Note: I found this sitting in my Medium draft. This was a cross-post from my old productivity blog that got lost in oblivion.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
Paul J. Meyer
The state of being productive doesn’t just happen overnight. It is brought about by full dedication and constant diligence. It is not a quality or quantity subject to measurement or metrics on a dashboard or performance sheet.
Productivity is an attitude toward work — a way of life. It is by itself a state of being. It is not a condition of having done something but of doing.
Productivity is an attitude toward work — a way of life.
Once you are already in the state of being productive, you have to grasp that moment with both of your hands because it is easy to let it loose; and getting yourself out of the productivity pit — the unproductive state — can be a daunting task.
There are pitfalls out there that you can easily fall into when complacency overtakes your momentum. Drawbacks can get in your way and swallow you up into the abyss.
Here are some of the things that you can do to successfully maintain your state of being productive:
Reinforce What’s Working
If you think you already have the perfect formula for productivity, there is no reason to reinvent the whole thing. You may try variations of the formula but it is not a good idea to dismantle its core and rebuild one after another.
Although you must also assert some flexibility into the system, this does not mean you have to abandon its constant reinforcement. Find your winning formula and stick to it.
Eliminate The Non-Essential
Any productivity system, no matter how effective it is, needs some pruning. As your way of working evolves, you will find things that might have become superfluous as you make your adjustments or adaptation.
Your work might remain constant but the ways of doing it will not. We always find new ways of doing things so it is important to make room for changes by discarding the things that no longer fit in our system.
New responsibilities and the daily load of work can overwhelm us if we are not ready to tackle them. If you’ve been reading the GTD book by David Allen, you are probably convinced now that a stress-free productivity is not a matter of managing your time. It’s about getting your stuff out of your head.
If you think you are swamped by responsibilities and you feel like you’re in trouble, think about what Henry Ford might have to say, “There are no big problems; there are just a lot of little problems.” And, I am sure you will agree if I say that little problems are easier to deal with than the big ones.
Set New Goals
The end itself is a new beginning. Once you reached your goals, you have to set new and better ones.
Your system becomes rigid, and thereby your job suffers boredom, if you let mediocrity thrives in your system. Set higher and better goals to achieve.
Improve Your System
There is always room for improvement. Continuous improvement on the way you do your job can reap more productivity and great successes. Your system becomes more and more efficient if you are committed to its improvement.
Set your eyes on innovation. As you do this, don’t forget Steve Job’s piece of advice, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” And you can apply that advice to how you handle your daily work.
Learn To Automate
In order for you to guarantee efficiency and productivity, you have to go for automation. Don’t waste your time and effort on things that you can automate. Automation is your ally. Look for technologies that can truly help you get things done.
But remember that on top of any automation or technology must be your proven and solid system. To quote Bill Gates, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Be A Student
Never stop learning. Pursuit of knowledge and innovation is the strong key to ultimate productivity and efficiency. Learn new technologies and never stop looking for systems that you can adapt to your own.
Efficiency and Productivity demand incessant learning.
Be A Mentor
Bring out the best in others and they will happily return the favor. Helping other people reach their goals should be part of your goals. You need other people. You don’t need to monopolize all the good stuff. Share your knowledge to others and you will never run out of great resources when you most need them.
Celebrate The Milestones
There must be a reason to all your efforts. Celebrate every success that you achieve. Celebrate to remind yourself that much has been done to bring all your tasks or projects into accomplishment.
Take also this moment to look forward to your next projects and remember those marks that brought you successes.
Learn From Mistakes
W. Clement Stone has a great outlook on learning from our own mistakes. He said, “Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.”
Mistakes are not failure; they only mean we did not succeed the first time we try.
Continue On Building Plans
Jim Rohn reminds us to not stop looking forward and never to stop building our goals and plans: “If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” Continue to look forward to the next day.
Productivity and efficiency may be hard to achieve if you are building them from the ground up. But as you start picking up the pace, you find that they become easier to attain. They become part of your life. They become you.
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