How Everyone Else Lives Productively

Ever felt that way? You see people who just seem to have it all together. You know who I am talking about, right? There are people who just exude productivity and a smile whilst being productive. They rock their planner. They make it their water boy. They dominate their schedule and make their schedule their water boy.

What is it with the water boy metaphor? Glad you asked. A second definition of a “water boy” is “one who fails or becomes a failure on all accounts”. That’s right, productive people actually make their planners and schedules ‘“fail” to overtake them. They succeed. How do they do it? Let’s take a peak.

There are 5 components to effective planning and productivity. They are as follows:

  1. Make a brain dump list: I dislike this step most days. Why? Because I have ADHD. It’s not an excuse. I am “neurodiverse”. However, I can still do it. It just takes a little extra effort. You can too! Here’s the good news: you don’t have to organize this list. You are just trying to free your mind by purging the running list in your head of what you have to do. Getting it on paper helps to clear your mind and strengthen your resolve because the things you need to do are now in black and white in front of your eyes, not bouncing around inside your head.
  2. Structure Your Day into Thirds (Morning/Afternoon/Evening): Productivity usually starts at a high point in the morning and fades as the day continues. Perhaps consider putting high level important tasks upfront while you are at your top energy level of the day. If you are not a morning person, reverse this order and ease into those important items as your brain wakes up and energy is at a high level. Noon is a time generally to take a break and eat lunch. If you can, try not to skip lunch and try to eat protein. It helps your brain. Afternoon, which starts after you eat lunch, can continue on the foundation of the morning and sometimes may require a continuation of the morning tasks to complete them. Evening, after work, presents an opportunity for self-care, to unwind and relax. This is important and often hard to do if you are highly driven and have lots of goals outside of your professional life. Structuring your day is key to successful high level productivity.
  3. Be as specific as you can: This can be difficult if you have ADD/ADHD because time is often a vacuum that gets sucked out of your awareness. However, it can be done. If you are able and willing, see if you can assign tasks to timeframes. Perhaps you decide that you will work for 45 minutes each hour and take a 15 minute break. See if you can drill down into specific tasks during those 45 minutes and maybe allot 3-5 minutes during your 15 minute break to review where you have been and where you are going the rest of the day.
  4. Be flexible about flexibility: Life happens, if you haven’t noticed. It shows up in unexpected ways. There will be problems and interruptions. There will be deadlines that must be postponed. There will be “incidents and accidents and hints and allegations”….as Paul Simon once sang. Through it try to be like water, free-flowing and relaxed flowing through the channel in front of you.
  5. Test Drive and Refine: On the heels of #4, it is likely your first attempt at your schedule-creation will need tweaking. This is perfectly fine. It is not an exact science specifically because life is not linear (see above). Failure is one step closer to success. Allow yourself to not get it right. Allow yourself the grace to reassess and start over with a stronger plan no matter how many times it takes. It’s about progress not perfection.

So, we have seen 5 ways you can implement to live a more productive life. Don’t just let other people be productive. Show’em what you got, you got this, but seriously, it’s okay to ask for help if you need it to take the next step in your professional and personal life of planning, goal setting and execution of the same. And let Adam Sandler be the Water Boy!

Chris Newcomb

Chris Newcomb

VPRSN Coordinator

Chris Newcomb, M.Div., PRS, CPMC, CWF, CSSF is the VPRSN Coordinator on behalf of Mental Health America of Virginia. He holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Radford University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. In his spare time, he is a singer/songwriter who loves to write new songs, practices Krav Maga, and enjoys time with family and friends.


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