The “Why”

I’ve written my share of “how to” posts, and I really enjoy sharing how I do certain things to keep me as productive as possible. Whether that’s through the use of an app or technology or through the use of mindful practices, I’m really into exploring how to make my workflow better. Longtime readers of my work will notice that my workflow has evolved over time, which means the “how” aspects have as well. New apps come along, new use cases arrive, and technology changes warrant the evolution of how I work.

But the “how” is always secondary to to the “why.”

Sure, the “how to” post is always going to be more popular in terms of page views because not everyone is going to be looking for “why” they are doing something. They just want to know how to implement their own “why” better. There is a lot of time spent dwelling in the “how to” realm because it actually can be a lot easier to explore “how” you want to do things than “why” you want to do things. The answers aren’t always as clear when you ask about the “why” behind your work because there’s a subjectivity to it that the “how” just doesn’t have at a similar level.

One of the ways you can stall your productivity is spending too much time in “how” and not enough time in “why” — because while the “how” can be a time-suck if you dwell in it too long, it can be even more of a waste of time you don’t have an idea of why you’re there in the first place. (Or, worse, if you’re not honest about the “why” — which is a much deeper concern.)

This week steer clear of how you want to do things better and ask yourself why you want to do things better. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing as opposed to how you’re doing what you’re doing.

It’s time to really look at the “why” so that you can make the most of the “how” going forward.

A variation of this piece was originally published at Productivityist.com on April 13, 2014.