25 Mar 2022

5 Top Tips for a Productive Lifestyle


As a twenty-something working professional, living a “productive lifestyle” is a common aspiration.

But what does this “productive lifestyle” boil down to, and why can it improve your life?

As an Engineer, when looking at operational productivity, I can be very detached. I take the useful output of a process and divide it by the total input. From there, I can remove any wasted inputs find increased efficiency.

But it is hard to look at personal productivity in the same impersonal light. Personal productivity is:
efficiently accomplishing tasks that bring you closer to your goals, while maintaining balance across key areas of your life. And really that balance is the key – being able to achieve your goals without sacrificing things.

ticking off goals gif | Stemettes Zine

Over the past 10 years I have:

  • Finished my PhD
  • Bought a house
  • Bought a puppy
  • Excelled within my career
    All whilst maintaining a network of friends and running many marathons.

In this time, I have definitely become more self-aware of what makes me productive and how to harness this. I thought I would pass on my top 5 tips that you can apply to your lifestyle:

Work out the priorities and tasks in your life that deserve your time and energy. Take time to streamline and prioritise what you care about the most.

    1. Self-reflect on your strengths, those that you use regularly, and those that you don’t. Things you do well but may not enjoy and things you find hard and don’t enjoy. Free strength profiles Strengths Profile are a great way to allow you to reflect. If you have flexibility in your job or your life, think about how to make the most of those skills.
    2. Take time to reflect on when you have “peak energy” within a day or a week and when you have dips. Protect your peak hours for tasks that need the most attention or that you find hardest.
low energy woman gif | Stemettes Zine
  1. Breakaway from the need to say yes. If something doesn’t align with your goals, don’t feel obliged to help or take the opportunity. There will be times you can take on more, and times when you have to step back.
  2. Be present and stop multi-tasking. If you have committed to something because it deserves your time and energy then fully commit to it. By multi-tasking and giving it half of your attention, you are adding to your to-do list but achieving less. You will also get less back from everything you give half of your attention to.

Focus your time and energy on what enables you to meet your goals, professional or personal. By trimming those added burdens, you can achieve your goals in a sustainable way. In freeing up time and energy for other things you enjoy, you will feel much more productive and lead a better life.

This article was written by Dr Sarah Connolly, Materials Engineer.
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