When productivity works—it’s a dream. When it doesn’t, it’s a nightmare.
How often do you encounter a productivity challenge that makes you miserable?—and don’t say “never” because I still run into them to this day.
Learning to calmly deal with productivity challenges will be a critical step in the evolution of your personal productivity journey because they don’t go away with experience.
Yes, they become far less frequent—but they never actually disappear.
The key to surmounting these inevitable challenges in a calm, collected way lies in your ability to resist the “I have to get it done myself” urge, and think creatively…to find an unconventional resolution to the challenge.
Here’s what I mean…
Last week, I got the manuscript for my second book—The Tao of Less (working title)—back from my publishers. They asked me to read through the manuscript and offer feedback, to tell them what was right and what was wrong, what sounded authentic, and what sounded totally off-base.
I thought it would be fun…but it was awful.
No, not just awful, it was [insert expletive here] awful.
Honestly, I’m not even a rockstar reader and here I was being asked to play editor.
At the end of the FIRST day, I had averaged less than five pages per hour.
That level of inefficiency is literally my living nightmare.
Then someone near and dear to my heart made a brilliant suggestion, “why don’t you have someone read it to you, and then just dictate corrections?”
I never even considered an optimized approach to the task at-hand—I simply assumed (incorrectly I might add) that the only way to edit the book was to sit down and read it myself.
By having the book read to me, and then recording my edits verbally, something that would have taken me weeks was done in a single day—an exhausting day—but an incredibly productive one.
When you feel like you aren’t making headway, chances are you’re taking a highly inefficient approach to the task at-hand.
Working harder isn’t the answer, working smarter is.
Pushing for “harder” locks the brain into a mechanized-state devoid of creativity, and when that happens, productivity goes right out the window. You start looking past alternate solutions…solutions that save time and squash stress.
So, the next time you find yourself mired in a mess of inefficiency, remember you’re likely creating the mess yourself.
Stop settling for hard work, and try thinking about smart work.
If your brain is too fried for idea-generation, ask your peers, your friends or your family for suggestions.
All alone?—then force yourself to do something unconventional in order to get the creative juices flowing, like drawing a picture of a blog post before actually sitting down to write it.
Remember that 99% of all productivity blocks are self-imposed—if you can keep that in the front of your mind, you’ll rarely find yourself fighting against the evils of stress and overwhelm.