This is something you do not want to hear. It’s the opposite of human nature. It is anti-happiness. The only thing good about it? It’s the truth about productivity.
The ultimate productivity hack is sticking to a very boring routine. A life filled – at least for a short time – with almost no variety. No choices. No novelty.
Happiness has been dissected by the experts. Novel, fun experiences create happiness. So the highest level of productivity comes down to eschewing anything that is new and exciting.
The anti-happiness regimen is largely about removing any variety, any distraction and any fun for a period of time. That time is when you are able to fully engage in whatever your work or project demands.
I can hear the life balance people moaning.
Take heart. This is not a prescription for living your life. It is the prescription for getting something done rapidly, with the full force of your intelligence and imagination.
How many times in your life do you need to be ultra productive? It depends on your life, your desired ultimate outcome and your ability to pledge allegiance to a burning desire. Without a burning desire, this won’t work.
I just finished writing my third book. It took 32 edits. It is– as each book has been – my life’s work for a period of time. It – like the other books – aren’t my whole story. I work. I teach. I coach. I speak.
Oh yes, and I live. Bathe. Dress. Drive. Work. Teach. Coach. Speak. But mostly I WRITE. READ. EDIT. REVISE. And repeat. (You get the idea.)
The secret of the ultimate productivity hack is to put everything possible on auto-pilot. At the simplest level, I start with what I eat. I make something I call my “writer’s mix.” It is turkey, Brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots, and a huge volume of turmeric and chile paste.
I eat it three times a day. I start out with a huge stewing pot of this stuff. Then, for breakfast, lunch and dinner: I eat it. The goal is simple: no joy of eating. I start out hungry. I eat the mix. I am full.
I do the same with every other task in my life, while I am writing and editing. I do my social media interactions every three hours. I pick up my email while I’m eating. I walk my dogs for an hour, during twilight so it’s cool enough for them and the right time to clear my head. I don’t hibernate nor am I rigid. I went to a wedding of a dear friend last Friday evening. I met another dear friend for lunch on Sunday afternoon. So, part of the routine is two times over a weekend, I have three hours with people I know well and adore.
There’s a religious text with a passage about there being a time for everything. When you have a project that must be done and have a life that must be folded in around it: this is the time for being focused on your purpose.
Promise yourself, you will be happy. Later. For now: set up the rules, routines, rituals and habits that protect you from distraction, confusion, choices and decision-making.
The more boring your life is the better, when it comes to being super successful at getting something important done. Need some tips on setting up your routine? Email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Productivity.
Creativity, innovation and adaptability are the hallmarks of today’s best leaders. Not CEOs mind you, leaders. Don’t confuse a title like CEO with the reality that most of us will lead from the back of the pack, or somewhere in the middle.
Creativity is a calling. Innovation is a burning desire. Adaptability is personal trait.
CEO, COO, president and general manager are just job titles.
Most top officers find it difficult to be creative. There are too many responsibilities and constituencies to look after. Focusing on squeezing out profit every 12 weeks. Cutting costs to keep shareholders happy. When you are watching your back, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road ahead.
A job title does not imbue the individual with courage or charisma. Those are personal traits. Creativity takes many forms, so don’t count yourself out because you are in accounting, operations, human resources, logistics, project management or any other field or specialty.
Employees, consultants, coaches, freelancers and suppliers: the opportunity to transform an organization (and with that your own career) is yours for the doing.
How do you start? It helps to hold a deep affection for your company and clients, since creativity is a gift you give. Think about the impact your company could have and the growth your clients could enjoy.
Creative leadership makes your job more meaningful and gives you visibility. Do something small at first – deliver a project early, come up with alternative courses of action, and whenever possible deliver unexpected added value. A bit of qualitative research or sentiment analysis (collecting comments made on forums or social media) is a good example of providing new perspectives that lead to new solutions.
David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men, a real ad man, espoused ten qualities he saw in creative leaders. They are:
- High standards of personal ethics.
- Big people, without pettiness.
- Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
- Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.
- A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
- Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.
- A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.
- The courage to make tough decisions.
- Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.
- A sense of humor.
Do you want to increase the reality of possibilities in your career or business? Then pick one of these qualities each week for the next ten weeks. Find every way you can to demonstrate the quality you’re working on. Add them up and in ten weeks you will have transformed yourself, and perhaps the organization and clients you serve.
Having coached the full range of job seekers, from entry-level candidates to C-suite executives, I learned the one job interview tactic that makes the difference between success and failure. This same tactic works for coaches and consultants who want to build a larger practice, secure more clients and do it more quickly.
The true genius of this tactic comes from Anthony Parinello, the author of the best-selling book Selling to VITO: The Very Important Top Officer. Tony has written about this technique as the foundation of successful selling to executives at the top of their organizations. If you don’t know Tony’s work, go to http://www.vitoselling.com – and grab the free download and enjoy meeting this world-class sales trainer.
There’s a profound similarity between selling to CEOs and interviewing for a job. The same fundamental truth is key for building your professional practice. The common thread between selling and interviewing is this.
Who you think YOU ARE is the key to success (or failure).
Success is not in the hands of the person with whom you are speaking, nor is it in the product, service or skill set you believe you represent.
Per the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of the decision to hire you is based on your personal traits. Only 15% of the decision is based on your skills, experience or proof that what you do is better than other people who are competing for the position.
How does the interview or potential client learn about or experience your personal traits? Largely through how they see you relate to yourself.
Self-respect, self-worth and a self-positive attitude are what you must convey in an interview. Why?
Your attitude about yourself is like a cold. It’s contagious.
If you believe you that you are lucky to have the interview, you are likely to lose the job or the deal. If you believe the recruiter, hiring manager or prospective client is lucky to have the interview: you are likely to lose the job or the deal.
If you see the interview as a meeting of two people with equal business stature – you are going to succeed.
Of course this does not mean that you can do the same work as your interviewer or prospect. Why would they need you to do that?
Equal business stature simply means you share the same profound interest in successfully accomplishing the goals of the job. It means you are someone who is bringing a solution-oriented mindset, resourcefulness, ingenuity, and commitment.
See the next interview you have as an exchange of like-minded people, equally interested in addressing the challenges of the position that needs to be filled. Don’t court, cajole, or toady; don’t undersell or overpromise.
Show up ready to engage in a business conversation, where your focus is on the problems that need to be solved – not simply on what you have or haven’t done in the past.
Simply put: show up ready to engage with clarity and confidence.