What is the secret to productivity? That is the question. Looking at Google search results it seems like everyone has the answer. Thousands of magazines, blog posts, and articles claim to have ‘the productivity tip that will change your life’ or ‘the secret to success’. Productivity even has its own category on the app store.
It seems obvious to say, but none of these posts or apps have life-changing secrets, or definitive formulas to productivity, despite what they might claim. They are tips, hints, aids. Nothing more. Productivity hacks can be useful, indeed we at Kingsford use a range of different things to help get the most out of our time, and have actually shared a few of them in a recent blog post. What is important to remember though, is that if you don’t work hard to back them up, they will probably be a waste of time, money, and energy.
Think of it this way. We all know someone, who, shortly after New Year’s Eve proudly told to anyone who would listen about the gym they had just joined, the treadmill they had just bought on Amazon, or the half marathon they were training for. ‘2016’, they confidently claimed, ‘is the year that I am going to get fit’. Now, with summer fast approaching, that gym membership has gone unused, the treadmill sits in the garage, covered in dust, and their enthusiasm for long-distance running is a thing of the past. Just as a gym membership or treadmill are useless if you are not prepared to actually do some exercise; apps, books, tips, and tricks won’t be beneficial if you don’t work hard to make the most of them.
What is the secret to productivity then, the answer is probably disappointing. The secret is that there is no secret. Productivity and success do not come easily, there are no shortcuts. Productivity is not a life-hack, it is a mind-set. By all means download different apps, read books or articles, try out different tricks and see if any of them work for you, but think to yourself, could the time, and energy, you spent googling ‘how to be more productive’ actually be used more productively? You could spend two hours a night reading a book by a ‘business guru’, or you could spend it actually trying to grow your business. You could spend money on the perfect time-management app, or you could invest it back into your start-up. Maybe instead of thinking about how you are going to best do something, the best thing is to just do it.
You don’t get fit by standing on a treadmill, and you don’t become productive without putting in the hard work either.