A short story about productivity and personal growth.
is made up of tasks, habits and people, all of which contribute to our lifestyle. We all have passions, we set goals, sometimes we even do something about actually achieving those goals. We are all makers, believers, creators, doers and we all want to be achievers, even “superheroes”. I am no different. Ever since a kid, playing with Lego, I wanted to create. To often, however, productivity is where we fall short…
My day is currently made up of tasks spanning so many disciplines it’s hard to keep track. I have a business background, passion for technology, and spend my time focused on personal growth. Within a single day I would lead my team, develop business models, code our website, photoshop our marketing materials, do App UI in Sketch, do social marketing campaigns, negotiate with clients… you get the point.
This had been my lifestyle for years now, until I realized I was so caught up in it, it damaged everything else in my life, most notably the people around me, and my health. I always felt rushing — there was never enough time to do everything, yet I had to do it faster, better, now.
My passion to create overwhelmed me and it completely stopped my personal growth. Everything in my life was declining — relationships, finances, health, even my ambition. The truth is, I lacked understanding, discipline and simplicity.
The power of simplicity
Due to my cross-disciplinary lifestyle I had to use tens of productivity tools — todo lists, project management, graphic, video, audio design, prototyping, mind mapping, coding, note-taking, you name it. All of those tools are amazing on their own, but using them combined really blurs the big picture. A day is made up of 24 hours, even if you use a hundred tools.
The biggest turning point was outlining everything important and meaningful in a calendar. Doing so showed me everything I need to do, visually, so I can see the big picture, plan my day and feel a sense a peace, knowing that as long as I follow my schedule there will be time for everything. I believe in the wisdom of Craig Jarrow (@TMNinja) of Time Management Ninja. This kind of simplicity helped me make sense of my day.
The power of insight and understanding
I cannot stress the importance of energy, prioritization and balance enough.
For prioritization, I use 2 of the most basic techniques — the infamous Priority Matrix consisting of importance and urgency, and the Pareto principle of 80:20. Understanding prioritization helps you declutter and focus only on the valuable tasks. Now you can do the 20% of your todo-list that would actually make a difference. You can learn more about it from Tim Ferriss (@tferriss), and his book — 4-Hour Workweek.
Energy helps you understand when you are most effective during the day and the week. Scheduling the appropriate tasks for the appropriate energy levels is huge for productivity — there is no point of doing creative work Friday afternoon, just as there is no benefit of doing important work late in the day.
Balance is about learning to be happy and achieving at the same time. It’s about work-life balance. It’s about mental and physical energy. It’s about being in a flow, that lets you live the way that you want — healthy, happy and prosperous at the same time.
Those are things you need to ask yourself, to get the right answers.
The power of a meaningful daily plan
The final step is planning. Stever Robbins (@GetItDoneGuy) often empathizes the importance of focus — doing one thing at a time, and setting specific time for it. Having the tools to simplify and visualize our day, and the understanding of how we should spend our time, we can start our day with clarity, purpose and passion. I created a template of daily habits, in my calendar, including 3 meals, 15 minute workout, 15 minute meditation, 30 minutes for reading, 1 hour for learning a skill, all scheduled based on my energy levels and daily routine. In the slots between them I schedule the (20%) most important tasks for the day. My daily schedule keeps me in both a healthy balance, and a productive flow. The results have gone a long way.
As of adopting those techniques, I am now living a healthy lifestyle, have sufficient time for relationships and hobbies, and do only the most important work (80:20 rule), while outsourcing or dumping the rest. I have never felt better, and I have never growth faster.
If you are facing similar growth-limiting lifestyles or are simply interested to learn more, sign up on our website — www.trevorai.com
I’d love to hear your stories and your techniques.
May you find your next big powerful insight
- George P.