How to Increase Your Productivity
The biggest barrier to productivity is not a lack of time like most think. When you dig deep down to the core of the problem, a lack of productivity comes from a lack of integrity. Most people will say one thing and then do another. People who do this are not in integrity. This creates more work and leads to a lack of productivity.
As integrity decreases so does productivity.
Here’s one way to look at it. Let’s say I ask you out to dinner. I phone you up and say, “Hey, would you be interested in going out to dinner with me this Friday?” and you say, “Sure, I’ll meet at 7:00 pm.” At this point I’ve committed my time to go to dinner with you. I’ve given you my word.
Friday comes along and it’s getting close to 7:00 pm, no Steve. Now it’s past 7:00pm. Still no Steve! It’s 8:00 pm, you’re at the restaurant and you get a call from me. “Hey, I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to make it tonight. I hope you understand. Do you want to reschedule for next Friday?” You give it some thought and then accept.
The following Friday comes along and I miss dinner again! This time you’re really pissed. I call you to reschedule for a third time. “Hey, sorry about that. Did you want to meet me next Friday?”
Big Question: Do you trust me to show up next time?
I’m going to guess that chances are pretty slim. You’ve had enough at this point. You don’t believe I’ll show up because you don’t believe what I say. The reason you don’t believe what I say is because you don’t trust me. Most people will cut me some slack for missing dinner the first time, but after the second time you probably think I’m full of it. You really can’t take me for my word.
Not a big deal right? WRONG. It is a big deal. If you don’t trust me, then who else doesn’t trust me? ME. If I can’t keep my word with you then I more than likely can’t keep my word to myself. That’s right. If you don’t trust me then I don’t trust ME either. It works both ways. This is a problem.
A lack of trust leads to low self confidence. Your view of yourself diminishes greatly when you can’t trust yourself. If you have a low opinion of your self, how productive do you think you’ll be?
What Not To Do
This is a big one. Never commit to do something that you know you won’t do. This is a productivity killer. Stop yourself from committing to things that you aren’t going to do. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to do it, tell them that. Save yourself the trouble and only commit to actions that will move you toward the bigger you.
This has been a real problem for me in the past. I used to over commit myself all the time. I had trouble saying no. I wanted to look good and impress others. This didn’t work because my decisions came from looking good. The reason I was trying to impress was so that I could feel good about myself and boost my confidence. This doesn’t work.
It’s like covering up a piece of crap by putting ice cream on it. The piece of crap is still sitting under the ice cream. You can’t get rid of crap by putting ice cream over it. You get rid of the crap by being your word and following through on your commitments because you said you would.
You may start by telling someone you’re going to go to the gym this week three times. The week goes by and you manage to hit the gym three times. You said you would go to the gym three times and you did. You start to feel good about yourself. You start to build your confidence. You start thinking about something bigger, something a little more risky.
This time you commit to earning $500 by the end of the month. The month goes by and you are $500 richer. You say to yourself, “Wow, this is really working. I said something and it happened.” This elevates your confidence even more. You begin to trust yourself. You declare a commitment and it happens.
If you’re going to be productive then you will need to trust yourself. You build trust when you start being your word. Do what you said you would do. Not only does this mean following through on what you declare to others, it also means following through on what you declare to yourself.
If there is no integrity then you’re wasting your efforts. It takes a whole lot more energy and corrective actions to get results when you’re out of integrity. Save yourself the time and energy by completing the things you SAID you would do - the things you said to others and yourself. One way to gauge your integrity is with this productivity test.
The test is simple:
1) Write out your commitments for the day. Tell two people what you will do.
2) At the end of the day, check your list of commitments and see how many you’ve completed.
Most people will never completely follow through on all of their daily commitments whether they’re written or verbal. Some people will get distracted and not do what’s most important to them. This behavior is the quickest way to decrease your productivity.
On the other hand, you may be one of the very few people who complete all their daily commitments. This is a sign that you’re owning your word - you’re in integrity. You may want to look at bigger commitments that will take you out of your comfort zone and get you where you want to be.
Get Back Into Integrity
The best way that I know to get back into integrity is to follow through with your completions. Start small and build. Start by choosing small commitments that you know you can complete and do them. Each day begin to increase the size and number of your commitments. As you start to complete the items on your list you’ll feel your confidence building. Increased self confidence will help you to re-establish trust with yourself. Once you trust yourself, you’ll be able to get more done and increase your productivity.