Getting a productivity boost!

Last weekend I was on a seminar with Raymond Aaron, the top 10# New York Time bestselling author and branding expert. It was very good seminar and I learn a lot. It is very interesting how a different way of presenting known problem can make it clearer and more obvious.

The subject was productivity. Raymond asked 2 excellent questions:

  1. What really matter to me?
  2. What can I control?

When I started to write the answer to the first question I found out that what really matters to me are people and the environment. The list looked like: me, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my employees, my customers and the World…

The answer to the second question was easier. I know that the only things I can control are my thoughts, my attitude and my actions…

What Raymond said after was quite powerful. He said that things that don’t matter and things that I can’t control are always pushing away things that do matter and things that I can control. However, the real productivity and progress is when the major time is being spend on things that do matter to me and that I can control.

Yes, I knew it before, but I knew it from a different angle. My view was based on Jim Rohn words: “do not spend major time on minor issues”. It is almost the same, but 2 excellent questions asked by Raymond have given me clarity to the words I knew for a long time.

Let’s see how does it work in a real world :)…

I wrote that what matters to me is “me”. Not because I want to be the center of the Universe… I do believe that I can only give and share what I possess, what I own. So, to be able to give the best and the most of me to the people and causes that matter to me I need to discover my own capabilities, I need to understand my strength, my weaknesses and I need to create a plan to improve myself to reach the potentials that have been given to me.

How can I do it? By allocating sufficient time to the thinking and analyzing process, by allocating sufficient time to self-discovery and self-awareness. This only can be done when my attitude towards “me” will be right. I need to have the right attitude towards my past, my present and my future. Only then I will be able to follow my plan of action that should make me better. Only then I will have mental power to face an unavoidable opposition and confront the reality when my results will not be as good as expected…

But I am not living in a vacuum.  I am a husband, father, grandfather, leader and partner. I am functioning within the existing environment. Therefore, I need to allocate also sufficient time to other people and causes that matter to me… It is quite a long list, so working only on people and causes that matter to me and on what I can control will need all my energy and quite tough prioritizing.

Now, the reality kicks in…  Someone should do shopping, prepare food, clean the house, there are new challenges at work etc., etc., etc. … You know the feeling, like everybody wants something from you…

I think this is precisely the moment when things start to go wrong. The daily “need” and “should” of all the things and all the people who do not matter to me and that I can’t control are slowly pushing me to spend my energy and time on them instead of things that do matter. Things that I cannot control are getting my attention and are influencing my attitude. Minute by minute I am losing my precious time instead of investing it in things that matter… I start to be tired, and I am even more prompt to give in to the daily flood of unimportant and uncontrollable activities. At the end of the day I find myself sitting in the front of TV watching negative news or program that doesn’t bring much value to things that matter, rationalizing myself that I must also have a moment of rest…

But it doesn’t have to be like that. I have been given a capability to make decisions, to make choices. Instead of doing all the things that call for my attention, I can consciously choose what I will do and, even more important, what I won’t do. The moment I will make this decision, the moment I will make this choice my productivity will get a boost and I will be on the way to “my better self”. This way I can give better and more of me to all the people and all the causes that matter to me!

Dear Raymond Aaron, thank you for this valuable lesson!