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Rethink Productivity: How to Use Your Personality to Reach Your Goals

Rethink Productivity: How to Use Your Personality to Reach Your Goals

Dear Kirsten,

Reading through your descriptions, I think your guess is spot on. I’m a yoga teacher, and the best hours of my day are the ones I spend helping my students to open up and relax. Over the summer I had the idea to teach at one of the local lakes, first on the shore and then out in the water on paddle boards. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s a whole new dimension when you know you won’t hurt yourself if you fall! Plus you put new stresses on your muscles and gain additional strength… but that’s not really what I’m writing about, is it?

My goals… now that it’s getting cooler I can’t do the classes on the lake anymore, but they were a huge hit. I want to offer them again next summer, along with more traditional ground based classes. Longer term, it would be amazing to have a building on the lake shore where I could offer classes year round. Imagine a wall of windows overlooking the water, such a perfect place to find peace…

My commitments, well, I have my two daughters to provide for. Their father moved overseas and hasn’t seen them in years. My parents need help around the house occasionally, and I teach a yoga class at one of the homeless shelters downtown. Most of my income comes from teaching yoga and dance at various studios around town, which mostly covers the bills. I was able to pay off the last of my credit card debt by offering the water yoga classes, but that income stream is gone until next year.

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So I guess my goal is to open my own yoga studio on the lake without letting down the people who depend on me. Can my personality type help me do that?

Signed,

G

Dear G,

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In a word, yes.

You are sitting on top of an amazing resource, thanks to your personality. As a primary Environmental, you have a giant network of people for whom you’ve given your time and energy, and they’re just waiting for you to tell them what they can do to help you in return. Think about it – when you teach classes, you connect with your students, right? You get to know them, their strengths and weaknesses, and you see them regularly. I’ll bet a lot of them helped to make your water yoga sessions such a success – they registered for them, told their friends about them, and generally helped spread the word. Now think of what you could do if you approached that network with the end goal of building your yoga studio on the lake. You’ve touched hundreds of lives, G! And your envisioned studio is hardly selfish – it’s a foundation from which you can touch hundreds more!

So let your network help you build this studio. Tell people about your idea. Listen to what they have to say. Perhaps bring together a few groups for brainstorming about how you might get from where you are to where you want to go. When the web designer in your Wednesday morning class offers to put up a quick site for you, say yes! When the wife of an architect convinces her husband to draw up some blueprints, thank them both! I am a firm believer that the universe responds when we commit – but also that we make our own luck by creating a life that gives the universe something to work with.

Now, let’s address your secondary Fantastical type. I’m guessing that is where your water yoga idea might have originated. The Fantastical can pull together concepts that would never be considered by other types, and the results can be breathtaking. Now, the Fantastical also has some issues with organization, and your Environmental type isn’t going to help much when it comes to marshaling all the resources that your network can command. If you can’t handle the logistics of bringing your vision into reality, all the goodwill you’ve built up will disappear pretty quickly. You have two options to avoid that fate.

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1) Find someone in your network who can handle the details. You’ll want this person to be reasonably close to you, and someone that you trust, because they’re going to be handling communications, money, even offers of supplies and labor. You may want to bring this person on as a partner in your business, because they’ll deserve the recognition. This person is likely to be Structural, or possibly Analytical.

2) Get a giant whiteboard or chalkboard. Spend some time with a small group thinking through the steps you’ll need to take to get to your goal, and then divide up the board in such a way that you can keep track of both the steps and the people who have offered to help with them. This board will need to become an integral part of your life, because only by keeping it visible, checking it daily, and updating it regularly will you be able to stay on top of all the moving pieces and direct the efforts of others on your behalf.

Reaching your goal will take a lot of work – that’s true for any goal worth achieving. But tell me, what sounds easier to you: finding, screening and hiring all the contractors you’ll need and trying to get a bank loan to finance the studio, or reaching out to your network to see what they can provide and letting some of the good you’ve put out into the world come back to help you achieve your studio?

With Love,

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Kirsten

Now it’s your turn – how can you use your personality to smooth your path to your goals?

Have a productivity problem? Tell Kirsten all about it and get a solution!

Featured photo credit:  soccer ball via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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