Am I productive, seriously? Do I really need to maintain my productivity system… and at what cost? Most people around me don’t give a damn about productivity, scheduling, goal setting, and the like. Will I really get the benefit and competitive advantage over those folks one day?
These are the questions that lurk in the back of my mind. And they don’t hesitate to flood my brain in the days when I lack clarity and vision.
In these questioning-tha-self moments, we simply forget where we came from and how far we’ve gone. We miss the spark that would skyrocket our productivity.
In this post, I want to confess that from time to time I experience such moments. What’s more, I made a lot of mistakes along my journey.
I’m not legend. I’m vulnerable. I’m human.
Let’s see the confessions of a shiny head productivity blogger.
Four mistakes Csaba makes under the umbrella of productivity
This is a testament to my post 7 mistakes people make under the umbrella of productivity. I have to admit that every now and then I fall prey to at least four of the seven mistakes I listed in that article.
First things first, saying no is the most demanding task for me.
I’m, by nature, a yes-of-course-that-is-my-pleasure guy, who is hard-wired to say yes to every request, either from a boss or a friend. Over time, I learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. But I still struggle with it most of the time.
The second mistake is dishonoring my calendar.
Oftentimes, I would schedule exercise, a family gathering, or some uncomfortable task, and yet I fail to complete them. It’s so easy to reschedule important commitments…
I learned that we try to skip exercise because it doesn’t deliver an immediate benefit. We start to see the results over the long term. Once, however, I truly realized that my ultimate driving force behind exercise is health, I started to make educated decisions. And part of that was to respect my calendar. It’s so simple.
My third mistake is, guess what, multitasking.
When I’m working on a task and the phone starts ringing, colleagues are stepping into my office for assistance, emails are inundating my inbox―all at the same time―it’s hard to resist the devil of productivity: multitasking. What I found useful in this case is to take a deep breath and consult my not-to-do list to gain perspective.
And there is one more mistake I would often fall prey to: this is to get carried away by productivity.
Overplanning and procrastination definitely fall under this category. Although productivity is designed to beat procrastination, sometimes it does more harm than good.
There’re chances that we read so much self-development stuff to justify procrastination. So instead of stepping into the arena, we keep planning until it’s too late. And I’m guilty, too, with reading and publishing so much personal development material.
Dealing with email
Out of the 7 mistakes people make when dealing with email, I repeat at least two. And I pay the price downstream. A heavy price.
Although I know that I should check email at set times only, more often than not, it doesn’t work for me. What follows is that I’m a slave to my inbox with the fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO.
And I can say that FOMO isn’t a great friend; he is terrifying. He keeps me checking my inbox all they long until I lose my focus on what’s important and what isn’t. But sometimes I beat FOMO and punch him in the eye by closing my email client for hours… And it works.
The second mistake is one that I managed to fix more or less. When an insulting email lands in my inbox, I feel the urge to hit reply―or worse reply all―immediately.
But I’ve learned from my painful mistakes and I usually don’t hit a prompt reply, rather wait for a couple of hours or a day. This time, as I’ve learned from experts, puts me into an emotional distance and I can draft a more educated (and moderate) response, if at all.
Let’s see the ups and downs of personal growth.
Too much personal development stuff
On my About page, I argue that productivity is a philosophy of life. And as such, I live according to this philosophy. There’re times, though, when I feel there is too much on my already filled plate. Why, then, should I take more responsibility on? Is it worth the effort?
A friend, one of the most productive and successful people I know, doesn’t consume personal development material, at least not in such volumes as many of us would. He doesn’t have a productivity system. Nor does he complete the weekly review. And he skipped writing down his goals. Yet he is an elite high-performer and lives life to the fullest.
I figured out that part of his success and happiness stems from his perpetual need for growth and connectedness. He never feels guilty about dedicating time to recharge his batteries.
What I learned from him is that life full of regret should be avoided by all means. He has at least one item of active leisure time on his schedule each and every week.
Long story short, I see that personal development is central to a more fulfilling life. But don’t overdo it.
This leads us to conclude that a healthy dose of personal development and productivity helps us moving the needle.
Go hard or go home, fella
This is a well-known gym slang. And it applies to all areas of life. After the hard times, I always reignite the spark which keeps me going and growing.
I try to live by the standard of failing forward, which I adopted from John C. Maxwell, the author of the book Your Road Map for Success.
I want to close with a powerful quote from him:
The issue is not whether I am going to fail. Instead, when I fail, I need to determine whether I’m going to fail
backward or forward—that’s the real question.
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Your one takeaway: Learn from your mistakes, build on them, and fail forward!