In uncertain times when chaos appears to be the only thing in sight, do your best not to panic.
Instead, be prudent.
Saint Thomas Aquinas said this:
“Prudence is right reason in action.”
That’s why being productive with prudence in mind is something you want to practice as often as possible.
Panicked productivity leads to a drop in quality. When you’re doing for the sake of doing rather than doing the right things it does little to ease overwhelm.
Prudent productivity may move slower, but it’s more deliberate. You’re going to do more of the right things at the right time. You’ll make fewer mistakes. You’ll feel like you have more control.
Here are three ways you can start practicing more prudent productivity practices:
1. Use forward-thinking
In uncertain times you need to have as many certainties at top of mind. When you think ahead you can put yourself in a better position to understand what’s best to do right now.
For example, let’s say that there are only certain things you can do from your place of work. It’s possible that you won’t have access to that location as often as you would like. A wise thing to do is create a filter in your to-do list that allows you to see all the tasks you can only do at your workplace location. In my TimeCrafting methodology, you would use the resource-based mode of “workplace” (or something similar) and ask that mode to filter all tasks that can only be done at your place of work. Then instead of looking at your to-do list through the lens of a due date or by the projects you’re working on, you can view the tasks you can only do while in workplace mode.
It’s ideal to have more than one way to look at your to-do list. By using different modes as filters, you can give yourself one of those ways and do more of your tasks in the right place at the right time.
2. Get your team on the same page
Do you run a team that is shifting to offsite work out of necessity or desire? Then it would be prudent for you to create alignment across the team so that there are some common elements to your remote workflow.
This could come in the form of using the same project management or to-do list app. Better still, you could create some cohesiveness among your team members.
How could you do this?
Try creating a set of ground rules that apply to how you use this app. You can do this through commonplace tags or labels that are to be used across the team as a whole, for example. You could create a series of guidelines that allow for objectives to be met and yet enable your team members to use the tool somewhat subjectively as well. (If you need help with this sort of thing, it’s one of the things I do. I help businesses that are working to adopt a remote working scenario — or are trying to adapt to it quickly. You can connect with me via my Contact page and ask about my coaching offerings there.)
3. Slow down
You cannot tap into prudence if you’re moving too fast. Doing things too quickly can lead to reckless action, which is not at all what you’re looking for here.
Here’s a tip: when you’re stuck trying to figure out what to do, instead of rushing in take twenty seconds to just wait. Think about the day and review your list in a reasoned manner. If you’ve started theming your time or using modes as a way to filter your tasks then tap into those elements. Twenty seconds can feel like an eternity when you’re letting it happen or focusing on a single task (like washing your hands). Take that short break now and it will save you from having to course-correct later.
You can apply these tactics anytime you want to be productive with prudence as your guide. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty or just the sheer amount of things you need and want to do, using any or all of what I’ve shared can help you do the most productive thing you can do: put right reason into action.