It's 11:15 on Wednesday, November 4th.
Someone who values lots of "on-task" action might look at my day so far and label it unproductive.
I awoke at 6:15am. Made breakfast and lunches for the first group who had to be out the door by 7:30. Dropped my husband off at the train.
Made breadfast and lunch for the youngest, who's still in elementary school. Snuck in a shower to be prepared for my 11:00 meeting.
Got her off to school and directly picked up my 13 year-old for an orthodontist appointment. That took longer than expected as the orthodontist decided instead of just fixing what broke, he'd change a wire.
Home for some pain reliever and back around to school.
Now it's 10:15 am.
By 10:30, my 11:00 meeting had been cancelled.
I'm getting hungry so I locate the kitchen for br-lunch.
This when I start thinking about this article. What shall I do with the extra hour I just gained today due to a cancelled meeting? How shall I make my time count, be productive?
I'm going to write a blog post about productivity and time. I think. This is something I definately know about.
My proof of time and productivity expertise is not reflected by what I did, or accomplished, this morning. I quite clearly didn't accomplish anything.
The secret to productivity is how you think (and feel) about these topic more than the action itself.
From age 0-40, I thought getting stuff done—productivity—was about how much action a person did. I thought it was about "getting busy" ... as kids are told daily around the world.
Get busy doing homework! Get busy doing something other than wasting time! Get busy doing something important!
How many times did you hear that growing up?!
Looking back, that was the worst training for a child. I learned that "moving around" is how you become productive. If someone could see an effect in reality, I was praised for being productive.
I realized that definition wasn't helpful for me, so I changed it.
Precisely because between age 40-45 I learned that "getting busy" and creating meaningful change in one's life are two very different things.
For those who love to debate the virtues of action, yes, I agree with you. Action is where the change gets stimulated. I'm not anti-action. I'm pro action. But only a certain kind of action: inspired action.
In the title of this post I say "increase productivity tenfold" . You can, and you will, when you realize that busy work is not truly productive. Productivity is not really about how much you can get done in 24 hours and instead about how well you do certain things and how you feel about them.
I'm not going to teach you to "multi-task". Multitasking can be one of the biggest time wasters and can be dangerous. Driving and texting to save time never does. Accidents take way longer.
I'm also not going to teach you how to move faster. Moving faster increases mistakes and thought-less choices.
I teach people how to slow down and focus their attention increasing their productivity by increasing singlemindedness and joy.
I'm talking about productivity in the sense of creating more change in your life regarding the stuff that really matters to you. The stuff that would make your life and your happiness factor increase immensely.
Productivity, to me, is about quality NOT quantity.
Some of the most productive people in the world are single minded—artists, writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, mathematicians, engineers. They become experts in their fields of study creating the biggest degree of change. They are very productive creatures.
Here's the thing.
You and I both know what when you finally get the important stuff done, the stuff that really means something to you like writing your book, calling a friend or loved one, starting a business focused on your passion, following your hobbies and interests .... you feel different than when you fill your time with meaningless action.
Have you ever noticed when you finally clear the "do to" list, more stuff gets put on the list? It's never-ending.
So why do you let it upset you? Maybe you feel like you'll never be able to keep up?
Productivity is not truly about time management.
It's about how you think (and feel) about time .... and your activity.
How many times a day do you tell yourself, "I don't have enough time for that!", "That's taking up too much of my time!", or "I wish I had more time!"
Do you think Richard Branson, James Patterson, Malala Yousafzai or Taylor Swift has more time than you or I? Last time I checked, all clocks worked the same. These people appear to be super productive using the same measure of time everyone else does.
So ... what's their secret?
I don't know. But I can tell you mine.
The first thing you can do to become more productive is to change how you talk, and think about time. Stop having conversations with people—friends and even strangers—about how you can never seem to get it all done. Literally go cold turkey with this kind of talk.
It's going to feel weird, at first, because you're just going to smile and nod at the person instead of replying. When you're feeling brave, you can respond, "I love having all the time I need to get everything done I want."
I did this five years ago. I stopped having conversations with people complaining about lack of time. It was strange, at first. I would tell myself I had all the time in the world I needed to get everything done.
I'm happy to report it eventually became my reality.
You, too, will feel like you're lying when you don't yet have the physical proof. Your calendar is still jam packed; you're not yet painting all day instead of attending meetings.
But keep telling yourself you have enough time (Add money to this mantra, of course. We want to make sure you have all the money you want, too.) as you begin to feel easier about time. Start to feel gratitude for time opening up for you in a way you'd prefer.
Since I started thinking and feeling differently about time ... I wrote my first book, started a coaching business, have done tons of radio and internet interviews, written on-line classes, improved my health, spent hundreds of hours learning and implementing the physics of spirituality, finished two certification coaching programs, started a blog, all while working from home and raising a family.
I've gotten much more productive since I understood the real relationship between time and activity.
The second thing you can do to become more productive is to stop doing stuff you don't want to. This might require a weaning period. I don't recommend you quit your job today (without a backup plan) just because you don't like it. I also don't advise filing for divorce before you try to work it out or start eating only candy because you don't like veggies. That's not what I mean.
Productivity should be about meaning, not movement.
Instead of making rash decisions, slowing shift your focus of attention from the stuff you don't enjoy to the stuff you do. Think of this shifting as the same process it took to turn the Titanic. Take your foot off the accelerator, allow the momentum to slow, turn the wheel, slowly increase the speed again.
When you're doing stuff you love, you'll be surprised how "productive" you can be. Passion never feels like work and energy flows to you constantly.
For today, my extra hour of "free time" is up. It's 12:15 and time to move on to another activity. One quick edit for spelling and grammar and this post is complete.
As you can see, I was at least 1360 words worth of productive today, even if I get nothing else done.
And following my own advice, I never thought about how long it was taking me to write this. I love writing.
Thus, I was ubber productive in a little over an hour.
If you do nothing else except change how you think and feel about time and productivity, what you accomplish in life will change dramatically.
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