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Is it Time to Let Go of Productivity?

Is it Time to Let Go of Productivity?


    I’m sure a lot of Lifehack readers are also readers of Leo Baubata’s blog Zen Habits. While I’m a big fan of Leo’s and can honestly say he was my biggest inspiration to start blogging, I also disagree with some of what he has to say of late.

    A couple of months ago Leo wrote an article entitled “Toss Productivity Out” and to most productivity geeks and ninjas the initial reaction to that post would include a shriek and maybe a gasp. What would my life be like if I toss productivity out? I’m certainly not going back to the pre-productivity chaos that was my life.

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    But Leo’s concept is about letting go, not living life constantly striving to achieve more, faster, and better. And in this concept I agree. I too have been trying to simplify my life, I have been trying to value my time and not waste it working on things that don’t matter.

    But there is a time and a place for productivity, and I think in all of Leo’s wisdom that letting go too soon can have a negative effect. I think there is a time in our lives for goal setting, for productivity systems, and for letting go.

    Goal Setting

    Goal setting is probably one of the biggest personal development ideas of the past decade. Stephen Covey, Richard Branson, Robin Sharma and other successful people will tell you to set goals. If you want to achieve something, you must visualize it and then go out there and get it.

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    How to go about achieving your goals is where the next set of experts fit in. The ones who will advise you how to manage your time and make time for all the things you want to achieve in life.

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    People like Brian Tracy, David Allen, Mike Vardy and CM Smith tell us how to get from the vision to the completion. How you can get things done — and stay calm and as stress-free as possible while doing it. At a certain point in everyone’s life we want to accomplish things and often find that we don’t have the time to do it. Productivity systems help us to manage our time and resources to enable us to get all the important stuff done. Productivity systems help us to achieve our lofty goals and dreams.

    Letting Go

    Then there is another school of thought — the one that advises us to let go, to stop striving. To live in the present and accept life for what it offers. These are the letting go advocates like Babauta, Mary Jaksch of Goodlife ZEN and many others who tell us to focus on the present and appreciate each day for what it is. I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of letting go and living in the now. But can we do this without first going through the process of goal setting and productivity?

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      I think there is a time in most people’s life when goal setting is needed, where change is required, when things are not the way you want them to be. In these times we need to focus on a better future, to project ourselves into a better state of mind, a healthier body or a calmer disposition. Leo managed to lose weight, eliminate debt and become a runner. Could he have done this by simply letting go? I don’t believe so.

      But then again there were some gaps in the evolution of man. Are these down to missing pieces of information or were they quantum leaps in development? Is this what Leo is telling us now…that we no longer need to go step by step in our personal development? Is it perhaps time for a quantum leap? Is it time for human consciousness to let go and allow the universe to let things happen and evolve how they should?

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      It’s certainly an interesting concept. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

      (Photo credit: Woman Letting go of Balloons via Shutterstock)

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        Ciara Conlon

        Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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        Published on April 25, 2019

        How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

        How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

        Have you ever felt limited in your abilities to do something you really wanted to pursue? Maybe it was an ambition you had, or an idea to start something. Perhaps it was an opportunity that came your way, but you weren’t able to take it because something held you back.

        Often, we’re unable to progress towards our goals because such obstacles stand in the way. We let our limitations stop or overshadow our abilities to see through to a goal.

        Yet, there’s one thing that we rarely think of to use when trying to overcome limitations.

        Creativity.

        What is Creativity?

        When I say creativity, I’m not talking about an innate talent. Creativity is a much needed, but often neglected, skill that everyone has! It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input.

        Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

        Everything, including brilliant inventions, cannot come from nothing; it all derives from some sort of inspiration. Creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

        From this perspective, you can find creativity at play in many areas.

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        For example, Mark Zuckerburg rapidly became successful by taking the previously existing concept of social media, and combining it with an incredibly simple interface that appealed to a much wider audience. Uber and Lyft combined the idea of a traditional taxi service with an incredibly efficient smartphone app.

        Both of these examples connect different ideas, find common ground amongst the differences, and create a completely new idea out of them.

        That’s creativity in a nutshell, and anyone can improve theirs.

        Limitations are Actually Opportunities

        The advantage of using creativity, is to help you see limitations as opportunities. Take any limitation that you may find yourself facing, is there a way to look at things differently?

        Let me illustrate with an example.

        On the day of my son’s 5th birthday, my wife and I arranged a party for him at a children’s adventure park. His friends and family were all invited, and the plan was to have a long, fun day out to celebrate.

        However, the day didn’t go exactly as planned…

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        At Lifehack, we pride ourselves on a healthy work-life balance, so I wasn’t concerned about taking the day off to celebrate. But, on the big day, a call came through to my phone.

        It was a manager from Lifehack. He excitedly told me that a group of investors were quite interested in our business proposition, and were wanting to meet later that day.

        This was great news! A potential investment could be coming our way. But, I was already miles away from home and the office. Plus, it was my son’s birthday…

        I asked if I could call him back once we got settled into the park.

        To be honest, I was pretty certain I was not going to be able to make it. Asking to reschedule would be a risky request, but there was no way that I was going to miss my son’s party.

        My son could sense something was off, and he asked me what was wrong. So I let him know that I just received a call about a meeting today, but also told him not to worry as today was about celebrating his birthday.

        But like all kids, he continued questioning me…

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        “But daddy, is it important?”

        “No, of course not,” I bluffed.

        Then, with childlike intuition and creativity, he asked: “Can’t you just meet with them at the park?”

        And, then it struck me! This was the idea that I was missing.

        Even though my son didn’t quite understand that it would not be possible for the investors to meet me at the park, it made sense for me to simply do a video call!

        I could miss 25 minutes of the party to do a quick call while the rest of the party walked through the aquarium. And, in the end, that was exactly what happened.

        I called back my teammate and asked him to briefly explain to the investors why I couldn’t be there in person to meet, but would be happy to join via video. I took the call, and was able to spend the rest of the day at the park with my son.

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        Not only did my son enjoy his birthday, his simple idea led to a successful investment meeting that allowed us to get funding for a new project.

        This is where I was able to turn a limitation into an opportunity that enabled me to reach my success.

        Creativity is One Key to Success

        When you use your creative ability to turn your limitations and setbacks into opportunities, you’ll find doors opening for you in areas you may have never imagined.

        Remember, your attitude is also important when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. That’s because a positive attitude transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

        Check out this article to learn more about how you can tune your attitude towards positivity.

        So, the next time you’re feeling limited by your abilities, setbacks or challenges, don’t give up. Really look at the situation, and see how you can leverage on your creativity to find an alternative solution.

        Featured photo credit: Photo by William Iven on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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