The Irony in Productivity

I’ve recently been on a productive kick as of late. It’s probably due to the changing seasons, or the fact that the holidays are upon us. Regardless, I’ve been really honing my productivity lately. I’m doing more, forgetting less, and feeling better about myself as a result. Why? I’ve stopped calling productivity “Productivity”.

That’s right. You’re not misreading that previous statement. Due to my love technology and finding ways to do XYZ better, I’ve always been infatuated with making a system better. However, there is a point where this starts to hurt you.

By making the emphasis the system, and not what the system does, one loses precious time.

For example: I’ve been known to constantly be on the lookout for the latest GTD, hoping that it is the panacea that will finally put an end to my unproductive days. When in really, I could have spent that precious time doing (aka being productive). The irony in this is really too much.

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  • Brennan Kingsland November 30, 2007, 7:39 am

    Dear Glen,

    I too noticed that with the cooler weather I was getting lots more done. I simply attributed it to that fact that sweltering in hot weather slows me down.
    (That’s NOT a good excuse with air conditioning available!)

    In fact, after reading your post, I realize that it is the excitement of focusing on the end result that is more effective for me, instead of the methodical and never-ending PLANNING I wasted so much time on.

    Eben Pagan/David DeAngelo of “Altitude Training” says the secret to success is “speed of implementation”. That’s my new buzzword.


  • glen November 29, 2007, 4:06 pm

    Excellent point Jonathan. I think the key is that the studying shouldn’t outweigh the actual effort. So, for the exercise example: One shouldn’t read Runner’s World more than they actually run ;)

  • Jonathan Fields November 29, 2007, 9:34 am

    Hey Glen,

    Really interesting insight! I liken this to what happens to many people with a passion for fitness.

    Often times, in a quest to accelerate the impact or end-result, they’ll spend so much time searching for ways to do it better, reading magazines and surfing the web, that the time spent acquiring knowledge actually begins to cut into the time available to exercise.

    Not great for the body. But, then again, if you have a genuine intellectual passion for the subject, whether productivity or fitness, and the time spent “learning” about this topic is time you genuinely enjoy, it may take away from the activity being studied, but, at the same time, it adds to your life on a different level.

    I guess, in the end, you need to find a healthy balance between your desire to study how to do something better and your ability to take action on what you learn.

    Have a great week ahead!