Path to Purposeful Production
I have a confession to make. It’s a little hard for me to type these words, but here goes nothing.
I’m a recovering addict.
A productivity addict, that is. For years I have succumbed to the need to feel productive (whatever that means) in order to feel value and worth. The problem is that my version of productivity was similar to candy. It tasted sweet for a moment but provided little lasting substance.
This was the cycle I lived in for years. I needed check-boxes and artificial milestones to signal that I was making “progress” and that I was reaping the “profit” of my labor.
I’ve been shown a better way.
In order to get meaningful production, results that are filled with purpose, we must look at the whole equation. Our “profits” can be reflected in a variety of areas of our life:
- Professional results
- Personal development
- Emotional peace
- Mental clarity
- Relational connection
The key, I’ve found, to have a more complete view. Here is the general path.
PROCESS →PREPARE →PRODUCE →PROFIT
or if I was to turn it into a formula, it would look like this…
INTERNAL PROCESSING + THOROUGH PREPARATION + FOCUSED PRODUCTION = MEANINGFUL PROFIT
I’ve found that the path to purpose doesn’t start with production.
To start, we must first go inward and use self-reflection and internal examination to look at what we truly desire and begin to craft the ideal outcome. Sometime this is coming to grips with a negative reality, releasing worries and fears, or dreaming about what we want our life to look like. The journey (and battle) always begins on the inside.
“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” -Unknown
So often I miss this step. Sometime I purposefully skip this step. But I’ve learned that thought-out planning and gaining additional perspective on a task or situation can often be the difference between success and failure. Or more often, between “good enough”, which usually means missed opportunities, and “massive win,” which comes from reverse engineering ideal outcomes.
Many of us can get by with “winging it,” but we rarely stop to think about the huge successes we may have forfeited in our leap straight into action and production.
I often fall into the deadly trap of multi-tasking, which I believe is not having multiple things going at once, as some people work best when they have multiple irons in the fire. The trap is the mistake of not giving the task that you are working on your full and dedicated attention. When working towards Goal #1, we often “move the ball down the field” only to have to stop in order to wait on someone or something to come together before you can continue moving towards the end goal.
This is the time to switch to Goal #2. But often we don’t shift our full attention to the new task at hand, but rather allow our focus to be split between thinking about Goal #1, other side goals and projects, and the task in front of you for Goal #2.
Full focus, even for short intervals, beats partial attention over a long period of time.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still profit from your admittedly hard work by skipping the Process and Prepare and heading straight into Producing. But I have found that this shortcut approach robs me of truly learning and developing myself.
Instead, I turn into a robot, designed to produce and often break down, rather than a human being, designed for meaning and growth.
Following the longer path will allow you to discover new things about yourself, build deeper relationships, and find purpose in things that were formerly empty.
So go the long way, and reap the benefits.
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I’d like to elaborate on each piece of this equation in future posts, but please give me your thoughts and feedback so that I can include your wisdom and insight as well. Excited to journey with you!