Sunday, January 15, 2012

Productivity plans without goals = failure


Last week I posted about productivity. It was going to be my week of productivity. I did a few things I wanted to do. I failed in my goal to only look at Facebook twice a day. I am addicted to Facebook and found many reasons to adhere to that goal, so I’m going to consider it a hopeless cause for the time being.

I had neglected the reasons why I’m not productive in the first place, which Seth Godin (a very awesome marketing guru) pointed out in a recent blog:
The reason productivity improvements don't work (as well as they could)  
Getting Things Done (GTD), 18 minute plans, organized folders... none of them work as well as you'd like. 
The reason is simple: you don't want to get more done. 
You're afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure. 
The leap the lizard brain (the primitive part of your brain) takes when confronting the opportunity is a simple formula: GTD=Failure. 
Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren't going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren't that needed.  
You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.
There are two key things I need to do before I can be really productive:

1. Recognising what I’m afraid of. Why don’t I want to get things done that I need to do? What scares me about achieving what I’ve set out to achieve? These are hard questions to answer, it is  hard to be so honest with myself. But I’m pretty sure it’s around fear of failure, not being successful, people not liking what I do, etc. Nothing new in the field of psychology there, they are just your standard fears that I’m sure most of you have.

2. Committing to goals. I need to articulate what my goals are. I need some tangible goals. I was going to list the things I’ve committed to, like writing this blog, doing exercise, and writing 750 words every morning, but Amit pointed out that I haven’t actually said what my goals are, apart from that 2012 is my year of being an Entrepreneur. And that is only a theme, not a goal. So next week I plan to have a few goals articulated and committed to for the year.

What is holding you back from being productive?

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