Productivity is all about progress. Not about completing tasks —at least for me.
Completing things will keep you at the same level. Progress takes you to the next.
There are two types of productive people
One, who wants to feel productive.
Another who really wants to be productive.
Differentiate the feeling of being productive and actually productive —by outcomes.
The “feeling” is subjective. It satisfies you. The actual productivity satisfies the stakeholders. It fulfills the purpose.
Subjective Productivity vs Objective Productivity
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling productive when you’re busy, engaged, and full of work.
Many satiate themselves with the feeling of being productive —in most cases, the feeling itself is deceiving.
(I’ve talked about this earlier in the article sophisticated procrastination. Hint: add it to your read-later list.)
I know a huge set of people who feed their egos by acting/feeling busy and working hard —even though they don’t have to work that much hard to attain the same results that can be achieved with rather less effort.
Don’t be that kind of half-wit. Your subjective feeling of achievement is not what you want in the long run.
If you want to be progressive in any project (including life) you need to produce outputs constantly.
Outcomes may be different. You may get lucky —and unlucky sometimes. You may get different responses and reactions toward the deliverables.
Control your outputs, not outcomes
Stop worrying about the outcomes. The same work can be seen as a success and failure at different situations. Worry about what you can control.
Control the controllable’s
Produce output. Once the deliverable is ready to be put to use, and solves the purpose of its requirement then that’s the output.
Polish it, and make some final touches. Release it. Don’t try to perfect it.
Perfection is the enemy of progress
Create a pattern of producing outputs. Make it a habit.
Do it until it blends into life and work. Until you can do a major chunk of it without thinking much or with much effort.
You need to put a lot of effort to make it look like effortless.
Eventually, it becomes effortless.
Long-term goals vs short-term projects
You can be always productive if you have a lot of projects on your list.
You can be always progressive if you have a vision.
Break your vision into milestones, then into achievable goals.
Clear goals make you achieve them quicker. But clear vision makes you move farther.
Progress is about going far. Not quick. Always prefer to have a long-term consistency approach than the short-term intensity.
Once things you do become second nature try to get into the “flow”.
Then try to stay in the “flow” state for longer.
Then try to get into the “flow” quicker.
Become capable of doing your significant tasks (that contribute to major outputs) unconsciously (or semiconsciously) like driving, and walking.
Flow-state, Immersive work is not overrated. It may feel like one until you personally experience it.
So work on cultivating your “flow” states.
Sharpen your tools & mind
Tools. Any type of tool that can help you to do the job quicker and faster.
Choose one that can save time and effort. Avoid anything that requires more time and effort for maintenance than it saves.
A good tool should not feel that it is there. A good-fit (not loose, not tight) shoe or belt doesn’t feel that much on your body, right?
The best tool is your mind and your approach
Learn. Learn continuously. Learn to optimize your workflows.
Speaking of Workflows, I am running a successful newsletter (as an output of doing what I mentioned in this post) “Better Workflows”. I share at least 1 idea, 1 workflow or tip, and 1 set of resources to consume or utilize in every issue.
Subscribe for Free -> Better Workflows. I promise you’ll get more value than you expect.
Done? Okay coming back to the topic.
Your progress becomes still if you reach the limitations.
You need to get the most out of your time and effort. Because both are limited.
If you optimally use your time and effort (attention and energy) you’ll move forward further.
If you keep on optimizing and performing, then damn sure you’re going to hit the plateau. Probably sooner than you think.
Once you hit the plateau
You do. You do it repeatedly. You do it in a better way —and then in the best optimal way.
That’s all. You’re stuck.
To progress further, you need to choose two things.
Choose the thing, that can compound
Choose your vision and work that is backed and compounded by your previous day’s work.
Always aim for exponential growth
Scale. You can’t make more at one point. But you can reach more. There’s always a way to scale further.
Choose the thing, that can grow when you’re sleeping
Try to put all your insignificant tasks in automation and most of your work process in auto-pilot mode.
You need an auto-pilot mode. In other words, delegate.
Teach others. Share with others. If possible make a team.
It is the only possible way to scale you further.
It is the only possible way to duplicate yourself in multiple locations at the same time.
Never underestimate the power of teaching and sharing your skills. That’s the most precious and hard-learned lesson in my life.
Explore the plateau. Choose the next plateau.
Prepare to climb it —with far less effort and time than you used to climb the previous one.
All the best for your progressive endeavor.
Do you have any other ideas to add?
Bye til next time.