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How to Ease Your Never-Ending Quest to be More Productive
Your to-do list is long, but your time is short.
Whether you're Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or a slacker on the sofa playing video games, you only have twenty-four hours in a day. There are a lot of things you can buy with a billion dollars but more time in a day isn't one of them.
You could read more productivity books to find another email hack or morning routine, but all you really need is the honest truth about being more productive.
The Productivity Paradox
When it comes to productivity, modern-day humans are like Sisyphus.
Our to-do list is the boulder we push up a hill every day. Like our mythological Greek protagonist, we never quite make it to the finish line. The difference between our tasks and that of Sisyphus is when our boulder starts rolling down the hill, it gathers moss and other debris, creating another enormous boulder each morning.
The better we get at completing tasks, the more to-dos we add to the list. It's how we roll!
We think more is better.
The paradox of productivity is that we add more items to our lists as we become more efficient.
What do we usually do in response if we finish everything earlier than expected? Find something else to do so we can remain productive.
Productivity is a treadmill that never stops.
We don't have enough time.
Time is a limited resource that we often waste by attempting to use it wisely.
What most of us view as a lack of time is actually an over-burdening of tasks. We overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year.
We fail to prioritize.
Immediacy takes precedence over priorities.
How many times have you wasted time on a trivial task simply to get it done? Not all tasks are created equal. Complete higher value tasks first and ignore the busy work.
Busy Versus Productive
Look at my calendar! I'm so busy.
Try not to get busy confused with productive. It's easy to find things to do, but not everything has value. A full calendar or a long list of to-dos are often only the appearances of productivity.
One of our greatest productivity cheats is researching or reading about a topic before taking action. The least productive among us spend a lot of time and money reading or listening to podcasts about being more productive. We love to disguise procrastination with busy work.
Sometimes we just need to do the damn thing instead of researching it.
Sprinting Over Jogging
If you want to be more productive, sprint instead of jogging.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Yeah, well, the most successful people sprint and rest, sprint and rest. We need intensity to get the essential things done in life. Maintaining a high level of intensity is not possible over the course of a marathon.
The best athletes in the world, even most marathon runners, train intensely over short periods and then rest.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is performed in repeated quick bursts at a maximum effort followed by rest.
The principle applies to more than our physical efforts. Productivity in any arena improves when using the HIIT method.
What's your hourly rate?
Time is our most valuable personal resource. What is your time worth?
We're not talking about what your boss pays you. What is your personal time worth? Place a monetary value on your time and make the number high.
"Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you're worth." - Naval Ravikant
What tasks are worth your time? Let's say your number is $500 per hour (it should be much more). The activities that meet your pay grade are the ones where you need to concentrate your high-intensity efforts.
The honest truth
Productivity is a buzzword used against us. Value your time and stop living a task-oriented life.
- The productivity paradox - the more we do, the more we think we can and should do.
- Your calendar is a gauge of productivity. It's mostly busywork and filler to give the appearance of being productive.
- Your best work is done at high intensity. It's okay to rest.
So, what's on your agenda today?
Anther. Male wellness where it counts.