productivity is simple

Productivity is simple (but not always easy) [PMP #201]

If you want to be more productive, it’s pretty simple… A lot of books, courses and other resources show you how to build these elaborate systems that help you to be more organised, prioritise your work and plan your time. The reality is, if you want to get more done, it’s quite simple…

To be productive, you need to cultivate discipline and show up to do important work that matters. That’s it.Click To Tweet

Simple yes, but not always easy.

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Now of course the tools, apps and techniques you apply to this principle are important (my entire business is built around this idea). But being disciplined and doing important work is what I’d call the ’80/20 of being productive’. i.e. the 20% of things that result in 80% of the benefit.

You probably already know this, so why am I telling you? Well, let’s unpack this a little…

I often get asked by readers how to deal with procrastination, how to be more motivated and what habits to adopt to be more productive. But they’re looking for answers in the wrong place. They’re looking for an app or system to overcome these challenges. When really, it’s simple! Be more DISCIPLINED. Sure some apps and systems can help. But you need to be looking for tools and techniques that build discipline.

So, with a focus on discipline, what are some tools and apps that can help?

I’ve mentioned many times the benefits of time blocking. By creating a plan around WHEN you’re going to do your work and HOW LONG things should take, you’re more likely to follow through with your work and this builds discipline.

As mentioned above, you need to do important work that matters. To do this, you need to be clear on your goals and the result you’re hoping to achieve. Whether that’s starting or growing your business, finishing your studies or meeting a deadline at work. You need to have the discipline to say ‘No’ to distractions, ideas and projects that don’t align with this goal.

You need to be able to prioritise your time. So even if there are 5 things you can do that all align with your goals, you need to have the discipline to work on the most important thing. That thing that’s going to have the biggest impact and not just the thing that’s the quickest or easiest.

You need to be aware of when you’re wasting time and putting energy into things that don’t matter. i.e. The things we do to trick ourselves to feel productive that don’t matter. Like posting on LinkedIn every day, reading industry news and ‘coffee meetings’.

Equally, you need to have the discipline to know when to stop working so you can rest and reset. Especially now that so many people work from home and don’t have a commute to break up their work and home life. This means not letting work creep into your personal life when you should be relaxing or playing with your kids.

My big takeaway here is this:

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you just need the perfect tool or system to be more productive. It’s simpler than you think (just not always easy). Yes, tools and systems matter. But they need to be applied towards building discipline, so you can do important work that matters.

If you want to learn more, check out my Personal Productivity Toolkit. As you'll see, the tools and systems I use to be more organised are pretty simple. And in the course, I focus on principles (rather than tools) to help you get more done!

Thoughts, feedback, questions? Let me know in the comments below!