Do you struggle to finish your tasks? Are you always distracted by notifications, gossiping, or anything that’s random?
In that case, you and I are alike. Because focusing on a single thing is one of the hardest things at work.
There’s always something that interrupts you, right?
- Another person
- A call
- A meeting
- A false emergency
- Your cat
- A stranger’s cat
- News about last night’s NBA game
Sure, you can blame those things — but that’s weak. You and I both know that those things can’t interrupt you without your permission.
What do you do when you feel tired or overwhelmed? Do you power through? Or do you take some time off?
In the past, I thought that you should always power through — no matter what. Now, I still think that way when it comes to life in general. You can’t quit taking care of yourself and your family.
A sense of responsibility is one of the most powerful motivators in life. But I’m not talking about a lack of motivation here.
I’m talking about taking time off work. But there’s still a massive taboo on taking time off. Some people think it’s for losers. Others think it’s about escaping your work.
After all, “If you love your work and life, why do you even need a break?”
The reason I research productivity is simple. I think that a productive life equals a happy life.
Also, if you’re more productive than average people, you’ll advance faster in your career. You learn more. You do more. And eventually are rewarded more.
And when I talk about productivity, I talk about being effective.
Because productivity doesn’t suggest that you get the right things done. It just means you get a lot of stuff done. But that’s not what matters.
Effectiveness, however, refers to getting the right things done.
And if you want to do your job well, earn money, live a meaningful life, or learn skills, that is what matters the most. Otherwise, you just run around in circles. You might appear busy, but you won’t achieve anything meaningful.
In other words: It’s easy to do useless work. Work that doesn’t bring you closer to the outcomes you desire.
Procrastination has been around since the start of modern civilization.
Historical figures like Herodotus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and hundreds of others have talked about how procrastination is the enemy of results.
One of my favorite quotes about procrastination is from Abraham Lincoln:
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
The funny thing about procrastination is that we all know that it’s harmful. Who actually likes to procrastinate? No one enjoys doing that. Me neither.
The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore the basics in your profession. This is true no matter what you do, where you live, or who you are.
When you ignore the foundation of what makes you a good person, athlete, friend, entrepreneur, student, etc., you will never be consistent.
That’s the biggest lessons I’ve learned from studying athletes. People who play professional sports are under constant pressure to perform.
Take Daniel Cormier, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and former Olympic wrestler. The 38-year-old champion has an impressive career until now. He won multiple gold medals as a wrestler. And in MMA, he has won 20 of his 22 fights in total. He’s considered as one of the best.
Do you know that feeling of being in the zone? And that everything goes well?
- You wake up early every day to hit the gym.
- You write 500 words a day.
- You make daily prospecting calls.
- You journal profoundly, and never skip a day.
- You don’t eat junk food.
And consequently, everything is going great in your life. Every productive person has been there. When you do the things you know you should do, you feel in control of your life.
Like Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And you’re showing up.
Ever since I was little, I worried about many things. My favorite topics were money, health, and my future. What’s your favorite topic to worry about?
And don’t tell me you never worry or fear nothing. Because if you have zero fear, that means you’re a robot!
Everyone spends time thinking about things that will never happen. Because that’s what fear is. Michel de Montaigne, the 16th-century philosopher, said it best:
“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.”
We all know that fear is meant to save us from trouble. But in the modern world, that’s simply not true anymore. These days, fear is only something that occupies your mind.
Our thoughts are so cluttered with fear, worry, and stress, that we can’t focus on our goals. In my personal experience, living a full life has nothing to do with the resources or opportunities you have.