7 Practical Elements of a Productive Life

Move from a Dreaming Life to a Productive Life Worth Living

Does it happen to you, when you wake up in the morning, that you ask yourself, “how do I make this day a productive one?” Very often, I do ask myself this very question. So you’re not alone.

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This question rings in our heads because we all have the ambition to pursuit for happiness. And one of the best ways to attain happiness and satisfaction in life is to make sense of life itself. We can make sense of it by being productive and leading a productive life.

This article highlights seven activities to apply in our daily routines. If you apply them, by the time you realize, these simple routines have led you to a productive life.

Before I present to you the seven elements of a productive life, let’s revisit the definition of productivity and what it entails.

What Does It Mean to Lead a Productive Life?

In the corporate world, productivity refers to the ability to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities. Thus, a productive employee is he, who remains active in ensuring a company produces more of its products as per expectations. This definition is regardless, whether or not the employee is happy and motivated.

However at a personal level, productivity may have a different dimension. At a personal level, productivity is the ability to realize your ability and tap on your potential and use it in a way that ensures constant happiness for yourself and your family, and for your community and society. When this is realized and appreciated, you lead a productive life, whether you work for somebody or you’re a self-employed.

A productive life is about leading a meaningful and satisfactory life. To achieve that, you must find the means to motivate yourself and remain in constant positivity. This positivity –once achieved –is benefitted by your loved ones and your society at large. This is whether or not you make money from that. Most importantly, it gives you happiness and satisfaction.

It’s worth emphasizing here, that true happiness and satisfaction can only be attained through righteous means. Also, happiness is not what others perceive, but what you live in your inner you.

Next, the following is the highlight of the seven elements of a productive life.

#1: Have Enough Rest and Start Your Day Afresh

One of the secrets of productive people is that, although they work hard, they plan for their sleep. They usually have enough rest. They sleep early and wake up early.

The best way to have enough rest is by having enough sleep. The best way to have enough sleep is to plan to sleep early. The earlier you go to bed, the earlier you’re likely to wake up the next morning. The earlier you wake up in the morning, the more productive you can be.

The number of hours you need to have enough sleep is subjective. It depends on the individual. Thus, if you need six hours, plan your time and ensure you don’t get less than that. Likewise, if you need seven hours, don’t compare yourself with him, who gets enough with five or six hours. Compromising on your sleep will affect your focus during the day. And that will affect your productivity negatively.

#2: Relieve Your Stress

We live in a fast-paced time and era. The faster-paced we go, the more demanding life becomes. This creates lots of stress in many of us, if not all of us. It’s more stressful for anyone who has no mission in life, nor purpose to live for. Having stress can affect your sleep badly. Therefore, to ensure you have enough sleep, you need to release that stress out your mind and body.

On one hand, there are several factors that cause stress. On the other hand, there are several ways to combat your stress level and eliminate it for good. To remain on track with this article, I’ll only share three ways to combat stress.

The most significant cure for stress is to integrate spirituality in your lifestyle. This is because human being is, by default, a spiritual being more than he is mortal. It’s the spiritual factor in him that differentiates him from a breathless mortal.

Your physical activities keep you active. Your hygienic consciousness ensures your good health. And it’s your active spirituality that ensures your endurance against spiritual and mental challenges. So, to cut down your stress, you need to take your spirituality, in other words, your religiosity, seriously. If you need articles on spirituality, check my GSalam.Net.

Another important stress killer is a regular physical exercise. You need to burn out the fats and calories which cause you to feel lazy and helpless every morning. Go brisk walking or jogging. Do some daily push-ups and sit-ups. Play soccer, badminton or tennis on a regular basis. Go cycling or swimming. The most effective of all is the one you do with consistency. I recommend a virtual personal app called Seven. It’s available for both iPhone and Android devices. It has been helpful for me more than two years now.

One more important stress buster is for one to mind his own business. When you have something better to do, you can’t find the time to talk about other people. Busying one’ self with other people’s affairs in its best renders you unproductive. This is because you won’t see any positive results out of it. In its worst, it spoils the clean state of your good heart. It fills it with jealousy and hatred. These heart issues are seldom found in productive people.

With stress-free body and mind, you are entitled for a good sleep. You can look forward to you wake up the next morning afresh, hopeful for a successful and productive day ahead.

#3: Eat well and Remain Hydrated

If you do exercise regularly and work hard, then you really have to take care of your food. Eating well, staying hydrated and keeping stress free lifestyle keep you a mile away from the doctor. It prevents you from unnecessary flu and cold. While I suggest that you eat healthy food, it’s needless to suggest that you avoid junk foods. You are what you eat. And you eat what the meat you eat was reared on.

Unless you’re fasting, you must eat when you feel hungry. This means when it’s time for you to eat, put aside whatever is in front of you and go eat. Come back and continue with your work after you’ve done with your meal. You’re fortunate if your partner (or your mother) is by your side to nag at you, when you take your food lightly J .

Likewise eating well, it’s important to remain hydrated. Drink a minimum of three litres of water a day. When you exercise regularly and eat well, three litres of water is likely insufficient for you. I use an app called WaterMinder to remind me to drink water regularly. It recommends to you the amount of water you need to stay hydrated based on your gender, weight, age, height, and daily activities.

#4: Determine the Purpose of What You’re Doing

To determine the purpose of what you’re doing is to know why you’re doing what you’re doing

Being productive is seeing yourself achieving your life goals in a happy and exciting way. Therefore, you must know why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is to say, in order to achieve something, you must have thought of having it. Isn’t it? If not, then, why would you want to achieve it?

In other words, when you log in to your accounts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and you know the rest), there must be something you want to achieve there. When there’s nothing in your mind to achieve, you’ll find yourself spending hours and hours browsing, moving from timeline to timeline, switching between videos and perhaps hitting on the Like, Love and Share buttons aimlessly. But in the end, you find no satisfaction. Why? Because the time you spent was aimless. Hence, nothing was achieved from it.

However, when you log in to those platforms, in order to strengthen your bond with your friends, render help or advice to someone who may be in difficult situation (share good stuff), or even to get updates about current affairs, all you need will be half an hour, and you find yourself to have achieved something worthwhile. Why? Because you’ve accomplished something in that day. Simply because you did it with an intention and aim.

On determining the purpose for your activities I would say… If you choose not to read a book, it should be because you’re outing with friends for a purpose. When you’re not at your workstation doing what you’re paid to do, it should be because you’re in a meeting with your boss or colleagues discussing matters pertaining to what you’re paid to do. If you are not writing or blogging, it should be because you are engaged in a community work. And you’re engaged in all these activities with a purpose that narrows down to you life mission. You must have intention and purpose in whatever you.

#5: Have Something to Do (To Do List)

Before you start work in the morning, make sure you have a list of tasks you expect to accomplish by the end of the day. Remember that you’re paid to do that. And it’s not acceptable that you get paid with the expectation that you do some work and you end up not doing it. At the end of the day, before you leave office, you should be able to say ‘well done!’ to yourself.

Before you go to sleep, take a moment to reflect on the goals you set for yourself to achieve during the day. Did you achieve them? If you, say ‘well done!’ to yourself. If not, try harder tomorrow.

In addition to that, did you neglect your responsibilities? Did you render yourself helpful to someone? Did you give in charity? Did you make someone smile? What is it that you’ve planned to accomplish and have accomplished?

A productive life is achieved when you always have something to offer, learn from, or appreciate or accomplish.

#6: Set a Timeframe for Your Goals

When you have goals to achieve, don’t leave it open-ended. Set a timeframe and deadline for them.

For instance, Muslims pray 5 times a day. Each prayer is described as success and has a prescribed time (timeframe). It expires the moment the time for another prayer kicks in. Therefore, when a Muslim wakes up in the morning, he already has, in him mind, a goal of praying five times in that day, in some prescribed times.

This teaches us to set a timeframe and a deadline for anything we do. That way, your productivity is consistently continuous. With that, you don’t spend your whole life celebrating one single achievement.

Also, everything you do must correspond to your mission in life. For instance, you read to broaden your knowledge about current affairs, so to feed them in your area of specialization and personal passion. You surf the Internet to reach out to the appropriate sources for information to learn and apply it to live your passion. You make a friend a day, to learn from new people and to render them your help should they need it. You’re a teacher because you’re passionate about changing lives. Remember, the best way to attain self-help, is to render yourself helpful to others .

#7: Does Multitasking Work for You? It Surely Works for Computers

I’ve heard some bosses and some ordinary people encouraging others to do ‘multitasking’ in order to be productive.

I have no authority to disagree with that claim. But to be honest, it doesn’t work with me. Personally, I lose focus, and end up with a little to no accomplishment when I do things with ‘multitasking.’

Also, I believe it’s only computers that do multitasking. Even that, computers slow down when they multitask .

When you focus on a task at a time, the end result of your work gets close to the desired outcome, if not perfection. Why? Because you put your focus in it wholeheartedly. And you accomplish it in a shorter time.

On the contrary, when you do ‘multitasking’, at its best, the quality of your work drops. At its worst, you end up accomplishing nothing.

To Sum Up

A productive life requires hard work, determination and, above all, self-discipline. The following simple, yet effective, activities are the practical elements that will take you out of a dreaming life to a productive life.

  1. Have enough rest and start your day afresh. When you have enough rest, you’re able to wake up afresh in the morning.
  2. You can enjoy your sleep and have enough rest when you put in the effort to free your mind and body from stress.
  3. Remember to eat well and stay hydrated. It’s crucial.
  4. You should know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Set objectives for your goals.
  5. Put your objectives into practice and do something. Perhaps, you must have a to-do list every day.
  6. Set timeframe and deadlines for goals.
  7. Ensure multitasking works for you before you adopt it. It doesn’t believe in its effectiveness, though.

These are my seven elements that have been very useful to me in attaining a productive life. It may work for you. You may have your own. Either way, feel free to share with us what has worked for you. Also share with us yours, if you have your own set of elements of a productive life. Please share and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

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Baba Salam is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, a writer and blogger. He writes here at 1BabaSalam.com. He's also the man behind GSalam.Net. He's also the founder of TVQ.Academy. You can find him on Twitter @1babasalam, Facebook @1BabaSalam, and Instagram @1BabaSalam.

  • Aamir

    Thank you Baba, for a wonderful article. This is what requires for a focused and productive live. May, Allah reward you with all the best things and happiness in this world and in the next. Ameen!