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6 Brutal Truths About Productivity No One Wants to Talk About

Getting started is the most difficult

The biggest hurdle is to take that first step. You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can push the reasons aside why you should not start now.

Use what you have right now where you are and just start. Watch the magic of getting things done.

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6 Brutal Truths About Productivity No One Wants to Talk About

6 Brutal Truths About Productivity No One Wants to Talk About

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-brutal-truth-about-productivity-that-no-one-wants-to-talk-about-6e54a4111af

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

Your thoughts don't define you; your actions do

Action gets results. Results are what you want, not just ideas.

Don't spend all your time thinking about everything you can improve. Until you start doing what needs to be done, you're not really making a difference.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.”

Getting started is the most difficult

The biggest hurdle is to take that first step. You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can push the reasons aside why you should not start now.

Use what you have right now where you are and just start. Watch the magic of getting things done.

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi

"Success demands a singleness of purpose."

Do one thing well, not three things poorly

Many people want to do well at work. You may risk and do much but will have nothing to show for it.

You won't be able to do everything this week or this month. That is okay. As long as you are consistent and stick to the process. It's important to take time out and ask how you could have done differently to achieve the same results.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

“If you see distraction externally, you end up creating an internally distracted state.”

Focus on the important few, and ignore the rest

The demand for our time is increasingly more than our capacity. We are currently flooded with information and requests and may feel compelled to meet the expectations.

It is draining us of the energy we need. But being selective and doing less is the path of the productive.

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

The perfect time is now

We will always be able to come up with another excuse why this is not the best time. There is no perfect time. So re-clarify your goals.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What should you do to get there?
  • What are the steps to take?

“Reflect on what you do in a day. You may have never realised how some simple harmless activities rob you of precious time.”

“Reflect on what you do in a day. You may have never realised how some simple harmless activities rob you of precious time.”

Doing nothing

Sometimes you can feel like you're always working against the clock, and rearranging plans and tasks to meet deadlines. When you do take time to relax, you feel guilty.

Taking breaks refreshes your mind and allows you to come back to your task with renewed energy and a sense of purpose.

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The Akrasia Effect
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Akrasia is an emotional management problem keeping us from having a better future. It will make up any story to keep us away from something good. It will always prefer instant gratification, harming us in the long run, rather than doing something valuable that can help us in a positive way.

The side effects of Akrasia are stress, guilt, resentment, and missed opportunities.

Approaching Akrasia With Mindfulness

While the much-hyped motivation and willpower have little effect against Akrasia, mindfulness meditation has the power to refocus your actions, and stop the mindless time-wasting.

Mindfulness acts as a foundation for conquering procrastination. We need to proactively take control of our feelings and act towards our goals, something which is possible only with a mind sharpened with mindfulness.

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Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

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Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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Become more organized
Become more organized

In order to be successful and reach your goals, you need to be organized.

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Practice a lot

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Plan important moments monthly

When preparing your schedule on a monthly basis, make sure to add not only the daily tasks and objectives, but also the big moments.

For instance, integrating your friends' birthdays can prove both useful and time saving for the future.

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The urgency bias
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Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

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Manipulation by passive and covert aggression
Manipulation by passive and covert aggression
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  • They pretend to be innocent, ignorant, or confused when they did something awful. This tactic is to make you question your judgment.
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  • They lie by omission or distortion by deliberately being vague.
  • They may either respond with charm and flattery, of will suddenly be angry.
  • They'll play the victim and make themselves out to be the one in distress.
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  • Know your vulnerabilities and focus on the one thing that really needs to change: yourself. You can only control what you do.
  • Set some boundaries for yourself. Be prepared for the consequences and set a support system.
  • Memorize the list of tactics used by an aggressive person. Then it is easier to recognize the attack.
  • If you're willing to accept an excuse, know that they will fling excuses at you until one stick.
  • Stay calm and polite, and avoid sarcasm, hostility, or threats.
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  • We blur our all boundaries between our work and personal life and every minute of the day is to be kept busy as we rush to attend every meeting, cross out every task from the to-do list or to answer every email that we get.
Completion Bias

Our brain starts to favour small tasks that give a false impression of productivity (woohoo! I just sent out fifty emails!) while we neglect the large, complex but meaningful tasks.

This is known as the completion bias.

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Destination Goals

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Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

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Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

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The “two-minute rule”  has two parts.

First, if something takes less than two minutes, do it now. Next, start building new habits for two minutes at a time. The rule for this is: When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. The idea is to make your habits as easy to start as possible. 

Think of these “two-minute habits” as gateway habits that will lead to your overarching goal.

Complete tasks in batches

It takes time to get into a rhythm to work on a task. Instead of constantly starting and stopping that process, it’s better to keep your rhythm going by bundling similar tasks together.

By doing this, you avoid interruptions and prevents himself from procrastinating.

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