Derek Sivers, an author and entrepreneur, rode his bike every day alongside the beach in Santa Monica, California.
He would ride as fast as he could for fifteen-miles, and would finish exhausted, clocking in at 43 minutes every time.
One day, he decided to do the same bike ride, but slowly. Instead of going at 100% he decided to ride at 50% of the effort.
His time? Read on to find out 🚴
Hyper-productivity is overrated and unhealthy. AND you get less meaningful work done.
It doesn’t have to be though.
I learned this when I was living in Ethiopia for work and visiting family.
It was a stressful time, and I was struggling.
But it all changed when I read a short, 144 page book called The Practising Mind by Thomas Sterner.
I learned 3 lessons that completely changed how I think about productivity and drastically improved my performance.
These lessons are counterintuitive, and totally different to what you would find on the internet.
I use them every day to help me enjoy the process and be the most productive I can be.
Let’s dive in 👇🏾
Instead of focusing energy on getting to the finish line, focus on doing your task right now as best you can.
Use your goal as a guiding star, then focus on the present.
If you’re swimming to an island you can:
Option two is a better use of your energy.
It might sound counterintuitive, but take your time to feel every motion and sense while completing a task.
This helps you get into a flow state, and you’ll find that you spend less time than if you tried to rush every detail of the task.
Remember Derek from the story at the beginning?
He had the same realisation while cycling. He would ride his bike at 100%, head down, sprinting.
He finished exhausted and would get to the end at 43 minutes.
One day he decided to do the same bike ride at 50% of the effort.
His time? 45 minutes.
And this was the best ride he did.
He took in the scenery, saw two dolphins in the water, a pelican flew over him, and he finished relaxed and rejuvenated.
Going at 100% only gave him a 4% boost.
He realised he could take it easy, and get 96% of the results, while enjoying himself.
Humans attach ideas of perfection to everything they do. This can lead to anxiety and frustration while working.
When you start a task, you might think that your work is terrible and can never be at the standard you want.
Let's take a minute to think about this is to think about a flower 🌸
At what point in a flower's life does it reach perfection? When it’s a seed and full of potential? Or when it blooms? Or when it goes back into the soil and nourishes other seeds?
At no point is the flower 'perfect' - and the same goes for any task you are working on.
We carry notions of perfection every day, and they stop us from performing in the here and now.
Nothing starts off perfect, so redefine perfection to mean where you are at right now in your journey or task.
These three lessons have had the biggest impact on my productivity. Follow these and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the process and get more done - just like I did.
And that’s a wrap.
Which of these lessons will you use next time you’re working? Let us know below or on LinkedIn.
A little plug → I find that the best tool for capturing and scheduling tasks is super important to be productive.
I used to write all of my tasks down on pen and paper, but Akiflow lets me streamline task processing and storage easily. It integrates beautifully with emails, Slack and my calendar, easily saving me 5+ hours a week.
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