The Productivity Trap

By Garrett Takach | Greater Fulfillment

Feeling Like There's not Enough Time in the Day? Here's Why:

The problem is that if we aren’t making enough money in our entrepreneurial endeavor, we look for something else we can do to make money while still being able to do what we are passionate about.

Then all of a sudden you find yourself involved in several different companies and projects and you struggle to remember your title which stretches across an entire page. You find yourself struggling to think straight, let alone actually do anything productive for any of those projects.

This trap of doing more to produce more is deadly.

Here are 3 simple steps you can do to turn that chaos into productivity and get your life back.

Plus, receive a FREE resource at the end of this blog that will help you succeed in what you love and gain time freedom.  

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1. Simplify

You can’t get it all done. Pick the few things that you are passionate about and really good at and focus on those. 

If you try to be good at everything, you will end up mediocre at all of it, thus producing mediocre results in everything.  

Tony Hawk is a world-class skateboarder, but if you give him a bike, he’s mediocre. 

I learned a great productivity lesson from my grandmother by watching her work meticulously in her garden. 

It’s easy to grow weeds. You don’t have to do anything at all. They will grow through a crack in the sidewalk. But if you want to grow roses, you have to work hard to make sure the bush is getting the resources it needs to produce big blooms.

The most important thing to do to produce big blooms, is to prune the bush. Just like people, the bush will try to produce more buds than it can sustain. The fact is, there’s simply not enough resources in the person or in the bush to sustain all the buds it is trying to bloom.

Sadly, without the proper discipline and care, most people, and rose bushes, have a lot of buds with great potential, but no bud got enough resources to produce the bloom it was capable of. 

That is why my grandmother would slave over the rose bushes to prune them and make sure they are getting the resources they need. Needless to say, her garden produced beautiful full blooms. 

If you want to produce big blooms, you have to prune your calendar. If you are spread too thin, you can’t give any task the attention, time, and energy it needs to produce big results.

Actions Summary:

  • Figure out what you love, what you are good at, and what has potential to produce big results. Then give those 1 or 2 things the resources (time, energy, and attention) they need to produce big results. 
  • Read to the end of the blog for a FREE resource that will guide you in doing this.

2. Prioritize

The truth is that we all have the same amount of time in a day. Some people raise their families, strengthen their relationships, keep themselves healthy, and produce big results in what they are passionate about. Others, well…don’t.  

The problem is not a lack of time, the problem is a lack of discipline and prioritization. 

If you don’t have the discipline to go into your day with the important tasks scheduled into your calendar, you will end up reacting to whatever the day throws at you. There are two things wrong with this: 

  1. If you spend your time reacting, you are spending your time and energy in trivial things. You will not produce big results by reacting. You need to create. 
  2. Reacting is exhausting and soul crushing! Doing things on other people’s agenda is stressful and draining. Not to mention you are doing all of it while subconsciously thinking about what you know you really should be doing. Which means you are doing everything at half of your potential.

Rita Mae Brown said it best when she said, “A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.” 

Taking a call right when someone calls you, answering an email right when it comes in, allowing yourself to be distracting from important work just because your phone is notifying you about your friend’s social media post is madness. 

Here’s what I recommend doing instead: 

Schedule two times in the day where you will handle communication such as phone calls, emails, and social media. That way you are communicating with people quickly, but you are not allowing them to interrupt you while you are producing results in your Most Important Tasks. (MITs) 

If someone calls during a time you are scheduled to be working on a MIT, let them leave a message. When it comes time for you to handle your communication, listen to the message and decide if it is important enough to get on your calendar. If so, schedule a time that works for both of you and when the time for that conversation comes, give it all of your attention. 

This is far more productive than being interrupted while working on a MIT and giving them half of your attention.  

Maybe you listen to the voicemail and it is a person who wants to sell you something or talk to you about an opportunity that is not in alignment to your big goals. In this case you would politely decline, not give them any space on your calendar, and continue to fill your calendar with MITs that move the needle toward achieving your big goals and producing big results.  

Actions Summary:

  • Schedule your MITs into your day and guard this time. 

3. Finish What You Start

The hardest part of doing anything is getting started. It takes more than half the fuel for the entire trip to the moon and back to move the rocket an inch off the ground. The worst fuel economy you get in your car is when you are stopping and starting. Well, people work the same way. 

With the pattern of starting, getting distracted, and having to restart, it’s no wonder people are exhausted and frustrated at the end of every day.  

You have to guard your time. Especially the time you set aside to give your MITs the time, energy, and attention they need to produce big results. 

You don’t let people steal your money or your things, but you are letting people steal your time. Meaning you are allowing people to interrupt you and forcing you to once again break inertia on that MIT. You only have so much fuel each day, thus you can only start so many times. You have to guard your time carefully so you can break inertia, get into momentum and finish the task. 

Your MITs can’t produce big blooms if they are left unfinished. 

If you work in a distracting environment such as a loud office or at home while taking care of young children, then it is all the more important that you sharpen your distraction defense skills. The circumstance is not the issue. It is how you respond to the circumstance that will make up your results. 

If you are working from home with young children, you will have to master the skill of focus so you can produce big results in 30 minutes during nap time. 

If you are working in a loud, open office with a lot of people, you will have to master the skill of preventing distractions such as engaging in office gossip, water cooler chit chat, and the “hey, do you have a minute?” questions that come about randomly throughout the day. This won’t make you the most popular person in the office, but others can squander their time if they want to. You have work to do and results to produce for yourself and everyone who counts on you.  

In short, doing more will produce more, if you are trying to produce more stress, headaches, hair ripping out episodes, and sleepless nights.

Seriously though, adding more to your schedule does not produce more of the results you want. In fact, it spreads you so thin that you become like a rose bush with a lot of buds and no blooms. 

We have to prune our lives, prioritize our tasks, and finish those tasks despite the distractions to produce big results. If we try to get everything done, we’ll do it all with mediocrity and produce little or no results.

Actions Summary:

  • Before you start an MIT, eliminate all distractions. Prepare your environment to be a distraction free space of focus and creativity. 

Blog Summary:

  • Adding more to your schedule does not produce more results. 
  • Focus on the few vital tasks that will lead to "big blooms."
  • Don't react, create. Always schedule your most important tasks into your day and guard that time. 
  • Avoid exhaustion and burnout by learning to eliminate distractions and finish what you start. 

Need help pruning your life and understanding what your MITs are? I have the perfect resource for you!

And, it's FREE!

It's called The Dreams to Success Guide and it's a PDF of an application from George's book The Next Level Entrepreneur. 

This resource takes less than an hour to complete.

It will orient you to your dreams and passions so that you can gain understanding in how to produce the results you want by doing what you love. 

I understand that for those of you living overwhelming and chaotic lives, spending even an hour to help the situation seems impossible. But when your house is flooding, you have to first turn off the water, then start mopping. 

Taking some time with this resource to remember your passions and get back on track, is the equivalent of turning off the water to deal with the mess.

This may seem obvious, but most of us live life just trying to manage the mess by mopping as fast as we can while more and more water is pouring out of the faucet. 

If you don’t want to keep trying to manage a life that demands more resources than you have to give, then click the button below to learn more and download this FREE resource.

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