Tag Archives: Productivity
Can’t Solve Your Problem?
You do not achieve goals by taking breaks here and there, chipping away when you feel like it. You achieve goals by consistently persisting forward and never taking a day off. Thirty minutes per day yields better results than three hours once per week. If you take a break, you will lose momentum. Lose momentum, and your passion project may fade to the back of your mind. You will lose.
If your mission is tied to your very core, then maybe you can survive output droughts. To intertwine your mission to your core in the first place, you need to consistently believe in it. There are feature films I have wanted to produce since I was eleven years old. I have no polished screenplays or financing to show for them, no plans to produce anytime soon. I touch these projects once every few months at best. But I wake up at night after dreaming about them every so often. They will not leave me alone. To make the films, however, I need to commit. I will need to start making daily progress to finish them. They will never get made otherwise.
The New Age Snow Day
Not all jobs or educations can be accessed remotely. For retailers, you need bodies in the store. Most classrooms are not equipped to transmit lessons online. But for many new age companies, working remotely is completely feasible. You can sign in to instant messenger, transplant meetings into Google+ Hangouts, and plug yourself in. Stay warm, stay safe, stay home. And get more work done.
Sound like an unreasonable dream? Far less unreasonable to me than wasting three or four hours in your car without a shred of real work. Employers should see the productivity and time lost to snow. They should call a snow day and unveil a plan to continue operating internally. Far better to do that than expect a troop of soggy, frozen, and demotivated employees to walk through your door.
Optimize the Commute
As a society, we lose so much time getting to work every day. To put things into perspective: if Denver’s average commute time is 23 minutes one way and working population is roughly 600,000, the city as a whole loses 52.5 man years per day to the streets. From another angle, that’s 57,500 eight-hour work days vaporized per day. Can you imagine what businesses, communities, and our government could accomplish with that much time?
When it comes to personal productivity, public transportation can work for people who find ways to use that time effectively. But when it comes to driving you’re own car, there’s not much you can do except sit there. I tune into NPR and make phone calls to catch up with people, but I wish I could get more done. Siri and other dictation applications are a step in the right direction, but they still have a long way to go.
A world without commuting is a utopian fantasy. Without question, people should live where they want to live or where they can afford to live. Working from home is a pleasant solution, but difficult for collaborative work. And while it was nice for me to walk to work every morning in Hollywood, there were also downsides to living so close to the office (like 2am phone calls from people who forgot their keys). Regardless, it’s worth extra money for me to live close so that I can help save that full day per month. I will hopefully make that change again soon. I just have to decide how much a day of my life is worth.
If you are forced to commute, do what you can to make that time worthwhile. For my fellow commuters out there, what do you do to make that time worthwhile? I need ideas.
Treat Loneliness Like A Shark
The popular kids taught me early on that staying busy and surrounding yourself with good people dramatically increases your positive energy and quality of life. Like a shark, you are happier if you keep moving. Stay active, keep friends close, and only stop to reflect if you dare. Before long, you might even become the popular kid.
Bringing People Together
At every opportunity, sound the horn and bring people together. Throw a party, call a conference, organize a lunch – whatever it takes. Host an event, get people in the door, and thrive.
Input Only Once
Product First, Everything Else Second
There are several problems with this. First, you’re spending a ton of time doing work that is not relevant until you have something to show for it. Time spent on “extras” means time not spent developing great content, executing ideas, and bringing your vision to life. Product is at the core of every great business and must come first (pray tell me one organism that grows from the shell inward?).
Moreover, the execution of ideas seldom aligns with the vision outlined in the first place. After facing obstacles and discovering new approaches to the same problem, the end result may look or feel nothing like the thing you set out to build. Any time you spend marketing, filing papers, and chasing investor deals for your project before you realize it will most likely be a complete waste of time. There will be a major disconnect between the core and the shell trying to promote it. Everything you did outside the lab will be invalidated by the discoveries within.
If you don’t have a product or story to tell, nothing else matters. Forget all the extra bullshit and get to the real work.