4 Things to Know About Yourself to Increase Productivity
What do you do on those days when you’re lacking productivity? Do you look outward — to motivational quotes and external rewards — for inspiration? Or do you look inward?
When you start by looking inward, you’re likely to find the tools you need to be a more productive person. There are a few things I believe you should know about yourself, your personality, and the reasoning behind your actions to make the most of your twenties.
I see the items in this post as simplification tools, rather than productivity hacks. They will simplify your decision-making process, making it easier to get things done. Knowing these things might even help you get more done in less time. How great does that sound?
To learn what you should know about yourself in order to increase productivity, just keep reading.
1. Your ideal amount of sleep
One could argue that the hours you spend sleeping are the most important hours of your day. Just as our smartphones need recharging at the end of the day, our bodies and brains need those restorative hours. Knowing how long it takes you to reach 100% is essential to living your most productive life.
Have you ever noticed how much we brag about lack of sleep? When we get only a few hours of rest, we wear it like a badge of honor, displayed for everyone to see. It’s as if we believe sacrificing sleep makes us more productive (or gives off such an appearance to others). This mindset is toxic and counterproductive.
Adequate sleep helps us become more focused, productive, and creative. We are less likely to make mistakes, and we are far less irritable than we would be otherwise.
Whether it’s 6 hours, 8 hours, or even 10 hours (like Albert Einstein), figure out what works for you. Then, commit to giving yourself the right amount of sleep every night.
How to discover your ideal amount of sleep
A good way to find your ‘right’ amount of sleep is to follow these few steps. (Keep in mind that this is simply a suggestion based on what has worked for me.)
- Choose a day to begin tracking & go to sleep when you’re ready. Check the time and don’t set an alarm.
- The next morning, wake up naturally. When you do, note how long you were asleep.
- For the next week, commit to getting that same amount of sleep every night.
- Throughout the week, journal about how you’re feeling & make any necessary adjustments.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, is an advocate for the power of sleep. I’d recommend reading up on her personal experiences with sleep deprivation, as well as the Sleep Revolution she strives to bring awareness to.
2. The time of day when you function best
Knowing when you function best can help you structure your days around your most productive hours, allowing you to spend less time getting more done. This can be as simple as knowing whether you’re a morning person or a night owl.
When you first wake up, are you inspired to get the day started, or do you find yourself hitting snooze? When you get home from work, do you spend time on your hobbies, or are you ready for a nap? Personally, I’m a morning person. I wake up feeling inspired and eager to work on my personal development. However, when I get home from work, consider me out for the count.
Pay attention to the time of day when you feel most motivated and take advantage of it. If possible, craft your schedule around this time by planning to work on your biggest projects or most important tasks. Then, fill your less productive time of day with those smaller, easier tasks. This will make a world of a difference!
3. Your personality type
There is an explanation behind every thought and action you make, and this all has to do with your personality type. Understanding the ins and outs of your personality can help you feel more secure in the choices you make every day, thereby making it easier to take action.
Find your personality type
There are many different personality tests that can help you understand how you work. Just remember that these test results don’t define you. They can be used to shed light on your thought process, but you are in control of your thoughts and actions. Here are some of my favorites:
The Myers-Briggs personality test gives you a four-letter acronym referring to your type. These letters describe the ways in which you utilize your energy:
- Are you outwardly or inwardly focused?
- How do you prefer to take in information?
- How do you prefer to make decisions?
- How do you prefer to express yourself outwardly?
I’m an INFP, which means I’m introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. My favorite place to take this test is 16 Personalities. It’s incredibly in-depth and accurate!
The Enneagram test describes your basic personality type by helping you see which of the 9 distinct personality types you are. Though you’ll probably see a little bit of yourself in all 9 types, your basic personality type is closest to your true self.
The 9 personality types are:
- The Reformer
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
According to my results, I am Type 9, the Peacemaker. To learn more about this personality types and to take the free version of the test, visit Explore Your Type.
5 Love Languages
The love languages test isn’t just about romantic relationships. It can also help you understand how you prefer to receive and show care to/from others. This test can help you understand how to better interact with friends and colleagues. This will improve your interactions with the people around you!
The 5 Love Languages include:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
My main love language is Words of Affirmation, meaning I like to be told when I’m doing something well. Reading through these descriptions (and taking the test for yourself) can help you gain a better idea of how you could show the people in your life that you care about them. This will also help you discover how your friends and colleagues might be showing you that they care, which can save you a lot of headaches.
4. Your priorities & goals
Takes some time to outline what means the most to you, as well as where you want to be in the future. For instance, do you prioritize career advancement or time spent with loved ones? Where do you want to be in a few years? Answering these questions can help you discover what means most to you, so there’s no negotiating when it comes to making decisions.
In a recent video, Sam Brown of Smart Twenties discussed a helpful metaphor. She describes your goals as a distant mountain. Every decision you make should take you towards your mountain. This productivity trick can really streamline the way you work. If you’re even unsure of what to do, ask yourself if it’s taking you towards or away from your mountain. If a choice’s outcome won’t take you up your mountain, there is a better choice to be made.
Since I’ve learned these four things about myself, I’ve become a more productive, less stressed version of myself. The key to making these four things work in your daily life is to be mindful of them. Keep them at the forefront of your mind, and if you ever find yourself lacking productivity or struggling to make a decision, think back to these items to see how you can realign yourself.
I hope these simplification tools work well for you!