How was your weekend? Creative? Productive?
I want to make something clear first, before we go forward. Being productive is not about to-do list tricks, latest app or scheduling every minute of your time. Being productive is about directing your energy appropriately. You need to be psychologically prepared for those items on your to-do list. You need to mentally ready for what it really means for you to complete your goal.
Which means part of being productive is knowing which ideas to take to reality – and which ideas to say NO to.
Elise Blaha Cripe wrote a great post a few months ago – Getting from Idea to Reality – that touches on her own decision-making process.
From that post:
The third level [of her job] is creative ventures. In general, this level has the most potential to generate income. It’s the one that sits on the back burner until the right idea comes along. And by idea, I really mean IDEA – all caps. I don’t daydream about business ventures. Never. When I think of a product concept, I weigh it quickly – is it feasible? is it profitable? do I want to start writing or working TODAY? If the answer to all three is YES then I run with the project. If the answer to one of those is NO, I drop it. And that’s it. No “someday” with a sigh. Having something on my “someday” to do list stresses me out more than having something on my daily to do list.
(underlined emphasis mine)
I just finished reading The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and she says something similar:
Before you can say yes to the good stuff … you probably need to learn to say no to all that other stuff.
We talked about this a little last week – acknowledge your priorities and manage your time accordingly. To be your most productive self you not only need to know what you really want to get done, but you also need to know what you’re doing now that is getting in the way.
Maybe you’re not moving forward on that creative project you love because you tell yourself you need to unload the dishwasher first (can you teach your 8 year old to do that?). Maybe you’re not finishing that health care paperwork because you tell yourself you need to research more (can you ask for recommendations from your social group?).
What is getting in your way to being productive?
What is on your STOP DOING list? What can you outsource or back away from or cancel that is taking up time that you really want to be spending on one of your passion projects?
Today, make a list of everything that you are committed to doing during the week (from the grocery shopping to regular guest posts for a big blog). What of those things are you not ‘HELL YES’ about? What of those things can you get rid of?
For me, it’s housework. I just don’t care enough to vacuum even once a week. Luckily my husband does, but one of my goals is having the income (and being mentally OK with spending that money) to hire a housekeeper. Not full-time. Not every day. But just get someone else to do those things that nag on my to do list and I never (ever) want to do.
RELATED (highly recommended and *just* showed up in my email box): Top 5 productivity mistakes