Who said productivity is easy?

I was teaching a full-day seminar in time management. One of the participants complained several times that "This is so hard!" or "There’s no way I could do that." After a while, it was quite apparent to me and his colleagues that while he wanted to change his behaviors, he had absolutely no faith in his ability to do so. I’ve never been one to tell people that being productive is easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard! However, I do believe that once you have systems in place and have enabled yourself to be productive, it’s much easier in the long run.

But any type of change is hard. When learning new techniques, don’t throw your hands up in despair and think, "There’s no way I can do all this!" You can! You might just be stuck in a rut. You get into a certain routine and have fixed habits that are hard to break. You know you’re not performing up to your ability, but hey, you’re getting by, so it’s good enough. You have to break out of your own self-limiting beliefs.

When you believe that something is impossible to do, you don’t even try, or you do it half-heartedly, so that when it doesn’t work given your low level of effort, you do what…say, "see, I told you I couldn’t do it." "It’s impossible! I knew it was!" This is the famous self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can get better and be more productive, you can, and you will.

Always think, "What if"? Take stock. Think about your daily tasks and ask some important questions. "How can I do this better next time?" "How can I be more efficient?" "How can I get these results with less effort?" Occasionally, you must take the time to stop, step back, and ask yourself these questions. You can’t just keep plowing ahead without occasionally regrouping and reassessing what you’re doing or have become blind to doing.

When something is bothering you, do a bit of introspection to see what’s going on and how you might approach it more efficiently or effectively next time. If you’re in a rut, and you’ve grown accustomed to low productivity, change may not be comfortable and change may not be easy. Take an honest look at your life, determine what’s no longer working, and change it.



  1. Great points, Laura. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to get your workshop participants to make lasting habit changes.