Today's audio postcard is about productivity. And how, if you’re not careful, your amazing productivity skills can leave you burned out.
Today's question: Are you a productivity queen? What’s one way you can start using the time you free up with your mad productivity skills for yourself?
Leave a comment and share your ideas!
Rather read than listen?
If you’re anything like most busy people, you’ve read a few articles or picked up a few books on productivity (Ok, maybe a lot of articles, and books, and blog posts, and podcast episodes), in an attempt to figure out how to squeeze more out of your day and get more done.
But the truth is, using productivity tips and tricks to get more done is a big mistake.
Wait a minute. What?!
I understand that may sound contradictory, but please stay with me. Keep listening and hear me out.
The problem is, when you use productivity this way, it creates a dangerous situation. Mainly because you end up mastering productivity – you become a productivity queen!
“What’s wrong with mastering productivity?”, you ask, “Isn’t that the point?”
Here’s the thing, as you become better at getting more done in less time, you utilize this new skill to take on more and more.
As you free up time by getting things done more efficiently, you fill up that free time with more work. And before you know it, you’ve become a productivity machine! You’ve perfected the art of getting sh*t done.
At first, this feels like something to celebrate. But what ends up happening is it creates a never-ending get-more-done, take-on-more cycle that is totally unsustainable.
And that’s where the real trouble comes in. Because this cycle leads to only one place. And it’s not a good place.
The only place this gets you is feeling overworked, worn out, fried. And if you’re not already there, you’re quickly headed for burnout.
This is the cardinal mistake that most people make when it comes to productivity. It’s so easy to get excited about your new productivity skills and slip into the trap of never-ending, get-more-done-itis.
It does kind of become an affliction that feeds on itself. You unknowingly end up using your kick-ass productivity skills as a tool to work yourself into the ground.
Somehow, without realizing what’s happening, productivity becomes a tool that is working against you and punishing you, rather than a tool that works for you.
The good news is, I have a simple solution for you. Are you ready? Here it is.
The next time you use your amazing productivity skills to get things done more efficiently and you free up some time . . . don’t fill that time with more work.
Instead, use that time for yourself. Let me say that again. Use that time for yourself!
Wait! What? You might be wondering, “If I’m not going to use it to get more work done, what’s the point?”
The point is, that you should be rewarded for your productivity, not punished. You’ve made the effort to figure out how to work more efficiently and get things done in less time. You deserve to use the time you’ve freed up on yourself!
And if you really want to come at it from a pure productivity standpoint, taking breaks to take time for you must be part of your productivity plan. Because, without breaks, you reach a point of diminishing returns – a point where cramming in more work doesn’t actually make you more productive (and it can even start becoming less productive).
Building in breaks and time for yourself is an important part of your productivity plan that you’ve been skipping.
So, instead of using productivity as a tool to drive yourself into burnout like so many people do, use you’re amazing productivity skills to give yourself time to refuel, and rest, and enjoy your life so that your work doesn’t completely take over.
I know you’re trying to get more done because you have so much on your plate. But if you make your whole life about how you can get more and more done, you’ll end up overworked and burned out (if you’re not there already).
It’s not too late to change your productivity habits and use it to reward yourself.