As college students, we sometimes have it hard: We are very BUSY individuals. We have much to do, and very little time to do it in. It is often difficult to balance work, school and socializing and still have time for ourselves. And while I’d hate to rain on anyone’s parade, the truth is that it only gets more hectic as we grow.
But is all this “Busyness”, really a way to live life?
A philosopher by the name of Socrates would claim to differ. This great thinker once said: “Beware the emptiness of a busy life.”
And In our society, this saying may seem strange. Busyness is rarely seen as being empty. In fact, it is often associated with a nice house, a speedy car, lots of cash or even a status of importance. However, busyness does not necessarily equal productivity.
Unlike being busy, Productivity is defined as:“ the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services:”-In other words, something is actually being completed. On the other hand busyness is defined “as lively but, meaningless activity”. And if we’re not carful, getting caught in a cycle of meaningless activity can have negative consequences.”
First of all, it can leave an individual very discouraged. As a student, there always comes a point in the semester where I am completely DONE, drained and ready to check out. And much of this is because I mistaken busyness for productivity. I cram too many responsibilities into an already filled schedule. Like many I have bought into the idea that constantly doing something-anything is the way to be successful. And while we do need to take care of business in order to succeed, the key is to take care of necessary business quickly and effectively so that we can spend more time living. In other words- BE EFFICIENT.
HOW TO BE EFFICIENT: BECOME A GTD WIZARD
Now that we’re aware that inefficiency and pseudo-productivity are wasting our precious life energy, HOW DO WE CHANGE THIS?
Like any sustainable change in life, you first need a plan. But more specifically, you need a GTD plan.
GTD is a plan created by productivity consultant David Allen. It basically means, GET STUFF DONE. In essence it is a productivity plan that utilizes 5 steps in order to get anything done. (1) Capture—collect what has your attention, (2) Clarify—process what it means, (3) Organize—put it where it belongs, (4) Reflect—review frequently, (5) Engage—simply do. Read more here:
While his method is a popular way to start thinking more productively, there are many different GTD/productivity plans out there. The key is finding the right one for you.
So let’s get productive!
Here are a few ways to become a GTD master
KNOW THY SELF
When creating any GTD plan, it’s important to know how you operate. This is important because it helps you tailor a plan that works for you. Remember, we’re trying to optimize YOUR time, so
it’s important that the plan fits your lifestyle- not just the random Internet Guru that created it. You can start this process by asking yourself a few questions, such as:
What area in my life do I want to be more productive?
What time of the day am I most productive?
How often do I need a break?
What type of break helps me stay most productive?
In what space can I get most done?
And so forth.
The more you keep your own needs in mind, the better the GTD plan will be.
RESEARCH GTD METHODS
As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to find a GTD method that works for you. SO RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Check out different plans that appeal to you. There are many great (and free) resources out there. You can start the search by goggling/youtubing how to increase productivity. A Few great resources are LifeHacker, ProductiveMotion, 99u and more. Not to mention there are MANY apps for both your computer and phone to keep you productive.
STICK WITH SOMETHING
Warning: If you have commitment issues, this one may be tough. It’s easy to get carried away with all the productivity apps, tips and tricks on the web. But if you continually browse for different options without truly trying a single technique out, you’ll never find out what works for you. So give each process time to see if it actually works. And be patient! there’s a productivity method out there for everyone.
Learning to be productive is important because it can be used for the rest of our lives. It helps cut through the noise and get things done. Hopefully with these tools, you can begin onto a path of increased productivity so that you can get to what’s important: LIVING!
So go ahead, be a GTD hero!