What I eventually discovered was that the only kind of productivity worth pursuing isn’t simply about getting more done. It’s about getting the right things done with a specific goal in mind. Ultimately, real productivity leads to greater freedom. That’s right, the new paradigm for productivity is about more freedom. It’s about how you can get more done by working less, so you can enjoy life and invest in the people and priorities that matter most. Doesn’t that sound better?
When I started my career, I quickly discovered that I had more to do than I could get done in a forty-hour workweek. So, I worked more hours. I got to the office at 5:00 a.m. and usually didn’t leave until 6:00 p.m.
I often worked on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, too. It wasn’t unusual to put in sixty to seventy hours a week, or even more. But I still wasn’t getting enough done. So I figured I just needed to get more efficient.
I attended time-management seminars, read books on productivity, and bought a better paper planner. Yet that still wasn’t enough.
My professional life resembled a game of Whack-a-Mole. Every time I checked something off my to-do list, two more tasks popped up. I felt overwhelmed and discouraged. And I secretly began to wonder if the problem was just me.
It wasn’t until many years later that I began to sort this all out. The problem was productivity itself, or rather how I tended to look at productivity at the time.
The old productivity paradigm was all about greater efficiency. How do you get more done in the same amount of time? It was the old factory model, applied everywhere. The goal was to increase throughput, rev up the line, speed the plow.
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