How is your time being consumed? Being productive really comes down to just two variables: time and tasks. Time is when are you doing something and how long is it taking you? And tasks are simply, what are you doing?
Surviving in business is nothing more and nothing less than spending all your time doing what seems most important because it’s right in front of you, right now. The immediate reaction is If I don’t do this then there will be a consequence.
When people are stuck in survival mode they are simply trying to prevent pain. It’s just about getting through the next day without things collapsing. Dealing with each issue that arises becomes about simply solving it right now, rather than putting in the work required to ensure this problem doesn’t occur again tomorrow. They want to prevent a pain today rather than eliminate this problem forever.
The brain will say What will happen when we don’t do this? Then we look at the consequences and we will be motivated to act accordingly, hence people stay stuck in mediocrity. That’s why you often see high-level managers wasting time on trivial matters. They want an immediate resolution to a problem, rather than letting somebody else sort it out now and the manager spending time to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Productivity is defeated, and a pattern of mediocrity sets in. Being productive is about the long term, not today.
The other major problem with a survival pattern for doing business is that it creates a negative energy and mindset. People don’t feel like they are building for the future, or that they have a plan or direction. They spend today dealing with the problems created yesterday, and tomorrow they will do the same. There’s no bigger picture to inspire and motivate people. This comes at the expense of productivity and growth and momentum for continued growth.
Thriving tasks push us forward and allow us to look beyond what has just landed on our desk. They allow us to duplicate and triplicate good outcomes. In business (and in life), 80% of success is based on thriving tasks and only 20% is based on surviving tasks. So why do people so often gravitate towards survival tasks?
This is a basic human instinct that we are all hardwired for. It’s our default position. We are programmed to respond to what’s right in front of us because it seems immediate and urgent.
Sometimes it is, but very often it’s not – it just seems that way because it’s right in front of us. Overcoming this natural instinct is hard work, and that’s why only the top 1% of businesses and teams achieve this end.
Next week I will share with you why productivity is not a 9 to 5 task and how to ensure you remain within your default position of thriving.
Power to you!
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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