The Produce that’s actually Productive : A startup is a personal journey.
I have gone through, in the past couple of weeks, series of claims —starting from how lemon juice with warm water on an empty stomach has a connection to your healthy and satisfying future; How wasting eighteen hours a day is a folly you must avoid; How starting online shopping to avoid the time you spend on groceries and accessories is a great idea; How cooking in bulk so you can eat the same food for a long time is smart; How following the two minute rule is the key to get things done; — — From that stuff I have gone on to read articles by influential people giving really empowering advice about how productivity can be achieved only, once and for all, through hard work, perseverance and skill.
And to be honest, I like a little bit of each. It may sound paradoxical, but I am not in the business of denying something that I have actually seen people be happy with. Some things work for some people, but don’t for other people. You might want to go into polyphasic sleep routines, but I swear to god I don’t.
My point, ridic and simple, is that when we talk about productivity, or success, we have some goals in mind. We have a series of long term and short term accomplishments in mind to fulfill for which we are eager to read these success manuals. And productivity is not the goal here; production is.
So what produce are we actually talking of here?
So something I guess I think I understand, is that when we talk of increasing productivity, we have short term achievements in our minds. We are thinking of our emails, meetings, creative work, organization etc etc. But when we are talking about achieving success, we are thinking about our dream home, worldwide fame, destination weddings — you know, stuff like that. No matter what our priorities are, our vision of success includes those. Success is a personal journey towards satisfaction and joy.
So will increasing productivity necessarily make us successful? To some extant, it definitely will, but for the rest, well you know.
Productivity in itself is a very fine idea; and so is its cultivation. For me, who has suffered with probably the most bizarre symptoms of procrastination, I can wager all that stuff they say is not bullshit. But those things are there to provide for a better livelihood. They are ideas — not laws or rules or methods of any kind — that have been developed to make our lives better. But they, all on their own, are not sufficient to guarantee success. They can only guarantee production. So when I thought about this I also simultaneously wondered what kind of idea could actually bring on some difference all on its own. Needless to say, I found nothing of that sort.Maybe something perfect, can’t exist. ( At least logically, it cannot.) But what I did find, instead, is this.
Many people spend time — long time, everyday time — in using their zealous hours creating production ( content, products, services,) and then promoting them. But only some people actually spend their productive hours on themselves.Very few businessmen, entrepreneurs or “ hustlers” as we affectionately call them, would think spending productive time on yourself is actually productive at all.
Now before you dismiss me as some wierdo with eccentric ideas, give me a shot.
We all know what sells best; an image. Your products could be crap ,but if the image of your brand is something of a pride, it instills a sense of trust amongst consumers that can feed the companies’ success for generations to come.
But that is only one side of the story. I don’t mean you need to be investing on yourself from the perspective of person or business alone. I mean investing on yourself from the perspective of a service, because that is what you are. Even if you are not at it as an individual, even if you are running a company, even then, you are the pinnacle, the head, the fate of the institution.
Let me elaborate.
Is it really important?
The whole fuss and issue of what I am trying to put through in this article is that while you hustle for the success of your organization, dedicate a part of it in creating yourself uniquely skilled and adept to understand your institution and your field to its core. A part of your productivity, your time, must be dedicated at cultivating your level of intimation with your subject of interaction.
Because most of the foundations of our production, our creation, come from the time period during which we are not engaged in the act of producing.
Visualizing something merely as work makes it mere work. Production does not start from creating content or services, it starts from creating an image. A story.
Am I the only one who always finds successful people very charismatic and so very sociable? You too, yeah? Often. And because of this difference, some people — okay, many, many people — seem to believe that they simply have a different knack of doing things.
They don’t. I mean yes they do, but that knack is not a birth talent; it is something they cultivated slowly and steadily. When we people think of an image, we think of the outer side, the part of ourselves that we will be showing to the world. But the most successful of entrepreneurs don’t practice self-deceiving when it comes to this. Their image is not on the outside at all; their image is somewhere in the constant effort they put in acquiring knowledge and developing critical and emotional thinking.
People who make it to the top have the ability of thinking of themselves as connected twenty-four-by-seven to their business or institution; they have realized that everything they do is directly and positively related to the growth of their careers and other’s careers that they influence.
The takeaway here? Not only in the writing of emails or the efficiency of the management;successful entrepreneurs put as much — and sometimes more — effort in the buildup of their emotional quotient or in working their methods of critical thought. They grow their individuality inside and out.
My point here can be summed up correctly and creatively by quoting Warren buffet very famous words in which he said — “The best investment that you can make, is an investment in yourself … the more you learn, the more you earn.”
How to fit this into the routine?
By cutting a few things out.
This is not even a joke. While trying too hard to meet deadlines and please clients it is not rare to loose a part of yourself that you would have, in your sane mind, retained. Waking up every morning at five and jumping straight into your tight schedule can become a little hazy after a period of time. And specially if you have advice like this floating around.
( Prologue — as I said in the beginning of this article, I agree these things work for a few people, but I — and the doctors — would honestly be happier if you don't take these ones below too seriously.)
a) “Successful people don’t go clubbing.” They work.
Honestly, one phrase of warning from me, don’t do that. If you have problem with clubbing or anything, I am all on your side, but if you actually enjoy spending time with friends, you don’t have to cut it down. If you enjoy your work so much that you don’t want to leave it — if that is the one thing you need in your life — its okay, but if your goals include having a nice family, a positive set of friends, then don’t rear a stereotype that tells you partying is for losers. Or that working 24 hours is the key to success. Find a balance and stick to it. The aim is to create passive income. Not to cut out people from your life that actually care about you and were there when you needed them. And actually, you should always be doing one relaxing and refreshing thing each day anyway.
b) “ Tell it better than others are telling it.”
Again, this makes you a better marketer, but not a cleverer person. The dream was to bring your unique skills, thinking and values to business. That was what was supposed to set you apart from others. So instead competing in the rat race, find out a problem that no one is tackling and then tell the solution to that problem better than any one else.
d) Try to do shopping, banking, bill paying, gifting and wishing someone on her birthday ( Because apparently that is how things work) online.
*Laugh* Surely this is going too far now. If we don't actually have a hatred for these above mentioned activities, why should we cut down on it? To get time? Such time is of no use — if it cuts us from the normal pleasures of life.
Productivity is not that hard. Illusion is. Productivity is a self-discovery process. You develop your own hacks. Even the good, healthy stuff — meditation, lemon water, turning off notifications — even they are sure to annoy some people.
Productivity does not involve forcing something onto yourself if that feels wrong. We talked a few moments ago about spending time on the improvement of your own self. All these horrendous tips are way too stressful to make work easier in the long run. They may give you more time to organize content or supervise your team — no one is denying that — but it will leave you feeling hazed and incompetent. Time management is not about cutting short on free time or self-pampering. It means not indulging in worthless production or worthless information.
Most of the productivity tips that I did go through listed book reading or listening to podcasts as ways to access self-development. I know many people who read excellent books but when I talk to them they have nothing going on. Self development and learning is not about information — Jesus, I have said this ever so many times — It is about awareness and attitude. Remember that crappy professor during freshman year who could solve abstract algebra in seconds? That’s exactly what I am talking about. You could be a great problem solver, or a person with great knowledge, but that does not mean the people will identify with your idea; or that your product will necessarily be any good to them. To understand anyone you need to observe, be receptive to what you see, and mostly, think. Think from different perspectives. A real entrepreneur is a maker, a realizer of dreams; knowing what exactly mankind needs ( Not necessarily a spaceship, even anything small does well enough as long as it is well thought out.). It does not mean you might cut short on reading — definitely not — but what really counts is how you operate that information in your mind. And I have seen this — that this is a skill that is hard to learn; it can be learnt only through trial and error.
Everything that will be created now, in your team, in your company, in your community, in your country, will be your work. A team’s work, of which you are an indispensable part. Give up your personal time only when you can afford it. Don’t lose your identity. Don’t lose what you like. Traveling, cooking, eating, starting a family, — if any of these or more are there on your “ Lifetime goals” list, fit them onto your present schedule wherever appropriate. Don’t neglect them. They are an essential part of your career. Produce and constantly implement the best and only version of yourself that you want to see, and don’t keep that for later.