Objective 1: Efficiency
This is usually based on the assumption that working faster is inherently better.
Taylor identified ways to boost efficiency—normally by reducing, even eliminating, workers’ autonomy.
Taylor instructed managers to dictate workers’ methods and routines down to the tiniest details, eliminating any waste or drag.
Factories experienced increased efficiency with workers getting more done in less time, but it came at a cost. By limiting employee discretion and freedom, Taylor effectively turned them into manufacturing robots.
Taylor died more than a hundred years ago, but we’re still trying to follow the same basic efficiency model: working a lot of hours and doing as many tasks as possible as quickly as we can.
The problem is most of us aren’t factory workers; we’re knowledge workers. We’re hired more for our mental output than our physical labor.
when we do a good job and complete our work, we’re rewarded with—you guessed it—more work.
We’re stuck in the proverbial hamster’s wheel, running as hard and fast as we can but never making any real progress on our ever-growing list of projects and tasks.
The question is: Should I be doing this job at all?
as technology gives us unprecedented access to information; We can now work wherever and whenever we want.
The promise of the smartphone was that it would make it easier for us to get our work done, improve efficiency, and give us more time to focus on things that matter.
Theoretically, we can be more efficient than at any other time in history. As recently as fifteen years ago, most people wouldn’t have been able to imagine all we can do today with the supercomputers in our pockets. We can call, email, schedule, manage tasks, videoconference, review spreadsheets, create documents, read reports, message clients, book trips, order supplies, create presentations, and do practically anything else right from our phones. We can close deals between stoplights and check invoices while waiting in line at the grocery store—and you don’t even have to wait in line because you can just order those groceries from an app.
Objective 2: Success
It seems reasonable to assume improved productivity will lead to greater success.
most of us have never stopped to define what success means.
to acquire more stuff: more houses, more toys, more expensive vacations, more cars. This, in turn, can lead to even more work, more stress, and ultimately, more burnout.
We are living in a period of what German philosopher Josef Pieper called “total work,” where labor drives life, not the other way around.
In Japan, they coined a word for it: karoshi, “death by overwork.
We need time off, rest, time with family, leisure, play, and exercise. We need big chunks of time when we aren’t thinking about work at all.
Objective 3: Freedom
Productivity should free you to pursue what’s most important to you.
1. Freedom to Focus.
The ability to do the deep work that creates a significant impact.
Think back over the last couple of weeks. How much of your time were you free to focus—truly concentrate—on your work?
To sit down and attack one task with absolute attention.
2. Freedom to Be Present.
How many date nights have you spent thinking about, talking about, or worrying about work?
Even when we’re not technically working, we still drag all our unresolved tasks around.
I’m not interested in efficiency that only gives me more time to work longer hours or success that drives me to work when I should be playing.
When I’m at work, that means I’m fully present at work. When I’m at dinner, I'm fully present with that person.
3. Freedom to Be Spontaneous.
That kind of spontaneity only happens when you create margin in your life.
When you know you have the most important tasks covered and prevent yourself from taking on more than you can comfortably handle, you’ll discover the freedom to be spontaneous.
4. Freedom to Do Nothing.
It’s a national skill in Italy.
Americans usually feel guilty doing nothing.
most of your breakthrough ideas in your business or personal life come when you’re relaxed enough to let your mind wander.
Creativity depends on times of disengagement, which means doing nothing from time to time is a competitive advantage.
Getting the Right Things Done
The first action on the path to becoming free to focus is to get clear on your objective. We’ve already seen that the best objective should be to free yourself to focus on what matters most to you.
we’re talking about cutting away all the tasks that currently eat up your time that you are not passionate about, that are not important to you.
Amazing things happen when you start focusing primarily on what you do best and eliminate or delegate the rest.
I think we’ve got it backward. We should design our lives first and then tailor our work to meet our lifestyle objectives.
What’s Your Vision?
The core problem is within ourselves, and it’s something we’ve struggled with for centuries.
“I have indeed left my life in the city,” he said, after moving to a monastery, “but I have not yet been able to leave myself behind.”
“We carry our indwelling disorders about with us, and so are nowhere free from the same sort of disturbances.”
Most of us view shiny new productivity solutions like the seasick man climbing into the dinghy. Relief, finally!
We think we can solve our problems by moving to a new app or device, but we’re simply dragging our core productivity problems along with us.
Productivity should ultimately give you back more time, not require more of you.
What will you do with the extra time you’re going to free up in your life?
Ask yourself what you want, how many hours you want to work, how many items you want on your task list, how many nights and weekends you want to work. What do you want to focus on?
no one else can—or should—tell you what matters most to you.
Once you figure it out, It will be the star that guides your ship through this exciting voyage.
That’s what productivity gives you: the freedom to choose what you want to focus your time and energy on.
Formulating a new vision for your life is going to require some serious thinking on your part. You need to be able to picture it in your head and get crystal clear on what you want your life to look like and why it matters to you.
complete the Productivity Vision at FreeToFocus.com/tools.
Start by defining what your productivity ideal looks like. Then break it down into a few powerful, memorable words.
Finally, clarify the stakes by outlining exactly what you stand to gain if you achieve that vision and what you will lose if you don’t.
Remember, this is a vision for what your life could look like. You probably don’t have the resources to fully realize your vision today, but don’t let that stop you from dreaming. is designed to help you start making progress toward your destination, and you’ll never make any real progress if you don’t know where you’re going.