How many times have you eagerly tried out a new productivity hack or tool and not gotten the result you expected? There is wealth of information available to us giving us everything we need to know to
increase our productivity, but most people live their life in chaos. Why do still see so many people struggling to manage their time and simply not able to get the results they desire? What is missing?
Over the last 10 years of working in productivity and helping entrepreneurs to be more productive, the answer started to become very obvious. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do, everyone has the same challenge at the end of the day.
Why productivity hacks don’t work
Let’s say you want to increase your productivity and you want to get more done in the day, you feel disorganized, and you are not on top of everything you must do. You start to read a few articles, watch some videos on tips and tools, and you decide you are going to start by hacking your calendar first. You know that you are very reactive in the day, and you don’t plan your time well, so this is a good start.
You pull out your calendar and start to batch certain tasks together, like making time for emails and phone calls 3 times a day, you also batch tasks that take less than 5 minutes to complete for the afternoon and schedule in breaks and travel time. You then block off time to do the most demanding tasks in the morning when you are most focused. You are excited to try it out and you already feel more in control and clearer on how you will get everything done.
The next day comes, and you sit behind your laptop and pull out your calendar to start the day. You scheduled to start with a deep focused task, and you would only check your email after completing the report you have been procrastinating on for days. However, you have this huge urge to check your email, browse social media and see what’s happening. You feel a huge resistance to start drafting this report.
You almost feel disappointed in yourself and at the same time, expecting this might happen. You go back and forth in your mind, justifying why you can start it later and then decide to reschedule the report for tomorrow. You will feel better tomorrow you tell yourself.
The afternoon arrives and you get reminded to start another task you have planned. You feel tired, distracted and you just don’t have the focus or energy. You also notice that you feel frustrated that you have this new calendar to follow and that you are not doing it. Why is this so hard?
You resolve to starting tomorrow again and jump to a task that you ‘feel’ is important to do now. Everything else seems more urgent and important than what you have on your calendar. A few days pass and you find yourself in the same pattern. You are not sticking with the calendar you have planned, and you feel frustrated again, you decide that you are not a planner, and this isn’t for you.
You find yourself saying things like, ‘I’ll never be organized’, or maybe, ‘I actually work better with this pressure and stress’. Unknowingly you start to justify your behavior with limiting beliefs about yourself and how to get things done.
Maybe you decide to try other easier hacks or maybe you give up completely, either way, you are not getting the results you want and can ultimately achieve.
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen
What is missing, what is the pattern?
The reason that you struggle to get results with productivity hacks or tools is because you are most likely trying to change behavior with strategy alone. This doesn’t work, you will end up frustrated, and irritated.
You can have all the strategies in the world, but if you are in the wrong mindset and emotion, you will not get the results you want because you won’t take the aligned action.
What do I mean more specifically with mindset and emotion? If you want to plan your days and you set your calendar up to be more efficient, that is strategy. Then ask yourself, what do I need to shift in my values or beliefs? An example would be that you want to start valuing planning your time more than not planning it. You want to strengthen the belief that it is important to plan, it is essential to success, and shift your way of thinking so action is easier.
Remember, your emotions are part of your mindset.
If you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, it is your job to get into a better emotion so you can act. We cannot act from a place of low energy. Learn how to shift from emotions and get yourself to act when you need. If you are feeling low, it is because of your current focus, stories and meaning you are attaching to what is happening in that moment.
If you shift this, your energy will follow, and you will follow through. If you want to increase your productivity, you want to become a master of emotions and I guarantee you, getting results from hacks and tools becomes effortless and immediate.
Remember, if you are not managing your emotions, you are not managing your time!