It can be easy to think that productivity is all about taking action—getting more stuff done in less time. And, while that’s certainly part of the equation, it isn’t the whole thing.
Very often, being productive has more to do with strategy than action. And that’s why productivity is like a slide puzzle.
Productivity Requires Action
Now, don’t get me wrong. Taking action is necessary in order to be productive.
You must actually DO something to get anything done.
That should be a given.
It’s just that I’ve witnessed hundreds of people work their fingers to the bone, their wrists into carpal tunnel, and their brains into burnout—all in the pursuit of getting more stuff done in less time.
These people have bought into the lie that productivity is all about ACTION.
And, like I’ve already said, action is necessary.
But we need to be careful: just because something is necessary doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the most important thing.
Tires are necessary for me to drive my car. But I don’t know anybody who would say that tires are the most important part of a car.
The same is true when it comes to productivity.
Action is necessary and getting things done is inevitable, if you want to be productive.
The Magic of the Slide Puzzle
If you really want to be productive—I’m talking out of this world productive—you need to focus on mastering the slide puzzle.
You know, those puzzles where you have to slide pieces around in order to make a pattern or put all the numbers in order?
These kinds of puzzles can be tricky because every time you move one piece, you block other pieces.
It takes patience, focus, and a lot of trial and error to get it right.
Productivity is like doing a slide puzzle most of the time because everything depends on how well you are able to shift around competing demands, priorities, goals, and obstacles.
Your success will be determined by how well you manage all the various constraints you have on your time, finances, energy, abilities, and so on.
This is why I say productivity is like a slide puzzle.
The Slide Puzzle of Your Life
When I say that productivity is like a slide puzzle, there is one big difference between your life and the puzzle you can hold in your hand:
The slide puzzle of your life is much, much more complicated.
And the pieces are always changing too.
This makes solving your productivity slide puzzle challenging.
But it’s not impossible, if you’re willing to think strategically about it.
Becoming unbelievably productive is not a matter of taking MASSIVE ACTION, as so many flashy “experts” want to tell you.
And it’s not about “getting things done,” as certain other gurus like to say.
Actual productivity is about solving the slide puzzle of your life.
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