There are many self-help books that talk about the secrets of productivity and they all basically boil down to this: you need to be able to plan your day down to the minute and avoid procrastination if you want to be productive. You need to list down your tasks so you won’t forget them, and you need to follow a daily plan to be more organized. Otherwise, you will be labeled as unproductive, and that’s always a negative connotation.
But the reality is that these productivity tips will never work for everybody. Other people’s success stories won’t necessarily be true for you. There are no set of rules that you need to follow strictly that will magically boost your productivity.
Even if you try to become a morning person, plan your day ahead by listing the things that you need to do, and keep to this routine, it won’t necessarily mean that you will become more productive. All this will make you is probably a better list-maker.
Why don’t these work?
Here’s a secret. Productivity isn’t your problem. Neither is time management. The problem is that you’re trying to solve the wrong problem. It’s not that you have too many things to do, but how you could focus on which tasks to prioritize. Whether you accomplish those tasks or not has nothing to do with managing your time properly or planning the day ahead.
What’s the real key to productivity?
You need to know what works for you. Whether it’s working at night instead, working fewer number of hours per day and maintaining eagle-eye focus during those hours, taking a jog before working, working outdoors, cooking or reading a book in between tasks, setting a deadline for every task that needs to be done, or cramming everything until the very last hour before a deadline–your productivity will depend on what system and setup work for you.
Personal productivity isn’t dependent on some cosmic rule that governs all people. It depends on your internal rhythm, what sparks your creativity, and factors to keep you focused that only you could identify.