Recently, I've published a lot of content about productivity. Productivity is important, but let's make sure we don't put blinders on, here.
Productivity alone is not enough.
You can be super productive, squeeze many hours of work out of every day... and still make zero progress towards your goals.
Today, let's take a look at how you can combine productivity with strategy, to make sure you aren't just spinning your wheels real fast.
What the Heck is Productivity Anyway?
Let's briefly define our terms, here.
Productivity, as I see it, is your ability to get things done. It's being able to set out a series of actions you want to take and then actually taking those actions, with little to no time wasted.
Strategy, is about how you lay out that series of actions in the first place.
This is why it's so critical to have both of these components.
Productivity without strategy is just busywork. Strategy without productivity is building castles in the sky. Productivity + strategy is how you reach your goals.
Much can be said about how to be more productive and how to create the right strategy (and I cover this in great detail in my course). For this post, I want to give you a simple approach you can put into practice right away.
The Strategy Part
How do you create a strategy? My favorite tool for this is writing.
Grab a pen and paper, fire up Evernote or use whatever your preferred writing tool is. Then, start writing about what you want your near future life circumstances to look like. What do you want to be different from how it is now? What do you want to change? Improve? Quit?
To make this writing session useful:
- Be specific in your descriptions. The more detail you include, the better.
- Focus on actions, experiences and character. More "I want my day to look like this, I want to be this kind of person" and less "I want these things".
- Use the question "why?" to dig deeper and uncover more detail. E.g. "why do I want this?", "why is achieving this important to me?"
Writing is a way of active, deliberate thinking. It's a way to turn vague ideas into concrete plans.
Once you've gotten a clear picture of what your goals look like, pick one. Yes, just one.
Ask yourself: "what are some possible ways in which I could reach this goal?"
Write about that. Do some research. Whatever goal you want to achieve, you can readily find examples of people who have achieved something similar and write about how they did it.
The purpose of this exercise is to connect the dots between where you are right now and where you want to be. The plan you lay out doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be a series of actions you can take, that you can reasonably expect to lead to the outcome you want.
The Productivity Part
I've created an entire course about productivity and even if I wanted to, I couldn't boil it all down into a single, simple piece of advice.
What I can do is give you a single, simple action that adds a "productivity" piece to the strategy we've just laid out: get your calendar and mark 1 hour each day, which you reserve for working on your goal.
Schedule this time in your calendar and block it off from other appointments and tasks you have. Truly reserve one hour per day, to work on this one goal you picked out.
This doesn't guarantee success, but it makes success likely.
If you do both of these things - lay out a strategy in writing and work on it 1 hour a day - you're miles ahead of the curve from most people.
The comments on previous posts inspired me to explore this topic a bit further, so in my next post, I'll expand on the method I laid out here. We'll add another piece to this approach, which further increases your chances of success.
Stay tuned for that post, coming soon!
If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below!