Productivity is often measured by how much we get done in a day, instead of how our time aligns with our goals. I could achieve everything on my list for the day, but if those items aren't aligned with my vision, then it's an inefficient use of time. When we keep our goals top of mind and align our tasks for the day, we're being productive. Here's how I'm learning to be more efficient:
The Key To Being More Productive Isn't What You Think It Is: A Conversation with Adam Grant via GQ
Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist, author, and Wharton professor. He's also the host of a new TED podcast called WorkLife. In his interview with GQ, Grant discusses how to grow as individuals (a willingness to try, disrupting routines, weekly experiments), how to spend more time learning about environments different than our own, and why he's tried to move away from productivity as an end goal.
How To Tame Your Wandering Mind: A TEDxCoconutGroove Talk With Amishi Jha
Amishi Jha is a neurologist who studies attention and how our brains decide what's important. In her recent TED Talk, Jha said, "both external distractions, like stress, and internal ones, like mind-wandering, diminish our attention's power, but some simple techniques can boost it." She explains why our minds wander through examples of her mindfulness training-Jha worked with the U.S. marines before they were deployed to Iraq.
Why You Need An Untouchable Day Every Week via HBR.org
Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome, introduces the concept of "Untouchable Days." It's his day of the week when he's not reachable by anyone in his life. They're the days when he completes his most creative and rewarding work. In this Harvard Business Review article, Pasricha said, "on a day when I write between meetings, I'll produce maybe 500 words...on an untouchable day, it's not unusual for me to write 5,000 words. On these days, I'm 10 times more productive."
Musician and Filmmaker Usman Riaz left his music career to start Pakistan's first animation studio. Riaz and his team recently released some of their work to date: four-minutes of an animated movie called, The Glassworker. Riaz's work is a great example of how our values and beliefs can align with our work (it's also a beautiful story to watch).
Cosmic Imagining, Civic Pondering via On Being
Early in my career I would have been #1,000 on any top 40 list; eventually, I made a few lists. Recognition is great, but for every list there are 10,000 or more women who are equally worthy with their achievements. Lists don't make you the best. You do. That's why I really enjoyed this podcast about our sense of self. Founder of Brain Pickings Maria Popova and Natalie Batahla, an astrophysicist at NASA discuss our awareness and connection with humans, nature, and our planet.
About half-way through the conversation, podcast host Krista Tippett raises an idea that I believe we need to pay attention to as entrepreneurs: contemplation about life as a luxury, especially in a time where we "can see what's failing. Schools don't make sense, politics doesn't make sense, the economy doesn't make sense, medicine doesn't make sense. Not everyone has the luxury of time to think." When we have this luxury of time, we need to be efficient with our thoughts and ideas and quickly turn them into action. Action, not thinking, creates results.