This article is A Productivity Masterclass in 4 minutes.

I know you’ve read and implemented systems around productivity your whole life, and you just reviewed them all during COVID 19 too. Yet, frustratingly, you are still struggling to maintain your game consistently.

What am I doing wrong ? you ask, as when you look around your social feed, you see many people starting side gigs, and growing their incomes while you barely have time to breathe.

The industry for collaborative tools that enhance productivity is projected to grow 14% year on year. Folks, this has become a very lucrative ongoing problem to solve.

The more information-rich our world becomes, the more we need a better way to play the information game. We need clever and creative ways to engage that multi-dimensional computer known as our brain.

COVID has introduced us to a so-called “new normal” and way of living that we’re still not entirely used to but for the digital business this is an oasis.

More entrepreneurially minded people are coming up with ways to serve online like they never have before, and they employ more tools and strategies than the averaged salaried worker no matter the pay scale.

To show up strong in an increasingly competitive space, you need great systems. But here’s the thing. Your productivity is not only about what you implement for you but about what you influence in everyone around you.

These are the 5 ways you can improve your productivity game.

Robust tools and systems.

The most famous works on productivity comes from David Allen’s Getting things done framework and Brian Tracy’s attractive frog digestion experiment (eat that frog).

These models are fantastic, but I must point out that they work only for what you do yourself. If you are working with customers, collaborators, other service providers, and teams, you need to leverage your productivity influence on them too.

There are tools out there that can help you leverage influence if used well. Click up and Asana are two of my favourites. The best systems for delivering influence however are designed by your emotional intelligence skills on top.

Mental models and mindsets.

Easily, this is productivities best-kept secret and makes up for most of the 80% of great ideas you are probably not following today.

Being able to identify the mental models you use when completing most tasks, and the mindset you have, opens the door to documenting, studying and improving those systems.

Elon Musk talks about first principles. Warren Buffet talks about the 5-hour rule. Jeff Bezos talks about being a day 1 company. These are mental models they are using to navigate their days. What models are you using?

I love the work of the late Tony Buzan on mind mapping, it’s a great way to get clarity on how you think about something. To take this to the next level, build models from your maps.

The Motion Motivators. Simon Sinek has become synonymous with the word “Why” because it’s the fundamental reason we improve anything at all in our lives. In this context, why do you want to be productive?

For some of us, it’s because we get a payoff from the status quo as it is. We draw energy, status, self-actualisation, from being busiest; the one who’s bulb never goes out. Trust me, I know that person, and in many ways, I’m still that person except for one thing. I realised as an entrepreneur, how you spend your time is how you spend your money. What’s stopping you from being motivated to make a change?

The fourth productivity burner we seldom acknowledge is Decision Making Friction. It’s the reason Mark Zuckerberg wears the same tee shirt every day, or why Steve Jobs did before him. Decision making exhausts the brain. The central idea of friction reducers is to allow the brain more bandwidth to spend energy on the essential things.

The last but not least is the mental health factor and the skill of Hyper-Focus. I associate this with my favourite sport, tennis. Watching Nadal and Djokovic play against each other is like a master class in hyper-focus.

Both healthy and physical, it takes a combination of patience, foresight, power and precision for any points to register against the other. This is what we want for our brains; short sprints with mini regroup breaks. Mastering hyper focus takes deliberate action and self-care.

Are you ready to change your productivity game?

Click here to explore the course I’ve created on Udemy.

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Katherine Ann Byam

Author, activist, coach and consultant for innovation and sustainable change. She’s the founder of Dieple Consulting & Where Ideas Launch.