3 Steps to Owning Your Productivity


How much control do we really have over our own productivity? Turns out, a lot.


The trick to becoming more productive lies in doing what works for you, and we’re here to help you uncover exactly what that is.


Step 1: Get crystal clear on what you’re working toward.

Life gets busy and distractions are endless, so it’s important to remember that you are the only one with the power to motivate yourself. You can get momentary bursts of inspiration from a great boss, an ambitious friend, or good quote on Instagram, but at the end of the day, you can’t charge ahead if you don’t know where you’re going. Before you can increase your productivity, you need to get crystal clear on where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, and beyond. What are your goals? What motivates you?


Bonus Tip: In August’s Gritty Book of the Month, Primed to Perform, the authors explain the six different motives on the Motive Spectrum, ranging from direct (more effective) to indirect (less effective). We highly recommend reading it if you want to explore your motivating factors and learn how to effectively motivate others.


Step 2: Determine your optimal work environment.   

Productivity starts with the ability to focus, so your environment has to be working for you, not against. First, ask yourself if you’re an introvert or an extrovert because people with different temperaments thrive in very different settings. Studies show us that extroverts work best in lively environments and can feel sluggish or lazy without regular stimulation. Introverts on the other hand, require uninterrupted periods of solitude, low noise, and limited distractions.


Bonus tip: for those of you who work remote or from home, use locational anchors to build productive states. Basically, the brain works through power of association and the more associations we build for for a specific task, the easier it will be to accomplish it. Example: power through emails from your kitchen table, sit at your office desk to write blogs or proposals, take conference calls from your couch, etc.


Step 3: Increase your productivity by creating a strategic plan.

There are so many productivity tips and tricks out there, but they all boil down into these three areas:

  1. Energy: increase the physical, mental, and emotional energy you have available for each task.

  2. Effectiveness: doing more of the right things and fewer of the unnecessary things.

  3. Efficiency: improve the systems you use to complete a given task or project.

Take a step back and asses yourself in each of these three areas. Is your productivity tanking because of one area or is it a combination of all three? Here are some of our tips for improving your energy, effectiveness, and efficiency.

  • Energy: sleep at least 8 hours per night, get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes per day, eat clean burning foods, meditate, and take strategic breaks to maintain your energy and enthusiasm.  

  • Effectiveness: designate email blocks every 2-3 hours, analyze the types of tasks you’re doing- you’ll likely find that the 80/20 rule applies (20% of your activities produce 80% of the desired results) and you can cut some tasks out, and organize your tasks into the Eisenhower Matrix

  • Efficiency: create canned responses for emails you type often, write training or how-to guides for your team to limit repeat questions, or try the Pomodoro technique or Ivy Lee Method



Remember, you own your productivity so try some of the strategies above and keep track of what’s working and what’s not. We strongly encourage you to keep a productivity journal where you can document flow states so you can recreate them in the future.