Doing Productive vs. Being Productive

I started this journey towards becoming The Productivityist as many people do. I needed and wanted to be more productive.

I’d invested a ton of time learning and trying productivity tips and tricks. So much so that I realized I was “doing productive” instead of being productive.

Years ago I had an epiphany regarding my incessant need to dive into productivity porn. So I decided to turn preaching about productivity on its ear…and my productivity parody site Eventualism was born.

Much like Stephen Colbert did on The Colbert Report (only with not nearly as much talent at my disposal), I decided that by creating a persona that offered a methodology that gave one permission to be “eventually productive,” I was showing the ridiculousness of having any methodology that teaches that very thing.

The same can be said for productivity… to a point.

The Problem of Overchoice

There are so many systems, programs, and methodologies that are out there that can enhance one’s personal productivity. The problem lies in choosing one and sticking with it. But that’s hard to do. That’s because you’re faced with a phenomenon coined by Alvin Tofler called “overchoice.”

It’s easy to be transient in personal productivity matters because it’s human nature to want to learn, explore and achieve mastery. But there’s a tipping point. This is where willpower comes in…not just to focus on doing things but to stick with one system that allows you to do those things in a timely fashion.

My friend Patrick Rhone once shared that he has a friend that goes to the same restaurant on the same day and orders the same thing every time he does. While that may be boring to some, it has familiarity going for it. The friend will know if his meal is “off” since he orders the same thing. He’ll be familiar with the staff because he goes to the same place. He can plan around his trip to the restaurant on the day he regularly goes there. All because of familiarity.

You can do the same with a productivity tool.

How to Use a Productivity to Really Start Being Productive

Find one you like, adapt it as you need and then use it. Use it all the time.

There aren’t many people that can shift back and forth between tools. Those that try definitely can’t if they don’t have at least one that they trust and are disciplined with.

If you want to start being productive instead of just “doing productive” then you must commit to eliminating overchoice.

So pick something to use and stick with it. Once you do that then you’ll be able to do a whole lot more a lot better.