5 Tips to Be More Productive at Work and at Home in 2023
Here are five tips to boost your productivity this year.
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It's that time of year to set unrealistic New Year's resolutions! If being more productive in 2023 is one of your goals, I hope this article helps.
Since high school, I've been fascinated with personal productivity because I wanted more time to hang out with my friends and play sports and video games. One of my top Gallup CliftonStrengths is "Achiever," and I was able to leverage this strength to complete my doctorate in less than three years while working full-time at a Fortune 500 company and teaching part-time at a local university.
So, here are five tips to help you be more productive at work and home in 2023:
1. Create purpose-based goals
Creating goals aligned with your purpose seems like common sense, but sometimes we achieve our goals because we're not as passionate about the goal as we thought.
I had a chance to interview bestselling author Paul Epstein on my podcast to talk about purpose, and he provided a great formula to help us create and understand purpose-driven goals. He calls it the Head-Heart-Hands equation (Head + Heart = Hands). Head is a mindset, Heart is authenticity, and Hands are our actions. To decide whether to take action (i.e., commit to your New Year's resolution), check in with your Head and Heart. When both Head and Heart are on board, accomplishing a goal is more manageable and can even be fun!
For example, if our goal in 2023 is to lose 10 lbs, our Head says to do it, but there's no Heart-based reason to commit (especially when inconvenience or lack of willpower sets in). But if your Heart is on board (i.e., live a long healthy life to one day raise a family), your Heart gives you a reason to stay committed to the resolution because purpose lives in the Heart. To create more purpose-based goals, we should first emphasize making Heart decisions, not just smart decisions.
2. Lean-based thinking
I got certified in the process improvement methodology, lean (removing waste or non-value-added activities from a process), while working at one of my first corporate jobs to help improve processes for the organization. This same philosophy can help you as you enter the new year. What tasks can you eliminate that do not add value to your goals or happiness? I live in Los Angeles, and if I have an early morning meeting, I'll leave before 6:00 a.m. to beat traffic and work at a Starbucks near the meeting site for an hour or two, rather than sitting in traffic (waste), which could take an extra 1-3 hours.
3. Focus on mental well-being
Gallup's latest data found that stress is at an all-time high. When stressed out, it's hard to focus and complete tasks. To combat stress in my career while working on very demanding projects, I used to go to the gym at 3:30 a.m. to get a workout in before I started my day in the office, but I used this time to practice mindfulness and plan my day. Now that I have kids, I take them on walks in the morning to enjoy nature, talk about life, let mom sleep uninterrupted, and I exercise before bed. Also, another thing that helped me stay positive was not to look at my phone until I finished my workout, got my coffee and ate breakfast. Why would I start my day comparing myself to others on social media or get upset about a work email before I've had my coffee and endorphins?
4. Relationships are key
Interpersonal skills, often referred to as "soft skills," are crucial to building relationships and getting things done at work. Tasks can be completed more quickly and more accurately if we have strong relationships at home and work. For example, if you've helped out folks from a different group or department in your office, they may return the favor by letting you know that a last-minute meeting was called and someone forgot to invite you, which may impact your team. Saying "please" and "thank you" in emails can go a long way. Also, picking up the phone, rather than sending a lengthy email or instant message, is a great way to build relationships or convey a complicated or sensitive issue. Building relationships can happen over coffee or lunch, asking for advice/mentoring and being altruistic.
5. Self-compassion and community
Nothing worth accomplishing happens overnight: Be easy on yourself, and try not to compare yourself to others. You don't know other people's struggles while they are working on their goals. Also, if you want to achieve your goals, build a community of friends and loved ones who do not judge but will help hold you accountable. Surrounding yourself with the right people should probably be the first thing on your "to-do list" going into 2023. Without my wife, classmates and employers' support, I could not have finished my doctorate in less than three years.
Incremental progress should be the most important goal as we enter the new year. As we put away our holiday decorations and catch up on our work emails, let's focus on our goals while not being too hard on ourselves to achieve these goals. Even though there are more than five tips to help us be more productive in 2023, I hope these strategies that worked for me will be helpful for you. Best wishes in 2023!