If you are reading this, I bet you must have EATEN your share of frogs, GOT things done by trying apps like Todoist, Evernote, Timeboxing, Pomodoro, or Wunderlist.
Given a scenario where there is no dearth of systems and tools available to make you more productive, you often expect that once you adopt that right system, try that right tool, buy that right book, or right journal, you would somehow get better at getting the desired result.
But, of course, the results are never even close to your expectations.
Why is that so?
Because accept it or not, you are always in a hurry to write a bestseller — story of your life — by just concocting every single ingredient of the most visible generic success formula.
And you expect it to work?
One thing you need to appreciate here is that every system and tool is just there to help you gain some leverage. They can never replace your acumen — which actually defines the quality of your choices.
The meaning and purpose ascribed to delineate all the finer contours of your desired outcome is something that is highly personal and can’t be just replicated merely by emulation.
And even if you do succeed in replicating every detail, the exact odds of translating your plan into an actual reality is something that will always remain uncertain.
Fear of Control & Certainty
What makes you think that identifying and completing all the items on the to-do list will help you reach your desired outcome?
You will agree that all kind of shits do happen in your life —especially when you are least prepared for them.
Life will never ever cease to throw surprises at you. The only way to deal with them is by becoming more comfortable doing all sorts of uncomfortable things.
So how do you outgrow your favorite tools of productivity?
Well, the solution lies in simplicity.
Simplification is often the difference between good and amazing.
Since, we all are an ever-evolving product of our conditioning, perspective, and preferences — becoming more efficient boils down to having a deeper understanding and appreciation of our own manifestations of anxiety.
Fear of losing control and certainty makes us look for the comfort of distractions — often in form of smartphone notifications, social media, YouTube, email, or Netflix. Giving birth to procrastination where the objective is to keep yourself engaged so as to avoid uncertainty and unpredictability associated with an important task.
Once you can get a realistic grip on your own vulnerabilities, you are more prepared to outgrow them.
At the very core of every productivity hack lies a misplaced assumption on linear functionality. It simply means, 12 hours of work is twice as productive as 6 hours of work.
In 2001, Marcus Raichle, MD, a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis, used fMRI scans to look inside the brain. Raichle found that when people zone out and daydream, a particular part of the brain consistently became active.
He called this the default-mode network.
Interestingly, as soon as Raichle’s subjects started focusing again, the default-mode network went black and the task-positive network became active again.
Raichle’s work prompted more scientific inquiry on the brain at rest. This body of research shows that even when it feels like our brains are “off,” a powerful system, the default-mode network, is running in the background, completely unnoticed by our conscious awareness. And as we’re about to see, it’s this system — one that is “on” when we are “off” — that is often responsible for creative insight and breakthrough.
Reflect on the times when you are most creative. What are you doing when the answers to tough problems you’ve been grappling with suddenly pop into your head? Odds are, you aren’t trying to solve them. It’s more likely that you’re zoning out in the shower.
If not in the shower, maybe your best ideas come to you when you are on a run or a walk.
Therefore, there is no ambiguity that most of the creative problem-solving and thought-provoking insights never work on linear functionality. In fact, diminishing marginal return is a norm here rather than an exception.
Strategies to steer clear of the trap
- Our productivity mindset often discourages us from deep level thinking because we refrain from indulging in any activity demanding a commitment of time and intelligence. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to engage in some real deep thinking given the fact it’s a rampant casualty in this well-connected world of endless notifications. It helps you in making important choices about what’s important.
- Stop getting obsessed with results. Because, results if not dovetailed properly with things that you care, often lose its meaning. And anything done without meaning is a difficult thing to sustain for far too long.
Is there an alternative to tracking results?
Of course, the alternative is to start focusing more on the enjoyment of the activity.
For example, while focusing on enjoying my calisthenics routine, I am alive to opportunities where I could bring dynamism into my activity. I have become sensitive to my physiological responses by respecting it, instead of resisting it.
- Don’t fall into the trap of momentum of immediate result. Momentum without right direction is nothing but a waste of your valuable time and energy. If you are hustling for the sake of being occupied most of the time — it doesn’t mean anything.
- Start evaluating your projects on the basis of how it makes you feel at the end. Everything else is just secondary. Projects that make you feel good about yourself should always get your topmost priority. And you wouldn’t be required to push yourself way too much to get the desired outcome — ’cause you will be having fun.
- Once you are clear about projects that are perfectly aligned with your passion and perspective, you need to just pursue them with long-term commitment. They will always be few in numbers but will end up playing a pivotal role in shaping the finer contours of your success.
One Soul One Goal
Over the years I have tried different combinations of goal setting with a varied amount of success. However, the pursuit of One Goal has made me accomplish things by going beyond the boundaries of being just “Good”. And consequently freed my mental energy from the tentacles of everyday goal administration.
The task here is to find that One Goal which might get your adrenaline pumping in anticipation. Makes you fearful and excited all at the same time.
Once you identify that One Goal, you can accordingly work your way to monthly, weekly, and daily goals. The objective here is to find perfect symbiosis among all four sets of Goals.
How does this help?
- It makes you focus on just One Goal for the day. Unless you are done with that one task, you wouldn’t be sparing your time and energy on anything else.
- You refrain yourself from getting into the default habit of ticking the check-boxes for the sake of being just occupied.
- Once the task of the day is done and dusted, it brings a lot of flexibility to rest of your schedule — making you alive to different opportunities.
- As a consequence, you are less stressed to enjoy your other commitments and responsibilities — which by the way is an integral part of your daily existence.
This non-complicated routine will bring a sense of structure and familiarity into your daily life. You will start waking up with a sense of ownership, order, and organization in your life.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort,” — Paul J. Meyer
Originally published on betterhumans.coach.me
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