Championing your productive self

Girish Johar
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Our thoughts turn into action, our actions become habits, and habits become character.

It’s scientifically proven that anything that we do with discipline over time, becomes second nature and requires less effort to maintain.

Having worked with people from across cultures and varied demographics, what always stood out for me is that most successful and happy people excelling in their careers, are highly productive, find time for pursuing other interests, have a calm persona and this great ability to balance their life well. And balance does not always necessarily mean a huge amount of personal time. Rather it is their ability to immerse fully and be present in the moment, be it at work or in their personal lives. I always look upwards to draw inspiration, towards our own Executive Leadership Team as an example, when I feel I am stressed trying to juggle many things, to understand - how do these individuals manage their time productively, even if they carry responsibilities that are much larger. There are lessons to be learnt and drawn by watching the CEOs of companies or some of the most successful people with extremely busy lives.

To be productive and happy, is an art and it comes with thoughtfulness, planning and practising. Some of the traits that stand out for me and I believe in them myself, are the ones I would like to share, as these are key to championing my productive self.

  • Planning and goal setting is key
    A couple of minutes spent on planning, looking at the day, the week, the month and the year, are worth their weight in gold. And this applies to both professional and personal responsibilities. It also means setting those self-imposed goals and deadlines and reviewing them on almost a daily basis. There are things I would review every day, every week and others every month. We need to find what works best for each one. This provides a smart way of disciplining oneself to accomplish tasks, be more organised and avoid procrastination. Productivity is not a matter of chance, it’s an outcome of careful, thoughtful time investment, but the returns are huge.
  • Proactivity is like a radar
    This valuable habit is like a navigation tool. It helps to fully engage with the present and anticipate the future. Proactivity helps to avoid rushing and will create a better working environment for yourself as well as those around you. One is able to anticipate potential issues well in advance, so as to take corrective and timely actions. Think ahead, get ahead.
  • Being aware of own body rhythm
    Each one of us knows the times when we are at our most creative, most productive and vice versa. For me highest priority tasks are better dealt with a fresh mind, with full energy and also effective in getting them out of my way. That also provides a sense of accomplishment and propels to do more. Thus, discover your own body rhythm and leverage it for tasks on hand for being effective and for higher productivity.
  • Being present
    It is very hard when we have multiple things happening around us all the time and multiple distractions that we have. I myself may not always be successful at it, still being fully present in the moment is a big virtue and a productivity enhancer. A divided mind and divided attention is not only unproductive, it also is a source of anxiety and worry. Thus, combined with prioritization, being fully focussed on what one is doing in the present, helps with great output. Seize the moment.
  • Time to unwind: Is it quality or quantity
    In today’s world while we all talk about work-life balance, the reality is work and life go hand in hand. If there is no work there, is no life and no balance either. Hence, I cannot belabour more on this point and underline that we need to find our own secret recipe. For me I have learnt to have work inter-twined in my personal life all the time and thus it does not become a sore point. I have always included my family in this journey and this also means seeking their understanding and support and being thankful to them as well for making it possible. And of course, it is also a matter of choice in terms of what are we looking for from our profession and life. That also determines the time commitment we are ready to make, individually or as family. The reality is that we all have to do more with less and there are too many screens, gadgets that steal our time. So once again being judicious and selective is key. At least the above four actions help me free up some time which is utilised to do other personal stuff, but not a whole lot. Yet we can be happy in the things we can do to keep the balance. A balanced life is not something we find, it’s something we create. And happiness is a state of mind. Keeping company of people who emanate that positivity and happiness and not complain, helps as well.

Girish Johar
Head of Human Resources at Ericsson Middle East & Africa

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