What Is the Most Important Factor for Consistent Productivity?

What is the most important factor for consistent productivity?Both procrastinators and non-procrastinators yearn to be more productive.  There are lots of strategies, tools, and techniques to assist us in our work and daily lives these days, but even with that assistance, many people find consistent productivity hard to achieve.

Why is this the case?  Why do we intend and want to be productive and to get our work done, but then have our actions get in our way?  So often our actions don’t line up with our original intentions.

I found the answer to this question in a conversation with my husband.

I talked with my husband about all things related to being consistently productive.  We had the opportunity to review what we thought were the most important factors for getting things done.  He is a project manager and an inherently organized and practical, and of course that means he’s the world’s exact opposite of me, a hopelessly disorganized and spirited psychologist.

But it turns out we think about consistent productivity in similar ways.

When he talks, he uses concepts like:

  • goals and objectives
  • execution
  • figuring out the scope of the project
  • assumptions and constraints

When I talk, I refer to concepts like:

  • tolerating your difficult feelings
  • making room for flow
  • developing a daily practice
  • dealing with your self-doubt and resistance

As you can tell, our relationship is bilingual.  We often see each other as originating from an alternate universe. 

What I realized from this conversation was we agreed on one thing.   We used the exact same language to describe that one thing.  I also realized that this thing is the most important factor in being able to develop a practice of consistent productivity.  That thing is — DON’T PERSONALIZE IT.

My husband would say, “It’s a project with a defined purpose with a beginning and an end.  Don’t personalize it.”

I would say, “Don’t personalize it.  It is a project, not a statement about you or your worth or value as a person.”

No matter how we say it, we both want you to get this message firmly into your head.

This is difficult to do because from a young age we are trained that work is important and that the better we do, the better we should feel about ourselves.  This association gets developed and reinforced over and over again as we grow up, and not just in academic environments.  That association may be useful in motivating us to get good grades in school, but the closeness and intensity of this association between work and ego can inhibit us from feeling free to work when there are high stakes involved, and sometimes when there is any work involved at all.

Let that association go.  Let it go.  #singitifyouhaveto

The benefits of being able to separate your ego from your work are many.  They include:

  • clearer thinking
  • quicker decision making
  • better judgment
  • better communication and discussion
  • less time waste
  • more room for creativity
  • easier collaboration
  • consistent productivity

Let your work be your work.  It stands on its own.  Don’t burden the work or yourself with extra meanings, messages, or expectations.  Do what needs to get done with your best intentions, motivation, and skill.  Be courageous and stretch yourself.  Invest yourself in making your work better rather than in needing your work to garner you some praise or acceptance.  And never let fear get in your way.  

You might even be able to get along well with someone who speaks a totally different language than you.

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How to Get Rid of the Most Potent Factor Causing You to Procrastinate

Self-doubt

Let’s try to figure out what’s getting in your way.

Why can’t you finish what you’ve started?

Why do your ideas never see the light of day?

Why can’t you introduce yourself to that cute new neighbor of yours?

Why is your workspace a cluttered mess?

Here’s my opinion for the day: you are overburdened by self-doubt.  Self-doubt tells us:

  • we should not try
  • we should not defend ourselves
  • we should not stand up for ourselves
  • we should keep the things as they are as best as we can because it is what we know
  • no one will listen
  • it’s not ready
  • I’m not ready
  • it’s not good enough
  • I’m not good enough
  • it’s ridiculous
  • it’ll take too long
  • it’ll be too hard
  • there’s not enough time
  • take your time
  • hiding out is a better option that showing up
  • we can never change
  • we can never grow
  • we can never be our full, operational selves

Wow.  Self-doubt is a kicker.  It kicks our motivation, and sometimes even our inspiration, to the curb.  It makes us believe we were never really that motivated in the first place.

In case you haven’t had your share of healthy nutrients today, here’s some powerful juice for killing your self-doubt:

You are more capable than you can even imagine.

You have more potential for action than you could ever use in a lifetime.

You can change your pattern of doing things within the next hour.

You are in charge of yourself and the thoughts you allow yourself to listen to.  You do not have to listen to trash talk and lies about yourself anymore.

You are the best person for changing things in the right direction for you.  You do not have to rely on anyone else and you do not have to fear anyone else any longer.

Self-doubt is mental and emotional clutter.  It can get out of control very quickly and very easily.  It can take up so much of your time that it really does feel like there is no time left to work.  The truth of the matter is you do have the time, but you will not have the emotional energy and mental fortitude to do your work if you are burdened by the clutter of self-doubt.

Do one thing today to prove to yourself your own capacity for action and change.  And then repeat this action over and over again until your self-doubt is gone.  Best wishes to you.

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