The part people don’t talk about enough

August 1, 2021

Too often, we discuss the how.

How can I manage my time better?

How can I get more done in less time?

How can I stop procrastinating?

Productivity consists of two parts:

  1. Deciding what to work on
  2. Doing the work

The “how” is part 2. It’s important, but only if you completed part 1. Why do you want to do this particular thing?

Think about what you’ve done today. Or, if you just woke up, what you did yesterday. For each task, can you articulate why you did that particular thing?

Anything you spend substantial time or energy on had better make you happy in the moment or—very directly—in the future. If it doesn’t make you happy now and won’t make you happy in the future, what the heck are you doing?

Let’s make sure we spend enough time on the “what”. What motivates you? What do you want? What makes you happy?

There’s a reason productivity teachers often recommend meditating, journaling, and periodically planning your work. These are deliberative, reflective practices that will help you understand what you want and why.

Are you spending enough time on the “what”—or did you skip straight to step 2?

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