Some productivity principles are worth being reminded of from time to time. Here are a few that I think are important.
A good time to remember some key productivity principles
I had a birthday recently, and I'm also wrapping up the fifth year of The Productive Woman podcast. These kinds of milestones have me pondering where to go next, which leads me to thinking about where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, and what I think is important in the area of productivity and making a life that matters.
I thought I’d share with you some of the productivity principles I think are most important to keep top of mind. Most of these I’ve talked about before in past episodes, but they are worth reiterating and reminding us all as we work on our individual journeys toward making a life that matters.
1. In order to get anywhere, you need to have a destination in mind
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you possibly get there?
Similarly, in order to accomplish anything, you have to have an outcome in mind.
For me, it starts with thinking about who I want to be. This is more important than what I want to do because it goes to what I value and what legacy I want to leave behind.
What I do should reflect the kind of person I want to be. The goals I focus on, and the actions I take to achieve them, should grow out of the kind of person I want to be. If they don’t, I’m living a dis-integrated life, and it will be hard to find satisfaction.
2. Our calendar and checkbook tell the truth about what we value
Where we spend our time and money says a lot about what’s most important to us, because we always make time for what really matters. This ties back to last week’s discussion about why we do what we do. If the way we’re spending our time and money doesn’t reflect our values and priorities, we need to think about why that is.
What value are we getting out of what we’re doing and buying?
When we act in ways that are not consistent with our values, what are we actually getting out of it? Is it security? Is it buffering? Do we want to address it in another way to make sure our calendars and checkbooks line up more with our truest values?
3. What you do matters, but you are not what you do.
Your value as a person is not in what you do, not in what you produce. It's not in the results you come up with. Here in the US, people often judge each other based on what we do. Often one of the first things people ask each other when they first meet is "What do you do?" We define ourselves based on our jobs. And if we are not successful or are not producing the kinds of results other people think we should or we think we should (or we think other people think we should), we tend to believe that reflects on who we are as a person and the value that we're contributing.
That is NOT true.
You are valuable and worthy as a person regardless of what you do or don't do. That’s why failure isn’t fatal. It doesn’t define us or our worth, so we can try without fear of failure as long as we don’t make it mean something about who we are as a person.
What you do matters. Setting goals, taking actions to achieve them, doing our best work, putting ourselves out there.. all these things matter. But there is more to who you are than the work you do and the results you put out.
“I have no interest in turning myself into a hyper-efficient automaton of productivity. I aspire to work hard, create wonderful things, and cultivate deep and meaningful relationships, which are the core of a happy life experience. My work is a big part of who I am, but it is not everything.”
Rick Smith, from “My Morning Routine