Productivity Hacks: Why You Won’t Need Them If You Shift Focus


Below is a transcription of this video.

What keeps us from doing what matters?

Many folks want productivity hacks, how to be more efficient. But when it comes to doing the things that matter we’re often stopped by some form of fear or resistance. And when we’re in that cloud of resistance, it’s easy to focus on the wrong thing. This means we may be busy, but really we’re just wasting time and opportunities to move things forward.

I like to imagine that there’s a question we’re asking as we go through our day. And it’s critical to identify this question.

Often we’re focusing on a question like:

What if I make a mistake?
What if this is the wrong path?
What will others think of me?

These questions are focused on seeking comfort, certainty, safety, or how to make sure we don’t look bad.

But here’s the problem: if we’re going to be effective, if we’re really going to grow then we’re going to get out of our comfort zone. This means we’ll be going into uncertainty. This means we’ll be making mistakes. This means we’ll be experimenting and trying to find things that work.

There’s no growth without risk. There’s no growth without screwing up from time to time. That’s why focusing on the types of questions I mentioned earlier keeps us from being effective. That’s why they keep us in limbo. They’re essentially favoring the illusion of short term comfort over the opportunity to grow.

I said the illusion of short term comfort because focusing on these fear-based questions is what feeds anxiety, or a sense of uncertainty and powerlessness.

So what can we do to become effective and feel more powerful and at ease?

We shift our focus and find the effective question that is specific to the challenge at hand. So depending on the thing you want to grow these questions could be:

What actions can I take to generate more income?
What actions will allow me to spend more time with my kids?
What do I need to do to win this campaign race?

This focus has little to do with our sense of safety and comfort and self-image. This focus is all about doing the specific things necessary to move things forward. And moving things forward is what creates energy, confidence, and enthusiasm. We feel more alive and at ease when we stop waiting for comfort and we engage the process. That’s when things that seemed like a drag become fun.

So let’s put this into practice:

Pick one area of your life — maybe it’s simple like getting into shape. Maybe it’s bigger like writing a book. Whatever it is, figure out the question that will focus your power.

What needs to be done today so that I get in better shape?
What needs to be done today so that I finish my book?

Spend a few minutes everyday focusing on this effective question and execute. You’ll probably notice that fear or uncertainty pops up. “What if this happens? What if that happens?”

It’s okay. It’s part of the process. Make the actions as small as possible and just start doing them. See how this impacts your sense of well-being, confidence, and energy level.

And if it doesn’t work, you can always go back to spinning your wheels.

Now — turn off the screen and get to work. Good luck.