“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer
The ability to work faster and more efficiently gives you the freedom to do more of what you want in your leisure time — whether it’s to read a good book, go for a jog, or practice playing your guitar. (Note: Substitute your favorite instrument; I’m a guitar player, so I’m a bit biased.)
Toward that end, here are nine ideas you can use to increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:
1. Don’t be a perfectionist
Be a careful worker, but don’t agonize over your work past the point of diminishing returns. If extra effort no longer produces a worthwhile improvement in your final product, it’s time to stop.
Strive for excellence, not perfection. You’ll find your clients don’t have the time or budget for perfection. Of course, that does not mean you deliberately make errors or give less than your best. What it does mean is that you stop polishing and fiddling with the job when you reach the point where the changes you’re making won’t likely impact the result. After that point, you stop worrying over the project, and see how it performs.
French dramatist, poet, and novelist Alfred de Musset said, “Perfection does not exist. To understand this is the triumph of human intelligence; to expect to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness.”
2. Free yourself from the pressure to be an innovator
Do the best you can to meet your client’s requirements, but don’t feel pressured to reinvent the wheel or create a masterpiece with every project you take on. Many writers have a false notion that you must uncover some great truth or revolutionary idea and concept for a project to be a success. But in truth, most successful business solutions are just a commonsense combination of existing solutions packaged to meet a specific need.
When you eliminate performance pressure, you can focus on doing your best work instead of worrying about whether what you are doing is different from or better than what others have done before you. Just do the best you can, and 99 percent of the time that will be enough.
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