Today’s professional world moves faster than ever. Responsibilities increase, external pressures increase, and overwhelm increases along the way. Adapting to a never-ending to-do list, constantly changing priorities, and working under pressure gives you the feeling of not being productive at all.

At the same time, you get tired of hearing how more productive you could be if only you changed this or that. You see your work questioned. Sensitivities rise.

So you keep pushing, putting yourself on the edge of burnout without noticing. You start searching for different tools, apps, or systems. The magic wand that is supposed to solve all your issues. You come across the one and only method or tool that is supposed to be the one. You try it out and it fails you. So you keep searching and it becomes tiring. You feel more stressed than before.

When you hear the term productivity you get more and more defensive. You are stuck in a rut and it doesn’t get you anywhere. Does it sound familiar?

Keeping your sanity while improving your productivity is my approach. Using one new method without looking at the whole picture is just putting a band aid on a big wound. Sticking to your self-imposed rules is not adding pressure on you but protecting your balance, health, and resilience.

That’s why I don’t buy into the “this is the one and only productivity rule” tenor. Everybody has their own workstyle, stress level, and stress tolerance ability. Learn, test, see if it is right for you and adjust when necessary. You are a human being and what works for you might not work for your colleague.

A realistic approach, root cause analysis, and behavior change will get you ahead. And don’t forget, you are a human not a robot.