Is Productivity Fashionable?AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
I just found an article that publishes the list of Top 50 Most Motivational People on the Web and I am not surprised to find in it many authors whose work is based on the principle of doing more with less effort, a.k.a productivity, as the following:
- Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-hour workweek (3rd).
- David Allen, author of Getting things done (4th).
- Leo Batauta, author of the Zenhabits blog (8th).
- Brian Tracy, author of Eat that frog! (9th).
- Ken Blanchard, author of The one minute manager (13th).
- Stephen Covey, author of The 7 habits of highly effective people (15th).
There is no doubt that productivity and self-management are hot topics today. Probably because the major challenge citizens of 21st century face is to keep a reasonable balance between the management of all their daily activities and the resources at their disposal, i.e. 24 hours a day and a mental health rather fragile.
So how can we achieve that balance? Productivity or Self-management are not subjects that are taught in school today. However, they are part of our lives, so we would better be equipped with the skills, habits and techniques that help us have our day-to-day under control.
In a global and highly automated economy, work teams tend to be increasingly cross-functional. Jobs are no longer clearly defined, their boundaries are blurred, and everyone must be able to handle multiple projects of different types simultaneously. We are not asked to be a good programmer or a good writer or a good designer… we are asked to be proactive and be ready for anything as well.
All this generates a considerable amount of stress for anyone, which is increased even more when we add to the formula every facet of our personal life (family, friends, finances, health, hobbies, aspirations, responsibilities…).
To finish off, we are bombed with more and more information. Television, news, books, email, blogs, social networks, messages… a thousand things attract our attention every day, decenter us and undermine our productivity. By the way, here’s a highly recommended article on how to start your information diet. No kidding. Isn’t it curious that a book called The Information Diet (Clay Johnson, 2012) spreads like wildfire even before its publication?
It is not a fashion. Times are changing and new problems require new solutions. Having a to-do list where you simply mark off things when they are done is not a solution. It is about doing what we have to, doing it well and keeping calm, all at the same time. It is about doing things that lead us to achieve our goals and enjoy our life. It is not so easy.