Being productive is different from being effective, in that being effective simply means you do the task in a resource effective manner, while productive meaning you also actually do the task that will lead to the result (also called the product) you want.
So for example, if you decide you want to work out and you end up doing 15 different exercises in 30 minutes – you are extremely effective probably not stopping for a second. BUT depending on your end goals there might be a more productive exercise plan you probably should be following.
While working you might have 30 action items on your to do list, and you might do 25 in one day, which might very well be very effective BUT maybe one of the remaining 5 is actually the MOST IMPORTANT thing for you.
So the number 1 key for productivity is actually having a clear intent, a clear outcome, product, for your plans. The thing is that even if you know exactly what you want to achieve you may still be doing one of these 5 mistakes that may be really HOLDING YOU BACK!
Let’s be productive and start with the most major ones!
MISTAKE #1: Forgetting What Are You After
Mistake number one is forgetting what you are truly after. You see everyone of us has a different self management system, some of us are aware of it and some of us are not yet aware – but every one of us has one.
Some people are mostly re-active, they do not manage themselves too much, so they simply respond to what’s happening around them. That might be OKish if your environment is perfect and you have the best job and the best people around you, but for most of us it will lead to extreme stress and frustration.
The number one example I can give you for this is how most people use their phones, most people mostly use their phone re-actively. Someone is calling? I’ll answer. A notification? I’ll check it out. I need something from someone? I’ll call or send a message and wait for a response.
The thing about re-active management is that it makes you forget what is truly important for you, and that’s why people are answering the phone while working on important projects and checking notifications while on dates or with family or friends.
It’s not like they don’t know that their project is more important than that call or that the time with their friends is more important than that notification – the reactivity makes them forget.
And I won’t say it never happens to me, but let’s say I make sure its relatively rare.
So before you start something important simply remind yourself, why am I doing it? Why is this important for me?
A good example I unfortunately see often is people calling their kids or parents with a smile and ending the conversation pissed. And it’s not because they don’t know that the reason they called was to have a connection with the people they care about the most – its because they let something in the conversation trigger their reactive state and suddenly they forget why they called and the call becomes about correcting someone’s mistake or trying to educate their kids or parents.
MISTAKE #2: Taking On Too Much
See, my guess is that if you are watching this channel on a regular basis, or even if this is the first time you watch my video – you want to have more and to become better. this kind of people, which i totally include myself in tend to want to do more mistakenly believing it will make us achieve more.
The thing is taking on too much will make you stressed, and when you are stressed you are way more likely turn into full effective mode with no thought about productivity.
Now, I am probably the last person in the world to tell you, you cannot do more, so a simple yet powerful tool, makes sure you do the most important things first!
I have 2 videos about morning routines which are a great way to make sure you do some of the most important stuff first, the first is about things you should consider doing in the morning and the other is about creating the habit of a morning routine and making sure you stick to it.
MISTAKE #3: False Promises To Yourself
And that’s a nasty and sneaky one, but its relatively easy to destroy once you identify it.Like:
“Tomorrow I’m going to wake up at 5 oclock like steve!”
“Shit where is the snooze button?”
Or like:“I’m never going to eat chocolate again!”
“Sneakers is more peanut butter than chocolate isn’t it?”
Well I’m all in for creating healthy and productive habits, but making promises and promises has a price, and while breaking promises you made to others will make them distrust you (which is bad enough) breaking promises you make for yourself will make you distrust you – which is 10 times worse.
So if you DECIDE to DO SOMETHING and every once in a while you fail, that’s cool, think about it, if someone filled 99% of their promises to you – you would probably still trust them. However, lowering this rate becomes dangerous pretty quickly.
The first easiest fix is that if you know you are not going to do it – don’t promise it! Simply say no, its harder in the moment but makes life better later (by the way, it’s also true for interpersonal stuff as well)
If you already promised something for yourself and broke that promise like 10 times already, consider making some sort of change in your approach or simply do something else.
The other way which is amazing but requires some patience is to break it down and start step by step, every time only deciding on the next small steps – you will be amazed how quickly small steps add up!
MISTAKE #4: Not Communicating Responsibly and Proactively with The People You Care About
Sounds weird, I know, but hear me out!
As we discussed earlier being reactive is more or less the standard way of living, so people tend to expect you to be reactive to their communication and requests in real time. I don’t really need to explain why its a huge productivity killer right?
And I could tell you, like many others, that you should not care about what others think and that in 10 years when your projects will be extremely successful they will envy you and ask you how you did it!
And from my experience it is actually true, BUT its hard to not care, and if you are a nice person you do not want to hurt the people you care about. That’s actually the definition of being nice and caring isn’t it?
Anyway if you will communicate in advance, telling people, for example that in a certain time of the day you will not have your phone next to you or whenever you say yes to someone’s request you will communicate clearly what is it exactly that he expects and what you are willing and not willing to do…
It will be harder in the beginning to initiate these conversations and people might not be enthusiastic about having them BUT it will immediately make you way more productive and after just a few times – people will respect it and from my personal experience some people will start having these conversations in their lives.
You will feel good about inspiring people to be more productive and responsible I can promise you that!
MISTAKE #5: Neglecting To Take Care Of Your Health
I know that especially when you are young you feel like it’s the least urgent thing to do – but please, I care about you and I want you to be healthy, to feel good and to be productive so please don’t neglect it!