Have you noticed people who only talk about dreams and hopes, and what they'll one day achieve, while they're still stuck at their jobs? And then there are others who seem to be productive day after day after day?
I honestly believe we're all born with equal capabilities. So, people with similar opportunities must be as productive or useless as each other, right? WRONG! And you don't need me to tell you that. You know that already! But why?
Why is it that some people can write a book, learn to paint, work a job, and spend time with family at the same time while making others feel like these tiny specs of dusts with insignificant lives?
You know am a nerd, right? So, I study people - overachievers who were just average, brilliant people who have under-performed, and then the mavericks and trail-blazers. In fact, I've a strange confession to make which will land me straight to being classified as a weirdo- I study people's LinkedIn profiles for hours (been doing that for the last 8-10 years and am still not bored!). People and their psychology fascinate me. So I also read tons of psychology journals and books. And let's not even go into the crazy amounts of money I've spent on buying psychology courses! (In a parallel universe, am a professor of psychology you see!) And as a result of this nerdiness, here's what I've learned about people who are the most productive.
1. They practice the art of focus and flow
You see, in the corporate world, there seems to be a misconception about multi-tasking. Apparently your best employees can multi-task effectively! My god!! If there's one lie in the universe, it's this! MULTI-TASKING IS A HOAX! You believe, me or not, I don't care. It's proven science, and the most productive people know it. In fact, one of the best in trade is a professor of computer science at Georgetown University, Cal Newport. You know what's interesting about Cal? He runs one of the most read blogs on the internet. Do you also know what's true of him? He has no internet access on the computer he works on. That is the hack- that there's none! Just plain and simple unwavering focus.
2. They mindfully create winning habits
Let's just take me writing for my blog as an example. Do you think this habit has emerged of thin air just because I love all of you so very much? Of course I love you, and I love writing. But that's not enough to sustain a well read blog. I was extremely mindful and intentional about making this a habit. It is not easy to come up with content ideas 3-4 times a week AND write it too. You see, many bloggers outsource this job to semi-good ghost writers. How do I know? I used to be a copywriter once upon a time in life. So I exactly know how much time a ghost writer would spend on writing a piece like this, and how insightful it would be for you. (Hint: the answer is a very small amount!) I chose to provide value to you, and to do that, I needed to create a habit. I fiddled with it for months and now finally am getting somewhere. Mindfulness matters!
3. They take breaks and are truly present with the break
Breaks are important. And anyone who thinks otherwise is as deluded as one of my Macro-Economics professors who thought Rational Expectation theorists make sense! Have you ever tried solving a problem, given up, forgotten about it and come back to find an obvious solution? I bet you have, and that's what breaks do to your system - they move your awareness from one area of the brain to another. And when you go back, you're looking at it all afresh. Of course this ties in with the bit around focus and won't obviously work if you say something bizarre like "I need a break every ten minutes to check out my Instagram feed."
Is there a productivity tip that you would like to share? Let me know!