Increase Your Productivity by Increasing Your Workload

Increase your workload? This is a strange claim to make, but I believe that if you do this correctly, you will actually experience increased productivity. There is an innate sense of urgency that comes when you know you have a certain amount to get done in a day. By tapping into this motivation, you can remain focused and active throughout the day.

When you only have one or two tasks in a day, it’s easy to think, “I’ve got all day to do that.” On the other hand, when you know you only have one hour in your day set aside to complete a task that takes one hour, you know that you only have one opportunity to complete the task. That’s why on less busy days, tasks that usually take you an hour can wind up costing you three or four. Therefore, on less busy days, it can pay off to add a few tasks to your day to help you get the more urgent tasks completed on time.

A word of caution: you can’t think of this statement as “the busier you are, the more you can get done;” you have to think about it along the lines of “if I’m not lazy, I can get a lot done.” The pressure to get things done can be beneficial as long as you don’t overbook your day.

Set deadlines

I find that when I have a specific deadline, I can complete a task in the “right” amount of time, whereas when I have a “whenever you can get it to me” deadline, a task can take up to three times longer. I over think, I revise too generously, I try to make the task into more than it is. When I have a deadline, I am efficient and succinct. I am able to hold myself accountable for my actions because I can measure what I have done. If you don’t have set deadlines, make your own. Add a few tasks to your day (and define them specifically) to help you stick to your artificial deadlines. This way you achieve your tasks in the “right” amount of time.


The point of this practice isn’t to make your day busier. Adding tasks to an already full plate may generate the opposite result. But if you’re feeling sluggish—like you could be doing more with your day—set a few goals, take up a new skill, and increase your workload. The balance comes from knowing you have a finite amount of time to get something done. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to check off several tasks and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from positive productivity.

Image by Stuart Miles via

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