What comes to your mind when you hear the. word ” Productivity”?. To do lists, tasks, on time projects, accomplishments, time management, etc…what comes to your mind?. There are thousands of the books, tools, frameworks and philosophies on this topic. Most of them deal with task efficiencies, time management, planners and prioritisation. While these are important these are only at surface level touching only 10% of the depth. How does it really matter how many tasks did you complete?
Lets shift the gears now… What if you are super efficient at task completion but suffering with low esteem? How much productive do you feel internally? What if you have achieved super success but every minute you are insecure insider? And lets say you are living your life for other sake (for parents, society, xyz), how do you measure your life productivity?. Or lets say you are super efficient (mostly not possible) at your job but your passion lies some where else. Then how do you measure your productivity?
Sum of all our life activities should contribute to your life overall happiness. How much of your activities contribute to your life productivity? Shift the focus from tasks, plans and priorities to life productivity/happiness then you will the get real idea about what is important and what is not important.
The real productivity blockers and boosters are far different from what we have been told and taught so far. When we see things from new percpective you get different insight. You can look life from new dimension.
BLOCKERS AND BOOSTERS
There are certain things which will make you move forward in your life and which will give you long term happiness and fulfilment, etc..What are these things? We will see what these are. These are called “Boosters”. At the same time there are many things which will drag you down in your life (real productivity killers), what I call these as ” Blockers”. What kind of Booster and Blockers come to your mind? These are definitely NOT the superficial things. These are inside out items mostly.
For most people these are unknown for most of of their life. Lets look at what could be some possible blockers first? Listing down few..
- Disempowering Beliefs (Beliefs which are not helping you in your life)
- Low Self-esteem or Low Self Confidence, etc
- All Negative Emotions (Fears, etc)
- Negative Value System (too much Ego)
- Wrong Goals (ego driven, revenge driven, insecurity driven, etc)
- Your own biology (yes, this can be a blocker)
- Any kinds of pattern and behaviours (negative)
- All kinds of addictions
- Having a mission or passion for life
- Very strong empowering beliefs
- Good Value system
- Living beyond yourself
- Awakening (this is not a light coming on your head but basically means you know what is useful and what is junk)
These are just to give you an idea on what will possibly and REALLY can give you productivity vs what will drag you down. We will go little deep into these boosters and blockers in the coming days.
Serious request to YOU – What has been your boosters and what has been your blockers?. Now think about your traditional productivity stuff in relation to these. I hope you understand where we need to focus when we really want to achieve REAL PRODUCTIVITY in LIFE.
BLOCKER – DIS EMPOWERING BELIEFS
Lets start with some of the BLOCKERS of Life Productivity.
BELIEFS are the foundational building blocks of human life. They will give you the meaning of the life, what is good vs what bad, etc. Your life happiness is direct correlation to how close you are living to your own beliefs/value system. You first need to understand how beliefs get formed. I have already written about this topic under “Building Blocks of Human Psychology” . Read this blog => Beliefs Formation .
How beliefs can impact Life Productivity? Actually wrong beliefs can completely damage ones life. Beliefs are of two categories – empowering beliefs and other is dis empowering beliefs. Empowering beliefs are the ones which will take you closure to your goals and bring happiness. Dis empowering beliefs will drag you down. But most interesting thing is you may not know what beliefs are empowering and which ones are dragging you down. In fact, you will believe both types of beliefs are helping until you really introspect them.
Lets look some of the examples of dis empowering beliefs (you may still believe in beliefs and continue …it is a personal choice)
- Life is DIFFICULT
- I am NOT good enough
- I need to do better than OTHER people
- I SHOULD NEVER fail
- MOST people are BAD
- I am SUPERIOR to other people
- Things should go in ORDER
- Living in India is difficult
- etc etc
Imagine how your life productivity will go down if you carry these kind of beliefs. Will they help you?. Compare the usual productivity we talk about Vs this life productivity . Un comparable right?.
Now the question is how you can remove these BLOCKERS?. Read my earlier blog on => Beliefs Transformation.
Write down your BELIEF BLOCKERS and eliminate them. You can see 10X productivity (Life) gain. Test it out !!
BLOCKER – NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
The second biggest BLOCKER in life is Negative Emotions. Negative emotions would be mostly the result of combination of dis empowering beliefs, genetics and biology. Read the previous blogs on origin of Emotions and Understanding Emotions .
Do you know the biggest problem people face all over the world?. In fact this problem more so for highly successful people. It is the most hidden problem. “I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH” – this is the biggest the problem people deal internally in different forms. The right psychology term for this is “LOW- SELF ESTEEM”. You must read and understand about this if you are not familiar with about this => Self Esteem.
We often hear famous celebrities and many other “successful people” killing themselves (suicide) after all the success. Why? Here is an interesting logic for you to think. If we ask generally anyone “what is the most fearful thing”?. We mostly get an answer saying “death”. But if the death is the most scary thing then why would some one kill himself/herself?. Because there is some thing more scarier than the death. That’s why death (less painful) was chosen than facing the actual pain. If we go to root of any intense emotional pain you will stop at “I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH” or “PEOPLE WILL REJECT ME or DON’T LOVE ME” or “WHAT SOCIETY WILL THINK”. All these are same.
Anyway, this blog is not about suicides. But it is about the most painful and LIFE PRODUCTIVITY BLOCKER. Just imagine some one becoming super productive at his/her career or business but towards end of the life thinking miserable will be -1000% LIFE PRODUCTIVITY !!.
BLOCKER – ACHIEVING WRONG GOALS
How did you set most of your goals?. You are the most lucky person if you have chosen your goals and decisions based on your own will. I think many people (not all) set important goals and take decisions based on – parents influence, social expectations or most often you want to be better than some one else or you want to “prove” the world that you are good enough.
How will we know which ones are wrong goals?. Very simple answer – Any thing you regret later. Can you think of such examples in your life? Did you chose one career accidentally due to different factors like money, fame or just because everybody has taken that career path, etc and then change to some thing which you are passionate about?. Did you change to new company for salary hike then later you realised that hike did not make any difference in your life or at least you felt previous company is better than this new one? How about you have invested in some asset class because everybody rushed like mad to capture the “opportunity”. Did you try to prove that you are capable of some thing and later realised that tempoary ego satisfaction is not worth the effort? In fact you would have got tired proving all the time and one day you would have said enough !!. I am sure you are familiar about people who achieve all the money and fame and still feel miserable.
The list can be endless. Point is achieving some of these wrong goals can yield any where between 1 year to 30 years or more productivity loss. So it lot more worth to understand about if we are after right goals or not. This is 1000 times important than how you order your to do lists and doing them efficiently. This would be like “Operation Successful but Patient died”.
Past is past. At least from now on we must go after right goals (independent and conscious decisions based on wisdom).
BLOCKER – PATTERNS & BEHAVIOURS
While dis empowering beliefs, negative emotions and wrong goals can drag the life productivity significantly, our patterns and behaviours can be more damaging. Most often we would not be self aware about our patterns.
What are patterns? How we get those patterns?. Patterns are simply automatic behaviours. Like the we brush, drive, etc most of these patterns happens very automatically. Most deep rooted patterns are adopted from the childhood through parents and environment. I am sure you heard statements like ” he behaves exactly like his father” or “she is print like her aunt” , etc. These patterns might have some genetic linkage but most dominant factor would be copying the behaviours – patterns. Lets say if your father used to get angry when some worker is not performing his work, you would have watched this and copied this as is unconsciously. After you grow up you will almost behave in the similar way. We would have adopted many such bad and as well good patterns without any careful selection process. And this is not possible when we were child. And we continue to think these are correct patterns and worst thing is we might strongly believe that these are very correct. Anyway this is a deep subject.
The point is you need to identify all such unconscious patterns and examine them and eliminate the bad ones. You will have patterns in all aspects of life – starting from your diet, finances, business, career and social interactions. Just take one most critical area for you now and list down all patterns and introspect them.
This is worth doing it. It is like virus clean up exercise. If you seriously spend some time then you will find some of the biggest BLOCKERS of your life.
BLOCKER – INEFFICIENT BIOLOGY
We talked about dis-empowering beliefs, negative emotions, wrong goals and patterns under BLOCKERS. Will cover the last BLOCKER – INEFFICIENT BIOLOGY in this blog.
Everybody has different types of body makeup. Some have inborn high energy levels while others have sluggish energy levels. Some have high IQ levels and others may have low levels. Some follow good nutrition which fuels energy and others get addicted to carbs and sugars. The list goes on. In summary, I am referring Biology as combination of energy levels + Brain power + nutrition. We all can improve our biology to the level we need, for sure. But most often this element is taken for granted and we damage our biology to a level it becomes inefficient and becomes a major BLOCKER. No one looks at this as productivity parameter. I think your physical vitality is the most import productivity parameter. Because this is what defines how you think and act. Your biology/physiology drives your emotions and thoughts and there by the productivity.
There is tons of information available on how to improve energy levels, brain power, etc on internet. But the point is to recognise how efficient/inefficient your biology currently is. And understand how much % of life productivity efficiency it is giving or reducing. Just replace all bad biology practices with good ones for a week and you can realise the productivity boost.
I have just defined 5 broad level BLOCKERS and you can expand your own list based on your experiences. Main point is to give you the idea. I hope you got the idea and message clearly. We will look at what are the BOOSTERS in the next few blogs.
BOOSTER – HAPPINESS
We will discuss about some of the BOOSTERS for Life Productivity. These enhances overall Life Productivity. The first BOOSTER that comes to mind is Happiness. Based on my interactions with lot of “Big” & “Successful” guys and observations, I am very much convinced that Happiness is becoming (became) very precious thing now a days.
This why I think Happiness as # 1 BOOSTER …Let me explain. All human beings do things “to feel good”. Beggars to Billionaires – all crave for happiness. But in the pursuit of achieving “higher happiness” we lose the “basic happiness” and we start hypnotise ourselves saying we need to achieve more to feel happiness. Basically we go into this complex loop. And the hypothesis for achievement (to get happiness) fails. By the way I am not talking about this for someone else. This is applicable for you and me also. What is the use of all achievements if we feel anxious, fearful, angry and empty at the end. Normal assumption starts like this..after we complete good college degree we will be happy…then job..then marriage..then kids..then career success..then kids “settlement” then grand kids…then we can feel happy. Talk to people in 60s..70s..you get an idea…so this loop goes on. If we don’t built the muscle to feel good/happy then this will never happen. As some one says there is “Science of Success” and “Art of Fulfilment”. Science of success is actually procedural but if we don’t know how to feel Happy (Art of fulfilment) then entire our life efforts gets wasted.
Convinced? Why happiness is # 1 life BOOSTER.
BOOSTER – PURPOSE
We talked about the first BOOSTER – Happiness. I intentionally chose this as really the most important one because after all the so called success/achievement if there is no happiness then there is no fun. Very interestingly, there are few lucky Buddha souls who are generally happy irrespective of achievements or any possessions. But for most people Happiness is a big deal.
Now lets talk about the 2nd Booster – Purpose. What the hell is this Purpose?. It is simply knowing what will give you long term happiness (my definition). Knowing this will give you enormous amount of Life productivity. How?. Many people (who already have basic needs filled) reach to a point in life and find emptiness or can’t find meaning to what they are doing. This can lead to big downward loop. That is because we did not knew what would give long term happiness. Again some people know this very early in life and some keep looking for this throughout their life.
How will we know Purpose? Purpose is nothing but satisfying your values (whatever you give importance to). Read this blog on => Personal Values to know more on Values.
As per Victor Frankl who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning – “Frankl’s message is ultimately one of hope: even in the most absurd, painful, and dispiriting of circumstances, life can be given a meaning, and so too can suffering. Life in the concentration camp taught Frankl that our main drive or motivation in life is neither pleasure, as Freud had believed, nor power, as Adler had believed, but MEANING “ (Ref from Psychology Today).
Knowing and living Meaning/Purpose is real life BOOSTER.
BOOSTER – LIVING BEYOND YOURSELF
The 2nd BOOSTER we talked about was – Purpose. Purpose can be small or big. It can be as simple as living happily by yourself or live the entire life for 2-3 family members or it can be making huge impact to the state/country/world through whatever pursuits you take up. Most leadership and spiritual literature talk about contributing beyond yourself etc. “Changing the World” or “Impacting People Lives” is the new slogan of purposeful life.
How “Living Beyond Yourself” enhances life productivity?. It is simple math actually. If you just live for yourself or for 2-3 people then your life productivity is X or 2X or 3X. But when you impact more number of people through your life – your life productivity multiplies by that much. If you impact 100 people then it is 100X or if you impact one million then it is million X. You may be thinking why the hell I need to impact so many people and isn’t it sufficient if me and my family are happy. Yes, it is more than sufficient. Then why all the great leaders (politics, business or any area) are behind this impacting many people concept. Are they sacrificing more? Not really. Nature has a beautiful design and an accounting system to reward with happiness in relation to how many people you are positively impacting. They are not fools and they get kick out of it. Let’s say you postively impacted 100 people then you get that much of happiness. This concept of “Happiness ROI”, I will talk in detail in some other series. But the point is….
- More number of people you impact positively then your life productivity will improve those many times
- And, as a reward you get that much of happiness. Nature takes care of it.
Impact can be made through simple acts also !!
BOOSTER – LIVING IN-LINE WITH NATURE
This not about Living in the Nature. It is about how close can you operate your life in-line with the natural laws. This is applicable to every thing. Just take the example of health. If you practice the basic fundamentals of health that comes from nature then you will be more healthier. With the short pleasures we go out of this and nature will punish with the exact amount of imbalance you have created for your health. Same thing is applicable if you apply in wealth. All the the shortcuts end up with pain whether others can see it or not person who indulged will get exact amount of pain in relation to the shortcut made. Same thing goes with the damage we create to environment.
Basic point here is about nature’s design principles. Nature has created these design principles in all aspects of life. Nature has such a brutally accurate accounting system and no one can escape from it. Like a kid we may get temporary happiness with all bypass and shortcut models. But nature will close the P&L balance sheet perfectly. In other words this is called “Karma”. I never understood what this really means. My translation of Karma is this explanation.
How this is related to Life Productivity?. It is very much related. In fact this itself defines overall Life Productivity. More in line with nature design principles more productive ones life will be. Most often we deviate so much from baseline and then come back to it then we feel like we have achieved so much. But actually productivity is zero. Some even think this is Self Realisation – actually real life starts from that time.
Feels heavy concept?. Just make it simple. Natural laws are so simple. We complicate it.
We have looked at the importance of “Life Productivity” in the introduction article. LIFE PRODUCTIVITY – PART #1 : INTRODUCTION. This is the most most important building block under “Productivity”. None of other types of productivity comes any closer to this.
I have briefly categorised different “BLOCKERS” and “BOOSTERS” under Life Productivity.
- DIS EMPOWERING BELIEFS
- NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
- ACHIEVING WRONG GOALS
- PATTERNS & BEHAVIOURS
- INEFFICIENT BIOLOGY
The above list gives you an idea. Use your own thinking to build your own list that aligns with you.
The core take away is –
- Traditionally (even till date), productivity has been looked at as “Task Productivity”, which is very much outdated (or will be shortly outdated) as we move into more automated/Digital life. Task based productivity is more applicable for Industrial Age. Not saying this is not required at all but less value in future..
- Life Productivity is THE MOST important and core for Life. Pay more attention to this. Rest will follow through.
Along this series, I have enhanced my thinking on this whole “Productivity” concept. Between the core “Life Productivity“and “Task Productivity” , I realised that there is “Strengths based Productivity“.
This is kind of “DECODING PRODUCTIVITY”……Will write more on this in a different series some day…