February 2019 Te Contractor’s Advantage
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Productivity in Work and Life
Some people have a passion for productivity. They look for ways to increase their efficiency and to be mindful of their time. I count myself among those people. While some connect productivity solely with work, I cast a wider net. I think about how I can be more productive in work and life together. A lot of how productive I am comes down to how I spend my time. I want to be able to spend as much high-quality time with my family as I can while also balancing the time I spend working at the firm. That said, I’m just as likely to think through a complex legal issue on a Saturday morning at home as I am to go for a quick jaunt around the office to get a little exercise on a weekday — I’m not rigid in how I approach work or life. But I do stay mindful of how I use my time — with an emphasis on consistency — which is an important part of being productive, whatever you may be doing. I consistently start my day with three 20-minute bursts of activity, which makes me very productive for the rest of my day. For instance, I wake up at 5 a.m. every morning. My goal is to get ahead of the day and get my mind going. As soon as I’m ready, I spend about 20 minutes exercising. I might hop on my smart trainer — a cycling device which hooks up to my bike for indoor cycling and performance tracking (it even hooks up to the TV, and you can “ride” a variety of trails). Alternatively, I may go for a walk. I live near a college campus with many wooded walking paths. I find that it’s a great way to get a little exercise and clear my head.
After exercise, I spend another 20 minutes reflecting on what I’m grateful for, or dedicating myself to writing in my journal. I write down thoughts, ideas, aspirations, goals — whatever may be on my mind that morning. I often use that time to plan out my whole day in half-hour chunks. It’s another way for me to keep organized and focused. I then devote another 20 minutes to reading. Sometimes, this is the only 20 minutes I have available to read on a given day. However, while I may only read for 20 minutes a day, those minutes can go a long way. No matter the book — whether it’s book on business, productivity, or a biography — I’m always learning something new. For instance, I recently re-read Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work.” In the book, Newport discusses distinguishing factors between shallow, more superficial work, and deeper, more meaningful and productive work. There is a lot to be said about what we do in a day and how it divides our attention.
everyone else in the house is waking up. I have more time to spend with my wife and kids, and I don’t have to worry about my work distracting me while I’m spending time with them. I cherish those moments when I get to take the kids to a museum, or talk about history with them. Above all else, I want to make sure they have the tools and self-confidence they need to forge a happy life for themselves going forward. A lot of that comes down to the time I spend being present and connected with them. That’s why productivity is so important to me.
By around 6 a.m. I’m ready to take on the day, which is just about when
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