3 More Ways to Reach Peak Productivity (365 Days of Spirited Living — DAY 326)
“If you spend your life over analyzing every encounter you will always see the tree, but never the forest.”
— Shannon L. Alder
Much of productivity is perspective. If you feel stuck then most likely you are. If you are doing so many things but don’t see any real progress than you are likely very busy but not productive. Depending on who you ask, you may be in need of a major overhaul or just a change of perspective. Productivity is less about going and going and more about taking small steps over a period of time that makes up the whole. When you’ve taken so many of the right little steps, you will have produced a situation that will have created a thing that is very close to the big picture that you can say it is finished. Here are 3 more ways to reach peak productivity:
1. Boldly ask for advice.
Asking for advice is not easy for two reasons. One reason is because many people allow their pride and ego to get in the way. A second reason is that some people feel insecure and fear that asking for advice will make them look weak or dependent. When it comes to making tough decisions, you have to be able to ask the right questions of the right people and be patient and willing to listen to what they have to say. What you are looking to be and do and understand may be something somebody already knows about.
Asking for advice is one of the best things you can do if you want to be both productive and successful in life. Many times, before I make a decision, I ask questions from people who are already there and who have already made those decisions. Doing so helps to bring clarity to the process of decision making. You don’t have to figure out everything yourself; that’s one of the huge benefits of seeking advice. People are more than willing to tell you their stories and help you avoid some of those pitfalls they encountered.
2. Create a line of demarcation between the necessary and the nonessential.
Many times, the lines are blurred between what we must do and what is simply making noise for our attention. Priorities, goals, and essential items on out agendas fall over on the “necessary” side of the line. These are the few things that you must do daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly in order to make progress throughout your life. Anything closely connected to your goals and priorities are also necessary to do. Sometimes, we think we don’t have time to everything and so we by default do nothing worthwhile. We spend time doing little things or familiar things that we fail to accomplish the bigger goal. When the necessary is separated out, it gives you a sense of feasibility “this is doable” and accomplishment “if I do these things here, I will reach my goals.”
On the other side of the line are the nonessentials. These are the things you could do but you won’t pull your hair out if you didn’t get to them. They may or may not have anything to do with your goals or priorities. These are the small errands we run, the favors we do for neighbors or friends, the shows we religiously watch on TV or Netflix. Anything that you could live just fine without doing falls on this side of the line. When you separate things out, you will be able to see how and where you can become the most productive.
3. Don’t stress about the small details.
There is the big picture and then there are the small details. It is easy to get lost in the minutiae of what should be done and then neglect to come through on the whole project. When life offers a seemingly endless number of good opportunities, allowing ourselves to get focused on the small things can keep us back from being fully productive. It restrains your ability to see how all things work together to create the whole. It is almost like a forest. You have this huge forest but if you get too focused on one little tree, you will either not make it out or not get far.
Just imagine what would happen if Steve Jobs got caught up in the small details of Apple or if Bill Gates got tied down in the minutiae of Microsoft. What if people like this only saw every little detail and negative paid attention to the big picture. Well, we might not have PCs and Macs and iPhones. We might not be as connected as we are today. To be productive, you must choose to stay focused on the big picture while ensuring the small details are also done.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
— Bruce Lee