If you find it hard to fit it all in, a few sneaky tricks can help you get more out of your time. Whatever you do for work, you can increase your productivity by making the most out of what you might currently see as “downtime”.
Public transport is by far the best place to sneak in some productivity. Simply get yourself a notepad and scribble. If you have a smart phone, get some emails out the way. Even if you don’t have signal, they can still be composed.
Try and solve some problems you’re facing. If you’re artistic, try and come up with some new concepts. If you’re a coordinator, make lists.
If the chaos of the commute is a distraction, get yourself some earphones to drown out the outside world.
If you really have to drive, you can still use this time to be productive. Instead of being distracted by the radio, focus your mind on a problem you are currently dealing with. Don’t stop thinking about that problem until you have some kind of solution. You can rest assured, even though you can’t write, you won’t forget what you come up with.
Yes, you can be doubly productive while doing housework. As you’re already working anyway, there isn’t a great pressure to do anything too productive, but if you use this time to say, catch up on your favorite TV show, this would let you do something more productive later when you would normally be watching TV.
Of course, if this is still not productive enough for you, you could educate yourself with an educational podcast, catch up on your YouTube subscriptions, or if you’re feeling especially productive, make some audio/video notes.
In Your Interactions
This is a little ambiguous and it really does depend on what you do, ie what kind of productivity you want to achieve. Lets’s imagine you are a marketer working on a new email newsletter. You need some content for the newsletter, so spark a discussion with everyone you meet, based around the topic of the newsletter. Use this material, combine it, build on it.
This is just an example, of course. If you’re a designer, you might ask people to pick out the best features of various objects.
Bear in mind that it’s not just about getting other people to generate your material. The purpose is to spark discussion and maybe inspire new ideas. This can be done a lot more effectively by bouncing concepts off other people.
“Innovation favors the connected mind” – Steven Johnson
On the Toilet
Yes, it might sound distasteful, but remember, you are at your most creative when you’re relaxed. This of course doesn’t just apply to the toilet, but also the shower, just before bed, while out for a walk, and any other time when you’re relaxing, or exercising, without any distractions.
So let your mind wander, and then follow it.
It might sound crazy, but it is actually possible to be productive in your sleep. The subconscious mind is very powerful and can integrate concepts that your conscious mind wouldn’t even consider putting together.
How do you improve this skill? It does take practice, but the key is to think of a problem constantly when you go to sleep. Try to solve it while you’re awake, and fall asleep thinking about it. When you’re asleep, your subconscious takes over and can work on the problem in a much more powerful way.
Note, this is not the same as lucid dreaming. It is simply a way of pointing your mind in a chosen direction before you sleep. Practice this technique and your sleep can become a very powerful tool for solving problems. You will jump out of bed with ideas!
Become a Productive Power-House!
So now you have no excuse for not getting things done. As you have seen, even non-productive time can be well spent. You can find time to be ultra-productive without having to squeeze productive time into your day. So make the most out of your days: sneak some productivity into your life.