Want to Boost Your Productivity? Seek a ‘Whole’ Life

Pssst. Here’s a hint: If you want to be more productive at the office or freelancing at the home office (and the occasional Starbucks), there aren’t earth shattering solutions. Instead, unlocking the secret to productivity involves keeping it real. As in real simple — it encompasses having a life! A rich, robust life full of plentiful breaks, nurturing collaborators, and several perspectives.

Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness, wrote in Time, the most productive people have “a rich life outside of work.” For instance, a CEO she knows coached a local softball team. Heffernan wrote, “She said it’s where she honed her leadership skills. It also meant she had to take her mind off work and think in different ways.”

As for the second big tip? Taking breaks. Going against the grain that you get more accomplished by doing more, it’s more like the complete opposite. “It’s easy to think that you’ll get more done if you never stop,” she indicated in the piece. “But what’s clear from neuroscience is that we can easily get resource-depleted (tired) and can quickly become rigid and narrow minded (tunnel vision).” Even if you walk outside for a breath of fresh air, it can do your mind and body some good.

So, if you’re juggling multiple deadlines while concocting enticing headlines, Heffernan suggested seeking outside collaborators. Whether they’re formal or informal, the critical piece is seeking various perspectives. She pointed out in the piece, “Their wide networks allow them to incorporate a wider range of thinking, contacts and information and they bring light and air into the business.”

Lastly, productive people usually work in a variety of industries. Heffernan indicated due to this reason, they’ve “seen different frameworks and approaches.”

According to Heffernan, the most productive professionals have “very wide and rich peripheral vision: External commitments, time to breathe, multiple perspectives, and contacts….There is always much more to them than ever meets the eye. What this means is that the secret to productivity isn’t a new organizer, a piece of software, or a new app. It’s having a whole life.”