Meaningful Productivity: Achieve More, Stress Less

meaningful productivity

Productivity does not equal busyness. This is the most important realization that I had in my career.

Once I understood the true definition of productivity, I didn’t only accomplish more, I also felt happier.

I must tell you that my happiness, wealth, and health all improved once I focused on one thing: Improving my productivity.

The moment I finally figured out how to achieve a goal in the most effective way (which is what productivity is about), I started making meaningful progress in my life.

And this is what I think is the most important thing in life: Making meaningful progress.

If you work too hard, the man with the hammer will pay you a visit

The people who see busyness as a badge of honor haven’t met the man with the hammer yet.

In the world of endurance sports, there’s a concept called “bonking,” which most of us know as hitting the wall.

In The Netherlands, we call that concept: The man with the hammer. We talk about the moment you hit a wall and run out of energy, and feel like you no longer have legs, we say that the man with the hammer paid us a visit.

He just hammered our legs underneath us.

When it comes to running or other endurance sports, the man with the hammer visits you when your body experiences extreme physical stress. And you literally feel like you can’t take another step forward.

The solution? Carbo-loading before the race and fueling yourself during the race.

Many runners eat a lot of carb-rich food (like pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.) several days before a race. Then they carry extra carbs with them, like energy bars or gels, to consume along the way. This equips their bodies with the fuel they need.

In productivity terms, the man with the hammer arrives when you’re working too hard and inefficiently. Your willpower and motivation run out. And you feel like you can’t do anything else, even if you want to.

That’s a hard place to be. Especially when you actually need to be productive. Like if a deadline is near.

To avoid the man with the hammer, we need “meaningful productivity.”

Forget about being busy—focus on being meaningfully productive

We’re often swamped with tasks which brings us to the brink of burnout. In these moments, the choice may seem limited: Hustle more? Or give up on your ambitions?

There’s also the challenge of maintaining your mental health while getting things done.

Can we stay productive and avoid the man with the hammer?

I believe so. You must forget about traditional productivity and hustle. Instead, focus on meaningful productivity.

Here are 5 brief tips that help you to do that:

  1. Prioritize, Don’t Multi-task: Juggling multiple tasks at once can lead to errors and burnout. Prioritize your tasks and focus on one at a time for better concentration and effectiveness.
  2. Set Realistic Goals: Setting goals that are beyond your reach can lead to frustration. Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish in a set period.
  3. Take Breaks: Regular intervals of rest can actually enhance your productivity levels. They offer your mind a moment to relax and rejuvenate, so when you return to work, you’re more focused and efficient.
  4. Practice Mindfulness: Staying present can help you concentrate on the task instead of fretting about the future or the past.
  5. Use a Productivity System: Establish rules for yourself and adhere to them. A well-structured productivity system helps manage your workload effectively and keep you on track. Whether it’s the Eisenhower Box for task prioritization or the Pomodoro Technique for time management, find a system that works for you and stick to it.

That last tip is the most important one. It’s the reason I’ve been consistently able to achieve results in my career since 2015.

Having a system gives me clarity and guidance. It has helped me to write this newsletter every single week for 8 years. It also helped me to generate 7 figures in revenue from my books and courses. 

Without meaningful productivity, none of that would be possible. The beauty of becoming a productive person is that you will never waste time again. 

Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Lost time is never found.”

Fortunately, that’s a problem you won’t have as a productive person. You get to keep and use your time.

Feels good, right?

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