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Essay: 3 Productivity Hacks For Lazy Overachievers (like me)
Today it took me nearly an hour to get out of bed. Outside was cold, unpleasant, my bed was warm, writing this article was not appealing (apologies). This isn’t going to be a David Goggins rant about doing more, whipping yourself early in the morning, or doing push-ups instead of sleeping. This advice is just something key that I have learned in my quest to be more productive by doing less:
The real secret to being productive is doing the right thing, not everything.
1. The first productivity hack is asking calibrated questions.
“Measure twice and cut once”
Ask yourself these questions:
If I had to do my entire week’s work in two hours. What would I do? (identify most important mission)
If I could only accomplish one thing today to make me feel satisfied, what would it be? (the most critical activity of that mission)
How could this most essential task be easy? (what is the most straightforward method, this is one I have been asking about basically every task I’m doing. I’m prone to taking the most unnecessary and challenging route with everything...)
Keep the to-do list short as possible and effective as hell.
2). The idea here is to increase productivity by subtraction, not addition.
“Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
What am I doing that is unnecessary at the moment? (stop doing it)
What task am I avoiding that would have greater results?
‘Being busy’ can be a vice. Our culture promotes the busy body attitude, so often we try to be productive by doing more. The best way to do more is to do less work, but to do more necessary work.
A lot of busy work makes you feel good, but it is actually a smokescreen to keep you away from doing the necessary work which you are afraid of. Facing fear first increases overall productivity.
3. The biggest productivity hack is Measurement.
“what gets measured, gets managed.”
We’re unproductive and procrastinate because we’re not fully certain what we’re supposed to be doing in the first place, what our metrics are for success, and hence failure (results we want to achieve).
Once you’ve set an aim that’s clear and achievable within a specific timeframe. It’s very easy to execute.
The reason we don’t specify enough detail is that if you keep your plans intentionally vague, then you can’t fail, but if you can’t fail, you also will not succeed.
To be more productive, you have to fight the human urge to hide things in the fog. The biggest enemy of productivity is fear, so add as much detail to your goals as you can.
For example: I want to buy a house. The deposit is 10,000. I would calculate how much I need to deposit each month to meet this threshold in a set number of years. What I might be tempted to leave out is my crippling addiction to Boojum which chips away at the total every month, productivity requires radical honesty, with yourself first and foremost.
Bonus tip: Taking advantage of standard operating procedures.
I talked about this briefly in the seven steps to become a creative entrepreneur, which is that for tasks that you do repetitively, you should create a standard operating procedure whereby you break it down into steps, and then examine which steps you can remove to make it more efficient, oftentimes you’ll find that there are at least three or four steps that you don’t need to be doing at all,
In summary, lack of productivity comes from uncertainty about your goals and the results you’re aiming for and from being busy but not effective.
You will be most productive. If you live a disciplined and routine life with clear cut goals, using key questions like the ones I’ve outlined allows you to avoid feeling virtuous by being busy but not achieving anything.
I hope this is helpful for you and helps you be more happy and productive.
This is a great little article if you are looking for more: https://tim.blog/2013/11/03/productivity-hacks/