Knowing that you’re productivity stinks is very frustrating. And there are probably a thousand different factors at play.
But there’s one factor that’s more important than any of the others: control.
When you maintain an internal locus of control, you are much more likely to be productive.
But when you give up that control to the external circumstances around you, well, that’s when your productivity begins to stink.
The Time I Gave Up Control
I remember standing in an ice cream shop I’d never been to. There was a big, red sign on the front boasting 157 different flavors.
Now, if you know anything about me, you’ll know that in a lot of ways I’m a vanilla kind of guy (vanilla and peanut butter to be exact, but that’s a whole other story).
And that means the only decision I usually have to make when I walk into an ice cream shop is what size to get.
But this day was different.
I stood there, paralyzed by all the choices in front of me.
I mean, could I really go to an ice cream shop with 157 different flavors and walk out with vanilla? What would people think? Are strangers going to shake their heads at me in disapproval? Will my family have to pretend they didn’t know me? Will my kids stop respecting me? Am I going to wake up in a cold sweat every night for the next 48 years wondering what could have been if I had just ordered the pickled goat cheese swirl?
These were the thoughts racing through my head.
Analyzing the Situation
But then something happened.
It was like a switch flipped, and I began to analyze the situation.
Why was I paralyzed? What was really going on?
As soon as I did this, recognized what the problem was.
I was giving away my internal locus of control. Instead of deciding which flavor to order based on what I really wanted, I was allowing all the other factors surrounding me to influence how I thought about my decision.
I was worried about what people would think and concerned about what I thought I should do. I allowed myself to get overwhelmed by all the different options facing me, even though I knew, deep down inside, that I wanted vanilla.
In other words, I had given over my locus of control to external factors.
And that was preventing me from being able to make a decision.
Are You Giving Up Control?
Most of us don’t realize, but we do this every single day in one way or another.
- How often do you take a longer coffee break because you want to seem like “one of the gang”?
- Do you reply to your emails immediately because you want people to think that you’re on the ball?
- When was the last time you committed to something you didn’t want to do because you didn’t want to let someone down?
Most of us struggle with this every day.
And it’s killing our productivity.
As soon as I realized what was happening to me in that ice cream shop, I immediately took back control and did what I knew I wanted to do. And, boy, did that vanilla ice cream cone taste good!
When you learn to harness (and keep) your internal locus of control, you will automatically become more focused and decisive.
And that will do wonders for your productivity.
If you’d like to find out more about how maintaining your internal locus of control can give your productivity a boost, you can get yourself off to a good start by getting your free Productive Cheatsheet below.