My journey in trying to be productive started with trying to find the perfect tool, the perfect process, the “10 steps to productivity” if you will. Some of this was pre-internet, so I read books and magazine articles on the subject. As the internet exploded, I did searches for the best blogs and productivity experts. I had my Franklin Planner, I integrated the Franklin-Covey methodology, I had software to manage my to-do list and print it out and keep it with my schedule. I built my mission statement and did my goal setting. As the electronics came up to speed, I had my Palm Pilot and my Blackberry, an Android and then an iPhone. I played with Microsoft Outlook Tasks, Google Tasks, Things, Nozbe, and others.
But my mission statement wasn’t complete. I thought through my roles (husband, dad, son, friend, co-worker, manager…) but there were two issues. One was that I had not gotten completely honest with parts of myself. The second was that I was not being consistent in that mission in all aspects of my life.
For the first issue, while my wife was helping me learn to say “No”, it took a bit longer to be able to understand that I was a people pleaser, and it was destroying me. In 2000, I spent some time with a life coach who helped me understand the people pleasing part of myself. This helped me to better voice my wants and desires to others, as well as do better at saying “No” to those things that I wanted to do but drove my productivity down. Aaron Rubel commented on my previous post about effectiveness vs efficiency, and I had to learn that.
It took until 2015 when I almost had a mental and emotional breakdown to understand that while at the time I was being very efficient in managing a staff of people and processing 500+ emails a day, my effectiveness was at a low point. I was putting in too many hours, the self-care was lost, and my perfectionism and procrastination was taking its toll at work, while I was not enjoying the rest and relaxation that I needed.
I had to get uncomfortable. I had to look at myself even deeper. I had to make some hard decisions about my career. I had to be ok with failing and disappointing people at the right times.
And I did. I chose to work less hours and be ok with things being undone. I was let go from my position during some restructuring, and I was ok with it. I took a new position that was very different a few months later with a lower pay, and I was excited about it. I joined the Hobie Fishing Kayak Team, which was a stretch in some ways, but a joy in so many others. All of these led to some amazing growth opportunities.
For the second issue on consistency across all aspects of life, we’ll get into with future blogs.
Next week I want to look at some of the books that have made an impact on me, and why. But until then, what about you? Have you been ok with being uncomfortable, or do you need to dive into that further? Here are a few thought starters and potential actions to get uncomfortable:
- Fear of missing out (set a time limit on social media; don’t finish that book that you are not enjoying; cancel a podcast subscription that is no longer serving its purpose)
- Lack of trusting others, which may mean unwillingness to delegate (identify something you are doing that somebody else could do)
- Perfectionism, either spending too much time and never being good enough or overwhelmed and unable to start (launch it!; put pen to paper)
- Procrastination, maybe due to a proliferation of hobbies or it could be caused by your perfectionism (either schedule time to do it or set a hobby aside for a time)
- Fear of failure (ask somebody to have a conversation; try something new)
- Saying “Yes” too often, even to good things (next person who asks you to do something, tell them you need to think about it)
- Trying to please everybody (list out the important people in your life)
- Lack of self-care (identify one thing you can do differently: health, exercise, eating, emotional imbalance)
Who can you talk to about these further?