I know we all measure productivity differently. We all know the norm from productivity wizards. It is all about the schedule. We need to plan wisely and efficiently to use our time to get the most done. Except some of us may not measure our productivity only on how many chores we complete at home and how many tasks get completed at work.
When you talk to a variety of people, most people feel productive if they were able to get the most important things done and still have joy in what they do…joy in life. Just crossing things off the to-do list in a quest for completion is not everyone’s definition of productivity.
I would like to think a fully productive week allows you to spend time with the people we love most, get the main priorities done in our work and our home (and done well), have time to take care of ourselves and our health, and be able to concentrate enough to keep God top of mind throughout. Here are 10 ingredients to an incredibly productive week:
- Look at the whole week at a time. We all have the same amount of time in our week and to ensure we use it as wisely as possible, it helps to get a big-picture view of the week. At the beginning of each week I look at my weekly schedule. I try to make sure I have a reasonable schedule set for my time for the whole week. This keeps me from waking up one day and realizing at about lunch time that I haven’t really accomplished anything for the day. I haven’t accomplished anything I need to or want to.
- Schedule in your most favorite things. We think of productivity as the things we need to do that are not fun. I think this may be because we don’t think of productivity as a spiritual concept. However, it is clear that we are supposed to glorify God in all that we do…to me this includes being productive. When we glorify God it provides us joy. So my circular logic is to schedule in time with my favorite people, doing my favorite activities, in some of my favorite places as part of planning for a productive week.
- Make a list (for home and work) of the most important items that need to be accomplished this week. These are the highest priority to you personally. Schedule these into your weekly calendar also.
- Make a list of all of the things you can delegate to others and delegate. We delegate for many reasons. One is to make us more productive. This allows us to get stuff done while we work on other things or do one of our most favorite things. Without a plan, delegation doesn’t happen. By it’s nature, when we delegate we need to have enough time for someone else to get the responsibility accomplished and still provide time for us to review if necessary. It usually isn’t wise, and creates stress in us and others, when we delegate at the last minute.
- Make sure you are eating right. We need energy to be productive. When we are busy we tend to actually skip meals or eat convenient unhealthy options. Making sure we have enough protein, fat, and carbs through lean meat, lots of fruit and lots of vegetables can make all of the difference in the world. Changing how you eat can completely change your energy level and, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely more productive when I have energy.
- Make sure you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep also provides energy, but more than that it allows me to think better. Seriously, when I am tired I can’t think. My concentration is off and I can also have situational ADD. I just can’t stay focused on one thing. Sleep helps me in so many ways. I start the day with more energy and concentration. I am usually more creative. And, I communicate much better. I am more positive and in less of a hurry.
- Exercise. Honestly, it is the same as eating right and sleeping well. It also keeps us stronger and we can sustain activity for longer periods of time.
- Schedule difficult tasks that require greater concentration for earlier in the morning. Or late in the evening if you are a night owl. I feel like I can concentrate better right after a good night sleep, so I am definitely a morning person. But, I know we are not all the same. Basically schedule your more difficult or creative tasks when you are at your best.
- Pray about your week. Ask God to show you where He wants you to spend your time. Our purpose is to be available for God’s work and open to Him working through us for His Kingdom. I want Him to know that I am available and willing…if not capable, I know He can still work through my weakness.
- Maintain margin in your week. There will always be something that comes up that we did not plan. The key to keeping these unexpected interruptions from destroying our whole week is to maintain some flexibility in our schedule. When we have every minute scheduled, when something comes up or goes wrong, it can create a domino effect leaving our week less productive at best, chaotic or harmful at worst.
Overall, we need more than just an efficient schedule to have a productive week. We need to also be in the right place physically, mentally and spiritually. It all makes a difference.
How about you? What makes up your recipe of an incredibly productive week?