-3 Korean movies and that too with no subtitles). During that time I even thought of writing a book with title "101 ways of killing time in office". I came up with this title as during my aimless browsing I even searched for a book with that name and couldn't find one so I thought probably I can jot down my thoughts which may be helpful to other lazy guys:)
Luckily I got a break for 3-4 days from office as I need to travel to my hometown and I was able to think clearly about how can I utilize my time and overcome this indolence.

In general I prefer multitasking. Normally I am involved in following activities
1) Working on a project in office for which my company pays me.
2) Work on a personal project. I try to come-up with some idea, spend time in its initial scoping and if it seems plausible I try to work on its implementation. I don't get a penny for this activity but I spend maximum time on this activity as somehow I find great satisfaction in creating something on my own.
3) Reading books.

To break free from clutches of procrastination I did following
1) Start early - I started waking up early so that I can reach office by 7:30 in morning. I am highly productive during the morning hours as most of my peers come by 10:00 and I can easily concentrate on work.

2) Don't check your mails in first 2 hours of work - Earlier in the morning I used to spend close to 1 hour for checking mails be it official, Yahoo!, GMail and others, check scraps on orkut and read online news. Now I just check my official mails in morning and then start working. I work for 2 hours and then my check mails.

3) Avoid context switching - Normally while working I used to keep opening some sites, blogs, twitter etc and spend some time on them. I noticed that these context switches were really affecting my concentration hence I started cut down on it.

Going Forward
Though these measures definitely helped me in improving my productivity but I still feel there is a lot to be improved. Especially my personal project has taken a beating. I am still in initial phase but I am progressing at snail's pace. Probable steps that may help
1) Set daily/weekly targets - Probably I may need to break down the work in small tasks and set daily and weekly targets to complete them.
2) Timeboxing the task - Timeboxing the tasks by setting time lines for small tasks, probably 60 to 90 minutes and strive to complete it in that time frame.


Sapience says:

Nice share Anuj....

Time Management is the key to high productivity and a stress free life. One must prioritize important work (like planning, your core activities) over urgent but not so critical activities.

Your blog is very different and interesting one...