Tag Archives: productivity

Recognising your addictions

Recognising your addictions

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”.

 

The one thing to manage when the going gets tough

The one thing to manage when the going gets tough

Throughout history, people have overcome incredible hardship and prevailed against overwhelming odds. Churchill, Gandhi, Luther King, Mandela, and Malala come easily to mind. It’s easy to attribute their success to something rare and superior to the rest of us, but that would be a mistake. You can prevail as well, but only if you manageContinue Reading

Preparing for battle

Preparing for battle

About four minutes into Gladiator—my favorite Russel Crowe movie—the Roman General, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe), introduces a ritual he would repeat several times in the film: just before battle begins he kneels on one knee, grabs a handful of earth, rubs it between his hands, and then deeply inhales as he cups his soiled handsContinue Reading

How a calculator can help you solve for stress and low productivity

How a calculator can help you solve for stress and low productivity

How often do you apologize for being pre-occupied, reacting inappropriately, or being unnecessarily harsh with someone? How often do you notice yourself stressing? Would you prefer to be more peaceful and productive? Surprisingly, an ordinary everyday calculator provides a useful analogy for what’s causing your stress, as well as what you can do to solveContinue Reading

Stop chasing productivity

Stop chasing productivity

Most of us chase productivity like a crack addict after his next hit. We’re compelled to buy books, attend workshops and listen to podcasts so we can become more productive. But why? That’s not a silly question. Asking it may stop you from chasing productivity like a dog chasing his tail. What’s wrong with doingContinue Reading

Why giving 100% is a faulty ideal

Why giving 100% is a faulty ideal

Saying workers are not fully engaged at work may be today’s politically correct way for managers to complain that their workers are not giving 100% at work. Well maybe that’s an unreasonable expectation. You wouldn’t expect an athlete to maintain her top speed for very long, and no engineer would think it’s a good ideaContinue Reading

The problem with chasing productivity

Most of us chase productivity like a crack addict after his next hit. We’re compelled to buy books, attend workshops and listen to podcasts so we can become more productive. But why? Silly question it seems but maybe not. Asking it may stop you from chasing productivity like a dog chasing his tail. What’s wrongContinue Reading

What’s on your distraction buffet?

What’s on your distraction buffet?

You probably have your favourite distractors—the time wasters that you find yourself engaging with when you know you should be doing something else. In “Your Distraction Buffet” I mentioned that sometimes your distractors appear to be work or work related and in fact are not.  You spend time on them justifying that time by thinkingContinue Reading

Your Distraction Buffet

Your Distraction Buffet

Ever spend a day being really busy, doing lots of stuff, yet at day’s end a friend asking “Productive day?,” leaves you staring into the question like a deer into headlights. “What the hell did I get done today?” Decimate my daily to-do list?  Complete a project? Wrote a chapter?  Finished that presentation?  No? GoodContinue Reading