A good friend sent me a link to a 90-minute video on becoming super productive that essentially boils down to this: focus only on the things that matter and stop doing the million other things that don’t.
That’s not the rocket science thankfully, it’s the separating what matters from what doesn’t, and the speaker, Darren Hardy, talks about the things that to him don’t matter—like playing golf, following sports, and being the handyman around the house. He literally won’t spend any time doing things that he’s not exceptionally good at, and he’s become exceptionally good at those things because he won’t give his time to anything else.
But we’re not like that. We give up our time and attention easily. The “Do you have a moment?”, or “Do you have a minute?” (I call the DYHMs), or “Is now a good time?” (INGTs) are almost never met with “No!” or, “No, I’m doing stuff that really matters,” and then there are the “requests” from superiors (hate that word),
- “Can you come to a meeting?”
- “Will you be on the call?”
- “Can you double-check this report John did, before I send it?”
- “The CEO said … today and I thought you’d be just the person to get on that.”
These “requests” pull you away from the commitments you already made to this same bozo, who complained about your “productivity” and “time-management skills” in your last performance review.
Been there? I have. But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” and our unwillingness to say no, with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.
But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” (and our unwillingness to say no), with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.
For many it’s social media: twenty, thirty, ninety minutes a day searching through news feeds and chasing links, posting stuff you hope at least thirty of your closest five-hundred friends will “like”, and feeling hurt when they don’t.
For some, it’s sports, others it’s reality TV, or binge-watching The Walking Dead. For me, it’s the news. I can’t seem to help checking what’s happening internationally and I also have this morbid fascination with Trump. I know I’m not alone and I haven’t discerned why, but I get a strange entertainment in getting fresh updates on his rants, ramblings and twitter torpedoes into truth, decency, morality, justice, science, common sense, respect and integrity.
While he was running, the possibility of a popcorn presidency grew increasingly entertaining as unlikelihood became a real probability; and now as a reality, I’m sure I would really be reaching for popcorn if his weekly or even daily disasters could be contained and released in one evening segment.
But no, we keep getting distracted with the insanities as they happen; we get daily drips of him and everything else that’s happening in the world, and 99% of it is bad. And each drip pulls our attention away from what really matters to us e.g. building our relationships, increasing our skills, or fulfilling our ambitions.
The news organizations learned a long time ago that our brains are wired to pay attention to disaster. We want to know who died and from what, we slow down to watch the wreck on the other side of the highway, and we will consume any news that shows, death, disaster, war, famine, crime, horrible crime, corruption, and fall from grace.
We can’t get enough of it.
My girlfriend reminds me of this all the time, and while I have reduced my intake from the local newspapers, I can’t wean myself from Trump. Not yet, but I think I’m getting better.
At least I’ve taken the first of the twelve steps. I acknowledge I’m addicted to Trump news and that’s at least 50% of the battle. If you can’t acknowledge that you have a problem you can’t do anything about it.
Darren is right, if you want to be more productive you need to focus on what really matters, and even if you don’t yet know, you can recognize the distractions you’re addicted to and get rid of them.
What distractions are you addicted to?
The video’s below and it’s called “Insane Productivity”.