8 Productive Ways How to Spend Your Time
By Chris Savage
What Is a Productive Life?
Living a productive life isn't “doing a lot of things”.
A productive life is “doing a lot of meaningful things”.
Productivity is what will enable you to manifest your goals and dreams.
Having a productivity app or a long to-do list doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting any closer to living your ideal life.
But the quality of the tasks you have on your list does.
Low-quality tasks are routine mundane activities like shopping and paying bills.
High-quality tasks are activities that contribute directly to your long term success.
A productive life is spending 80% or more of your time on the most worthwhile activities and cutting out the rest.
How Can I Have a Productive Life?
1. Set Goals and Objectives
The first and most important way to live a productive life is to decide what’s most important to you.
Set clear goals and objectives and a plan to reach them.
In order to reach maximum productivity you need to line up the following characteristics and behaviours;
2. Develop a Productive Mindset
With a lazy mindset, you’ll never be productive.
It takes mental discipline to stay focused on what counts, day in and day out.
Most of the time we don’t do what we know we should be doing, simply because at that moment we don’t feel like doing it.
Successful, productive people don’t think like that.
There’s always a temptation to “do it later” because “it’s too hard” and “I don’t feel like it”.
But to live a productive life you need to override your desire for ease and do what’s in your best interest over the long term.
For the productive mind, “not doing it because I don’t feel like it” isn't an option.
3. Watch Your Habits and Lifestyle
The Greek philosopher Aristotle said in 384 B.C, “Excellence is a habit”.
That was 3,000 years ago and still holds true today.
Your long term failure or success is determined by what you did yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Accomplishing your goals and dreams happens one step at a time.
It comes from doing the right things, day after day.
Every action you spend your time on, always ask yourself “is this moving me closer to, or further away, from my goals?”.
8 Productive Things to Do With Your Time
1. Improve Your Skills
To be more you need to know more.
Improving your knowledge and skills opens up more opportunities because you’re smart enough to seize them when they’re in front of you.
Seeing an opportunity is one thing, being able to execute and make the most of it is another.
If you don’t grow and develop you decay and die.
But what it means is that if you don’t continually upgrade and improve your current skills, you'll soon be obsolete.
If what you currently do is your passion, put your energy into getting better at it and mastering your craft.
If you want to do something different with your life, decide what it is and what skills you need to be excellent at that thing.
Success has no time for laziness and procrastination. Get to work!
2. Wake Up Earlier
The wise man Ben Franklin used to say “Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise”.
Take the advice of old Ben and start to rise earlier.
There are a number of benefits to waking up earlier in the morning;
- Your productivity increases because you have more time to do what matters most. Truly productive people get more done by 11 am than most people get done in a day.
- You can start your day with the right mindset and focus your mind on the day ahead.
- Waking up early gives you time to write your goals, do your visualization, set your objectives for the day or even take time to meditate.
- You can fit a workout in before the day gets too hectic. A common excuse you hear from people who don’t workout is “I don’t have the time”. Wake up earlier and get it out of the way, then get on with your day.
Waking up earlier is better for your overall quality of life.
When you wake up late you’ve missed the best part of the day.
You feel sluggish, and you're far from your best in terms of your ability to be productive.
3. Read to Learn
Similar to skills improvement, a productive way to use your time is to read quality content and learn interesting things.
When you read, read with a purpose.
While books are an incredible source of inspiration and knowledge they can also turn into a procrastination tool if you’re not careful.
Sure you need knowledge about your area of expertise.
But you don’t read a book about martial arts and become a black-belt.
You don’t read a few books about the stock market and become a master trader.
Be sure to implement what you read and learn.
If you don’t it’s a waste of your time and not productive at all.
Everything you do either moves you further from or closer towards, your goals and objectives.
4. Set Goals and a Plan
One of the most productive things you can do is to refine your goal and your plan.
Be as specific as you can while being flexible and adaptable.
The more you think about and write about your goals the deeper they’re embedded into your unconscious mind.
The deeper they’re embedded, the less you have to consciously try to achieve them.
Your thoughts and behaviors start to automatically align with who you want to be and what you want to have.
The process takes time. It's so subtle to be almost imperceptible.
One day you'll look around and see how far you've come.
5. Start Your New Business
Remember that business you’ve always wanted to do and said “one day” or “I’d like to?” Well, now’s the time.
The best way to be productive with your time is to invest it in activities that benefit your life in the long term.
Building a business not only gives you a chance at a better future, it forces you to become a more efficient person.
You either get better or fail, simple as that.
There are so many skill sets and roles you have to apply simultaneously that you have to be at your best if you expect to succeed in business, as in life.
The principles here related to business are transferable to mastering any new skill.
Whether building a business, learning a new language or musical instrument, and even changing your entire life for the better.
6. Travel Somewhere New
Traveling to new places and experiencing new cultures inevitably cause you to grow.
The experience expands mind and perspective on the world.
You get to know yourself when you travel, especially when you travel solo.
You never really know who you are and what you're capable of until you're in a new and unfamiliar place.
You’re away from the familiarities of your everyday life.
You don’t know anyone. You’re the outsider.
Travelling enriches your life. You can clear your mind and renew your mission and goals.
There’s a reason people look so refreshed and relaxed when they return from a good trip away.
7. Take a New Career Path
If you’re not happy where you are career-wise, dedicate time to updating your resume and applying for new jobs.
It sounds like a simple task.
But to sit down and format a compelling resume, then search for jobs you’re suitable for, and then apply for them all, takes time.
Ideally, you’d want to apply for 20 per week. Most you’ll apply for and never hear anything back.
A few you’ll hear back from but not make it through. Play the numbers game.
Remember when you send your resume to a prospective employer, they don’t know you’re you.
All they have is an email with your name on it.
Make your resume stand out in some way to show some of your personality and attitude towards life and work.
Always follow up with a phone call a few days later so they can hear your voice.
It lets them know you’re a real person and you care enough about the position to follow up.
8. Start Working Out
Working out stimulates your mind and recharges your body.
The vast majority of productive people workout.
Exercise isn’t only enjoyable, it clears your mind of problems and worries.
You see things from a more balanced perspective.
Exercise shouldn’t be a chore or a task. It should just be something you do.
When you’re working out regularly you’re also fuelling your other goals.
The increased stamina, focus and ability to apply self-discipline all overlap with the other areas of your life.
Working out isn’t just about a healthier body. You work out for a healthier life.
Living Your Productive Life
Living a productive life means spending as much time as you can doing things that matter to you.
That means structuring your day around specific activities that are directly related to your goals.
Being productive starts with the right mindset and a willingness to override short term discomfort in the pursuit of long term pleasure and gain.
Your habitual habits and behaviors today are what determine where your life will be 3 years from now.
Where do you want to be in 3 years?
What behaviours and characteristics do you need to develop now in order to get there?
Spend your time doing productive things. Here are a few ideas;
- Improve your skills and knowledge
- Waking up earlier
- Reading and learning
- Working out
- Starting a new business, learning a musical instrument or second language
- Travel to new places and experience the world
- Update your resume and pursue a better career
There are so many productive things you can spend your time on.
It all comes down to which activities are most applicable to the particular goals and objectives you have for your life.
Whatever you do, always ask yourself “is this moving me closer to, or further away from, who I want to be and what I want to have”.
Quotes About Living a Productive Life
“Focus on being productive instead of busy” - Tim Ferriss
“You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool your own mind” - David Allen
“It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less” - Nathan W. Morris
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest” - Leo Babauta
“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night” - Michael Jordan“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach” - Benjamin E. Mays