The Path to Extraordinary Productivity
It has never been easier in human history to accomplish great things, thanks in large part to technology. The interaction between how we live and work and the technologies we use becomes more inseparable each day. Yet, paradoxically, these same technologies can make it harder than ever to accomplish the things that are important to us.
People feel overwhelmed like never before. They feel buried alive with things to do and simultaneously drained of their capacity to do them. They feel agitated and anxious, stressed when they are working and stressed when they are not.
The Productivity Paradox
The barrage of information coming at us, coupled with the demands of our careers, is overwhelming. This paradox revolves around three critical challenges:
1. Decision Overload
We used to make only a few high-value decisions each day, but with unlimited information and instant communication, we are now forced to make decisions all day long. We don’t stop to consider the value of the decisions, we just react, and the most important decisions get lost in this flood of urgency.
2. Attention is Under Attack
The average office worker gets only three minutes of work time before being distracted. Our brains are wired for distraction, and the ability to think is overwritten by the need to react. We have moved from the age of physical labor to mental labor, and now, just as we need our minds the most, our ability to think is under attack.
3. Low Energy Crisis
The pressure to make good decisions while our attention is under attack is exhausting. We come to work burned out and disengaged. We’re not able to give our best, even though we want to.
The 5 Choices:
Choice 1: Act on the Important, Don’t React to the Urgent
Develop the habit of being conscious and intentional by understanding the reactive brain and the thinking brain and discerning the important from the less important.
Choice 2: Go for Extraordinary, Don’t Settle for Ordinary
Make decisions based on what success looks like in the most important roles you play.
Choice 3: Schedule the Big Rocks, Don’t Sort Gravel
Use weekly and daily planning to block out time for the activities that you must execute with excellence to be successful in your most important roles.
Choice 4: Rule Your Technology, Don’t Let it Rule You
Turn your technology into a productivity engine by making it work for you, not against you.
Choice 5: Fuel Your Fire, Don’t Burn Out
Increase your energy so you can think clearly, make good decisions, and feel more accomplished at the end of every day.