One of the greatest enemies of productivity is perfectionism, not procrastination. (Procrastination can be a good thing if you do it right.)
Perfectionism hits us in two ways:
- We’re afraid to get started.
- We’re afraid to finish.
Great one-two punch, no? Perfectionism gets you both ways. We’re afraid to start because we don’t want to make mistakes. We’re afraid to finish because it’s not perfect yet.
The point of being productive isn’t to be perfect. There is no right time to start; there is only now. There is no perfect outcome; once it’s good enough you’re wasting your time. Waiting for everything to be perfect before we move (or move on) is a guaranteed way to set yourself up to fail. If you want to start a change, you do just that: you start.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Brian Jackson
If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.
If I don’t have to memorize something, I prefer not to. Albert Einstein said, “Intelligence is not the ability to remember information, but knowing where to find it.” In Getting Things Done, David Allen wrote, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” I’m in good company.
I used to devote an inordinate amount of mental energy to remembering passwords. I tried to follow the recommended practices of incorporating numbers and punctuation and never reused passwords across sites. I would take something distinct about the site as a mnemonic and derive a unique-but-relevant password. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I reset a password only to retrace the same steps into the mind palace and arrive at the same password I had set before. (I know this because some sites don’t let you reset your password to what it was.)
Then I met 1Password. Now I delegate (almost) all of my password concerns to it, freeing up my attention to focus on what I need to do instead of the details of doing it.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Tomasz Zajda (and 1Password)
“You can’t talk your way out of a problem you’ve behaved your way into.” —Stephen Covey
We are all connected. No matter how independent we are, we still interact with coworkers, family members, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. These relationships range from outright pleasant to downright obnoxious.
Any given relationship can vary. We’re emotional. We have good days. We have bad days. So does everybody else. When the relationship account balance is high, it feels like the good times stretch on and on. Things are clicking. You’re getting along great. Life is grand.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When the balance is low, it feels like an ordeal that’s never going to end. Transactions that would have been neutral or a minor thing start getting amplified and everything starts feeling like a huge withdrawal. Pretty soon, the account is overdrawn.
It’s easy (and extremely seductive) to put all the blame on them. “They’re so difficult to work with!” “He’s such a jerk!” “If only she’d see things my way.” The truth is, it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Relationships are two-sided. You are proactive. You can choose whether you’re going to handle the situation with grace or make things worse.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Korta
Success isn’t owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.
Rory Vaden, Take the Stairs
Let’s say you need to return a book to the library by Saturday, February 24. If possible, you’d like to return it a few days early while you’re out running errands. Simple, right?
Most task managers can’t handle this. They only have one way to schedule the task: set a due date on it. But which date do you put down? It’s due on February 24—that’s when you’re going to have consequences if you don’t get it done. But you want to do it on Wednesday, February 21.
Most apps can’t handle this simple scenario. You have one field. You need to know the due date to plan properly. You can’t sometimes use that field to schedule tasks or you will never trust your system again.
My two favorite task managers handle this just fine: OmniFocus and my Franklin planner. OmniFocus has a defer date which lets you schedule tasks for a specific date, keeping the due date and the do-it date separate. This is a good start, but it’s limited.
How do you schedule a task for the week of March 19? Or 2018Q3? Or sometime next February (February 2019)?
Here’s how to configure OmniFocus to schedule tasks as powerfully and flexibly as a Franklin planner.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Igor Negovelov
A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.
When the lenses in a telescope aren’t properly aligned, it’s not worth much. The images are distorted and blurry. When they’re properly aligned—or collimated, to use the vernacular—you get beautiful images of comets and nebulae. Everything is in crisp focus.
Even when we have checked off all the boxes, we might end the day no closer to where we want to be than we started. The best way to kill our productivity isn’t to spend the day slacking off—it’s to be so busy dealing with gravel that we don’t have time for the big rocks.
The problem is that we aren’t focused. Our day-to-day actions aren’t aligned with our goals, dreams, and deepest values. Big changes don’t happen all at once. The small actions we take (or should be taking) every day add up.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / allexxandarx