Solve Your Personal Productivity Puzzle

If you’ve ever played with a jigsaw puzzle, you know that it has a number of oddly shaped pieces that you must put together to form an image. Each piece has its place, and to complete the puzzle, you must find how all the pieces fit together. This usually requires an extensive trial and error process until you solve the puzzle.

You want to become more productive. You want to get more things done. Increasing your level of productivity is a bit like trying to resolve a jigsaw puzzle: you have a number of activities that are of different durations and that require different levels of energy, and you must place them in your day (or your week, or your month, etc.) until everything fits together nicely.

Because your situation is unique, your productivity puzzle is unique. Thus, you can’t copy someone else’s. You must figure out your own. You must play around with your pieces (i.e. your various activities) until you find what works for you.

You put your “writing time” in the morning, then in the afternoon, then at night, and you find that your “writing time” fits best in the morning when you’re fresh and your creative juices are flowing.

You put “checking email time” first thing at the start of your workday, then you try right before lunchtime, then right after lunchtime, then at the end of your workday, and you find that checking your emails once before lunchtime and once before the end of your workday works best because, for instance, it allows you to tackle some of your most important activities first thing, before you get sidetracked by other people’s agendas…

You try exercising first thing in the morning, then late at night, and you find that first thing in the morning works best, except on Sundays, when, after trial and error, you find that the afternoon works best.

You shift things around. Put this first. Put that first. Try this in the morning. Try this at night. You play around with the pieces and you figure out where they fit best in your current situation.

Other people’s productivity puzzle may look totally different than yours; their situation is totally different than yours. But you found what works best for you. And that’s what matters.

As you move through life, your situation changes, and thus, the pieces of your puzzle change as well. When this happens, you play around with the new pieces and find a new equilibrium. In that sense, productivity is somewhat of a moving target: you adjust as you go.

The important thing is to remember that you may not get it right at first and that you have to continue to experiment. As you keep working at it, you’ll gain greater self-awareness, which will help you solve your personal productivity puzzle.