Since I began publishing this blog, I have had quite a few conversations about personal productivity. I have had the opportunity to listen to people talk about their productivity challenges. Occasionally, I have also heard how someone applied something they read on my blog and how it helped them in their lives. Through all this, I have kept wondering why do people struggle to be more productive.
Based on what I hear all the time, a lot of people want to change their lives. Many people have hopes, wishes and dreams. Yet personal productivity seems to be a skill that is really lacking. It’s one of those things I wish schools would teach.
I have had time to think about it. In my own opinion (and in no order of importance), I believe people aren’t as productive as they could be because:
Easy access to distractions via technology
Technology has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has provided greater tools for collaboration, goal-setting and time management. On the other hand, it has just as easily provided easy access to distractions. Our cellphones have saved us from boredom at the cost of consuming our focus. It’s far easier to check social media and play the latest mobile game than to contemplate a personal development plan. Endless popups and breaking news flashes means it only takes a beep for the average person to become trapped in the world of cyberspace.
A lot of people are really not sure what they want. They have vague notions and ideas about the kind of person they’d want to be or the type of activities they ought to be doing but they never give these ideas more than a passing thought. Most people don’t have goals. What they have are wishes. A goal without a plan is a wish. Until one becomes willing to think about their goals and put down their thoughts in writing, they are not likely to get them achieved.
Boredom and difficulty
Have you ever tried playing a video game with the difficulty set to Nightmare? How long did you continue playing? For the average person, the level of difficulty that makes a video game fun during the initial playthrough is somewhere between normal and hard. Goals have to be at just the right level of difficulty to challenge you. If they are too easy, you quickly become bored and lose interest. If they are too difficult, you give in to despair and give up.
Leaving important tasks late
One of the first principles of productivity is getting important tasks done before the deadline. Naturally, this also means getting important tasks done even when there is no threat of punishment. Productive people get the job done even without a supervisor breathing down their neck. If you look around an average office environment, you discover the ability to be a self-starter is rare indeed.
Those are my thoughts. It’d be nice to hear from others on what they think stops more people from being productive. If you’d like to share your thoughts, just drop a comment below.