Browse through your favorite app store and you will find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of app based around productivity.
Most people have a desire to be more productive. We all want to get more done in less time. As a result, we download calendar apps, task manager apps, fitness app, and apps for tracking just about everything in our lives. We busy ourselves with planning, and then get upset with ourselves when we don’t execute that plan perfectly.
Our productivity, or lack of productivity, boils down to one word; discipline.
When we were kids, discipline was all about not doing the wrong thing. You might have even received marks on your report card specifically for how good or bad you were at not doing the wrong thing.
Don’t get out of your seat.
Don’t get out of line.
Don’t speak without raising your hand.
If we could not do what we weren’t supposed to do, then de facto, we were doing what we were supposed to do. It had nothing to do with how good we were at actually getting work done. That was reflected in our grade for the class. If I didn’t get my math homework done because I was too busy watching cartoons after school, then that had nothing to do with my discipline. I could get a C in the class, but, “Rob was a joy to have in class.” I was allowed to fail as long as I followed all the rules.
As adults, we don’t talk about discipline in the same way. Now, discipline is all about getting things done. We want to be more disciplined at being productive; getting more done at work, eating well, working out, pursuing a hobby or passion, spending time with our kids, learning another language, etc.
We read about amazing people who get more done in a day than we can in a week, and we want to be the same way. So we say to ourselves, “Starting Monday, I am going to be more like [that person].”
By Tuesday you are deflated and depressed because something came up on Monday; the alarm didn’t go off, the kids got sick, the boss dumped a new project on you, you forgot about the PTA meeting after school.
Life keeps getting in the way of you living your life.
By the end of the week, you’ve done nothing that you set out to do.
From my life, my observations, and my conversations with other people, I’ve come to the realization that we focus way too much on what needs to get done, and not enough on the why behind getting things done. I recently heard someone say something along these lines;
When the vision is clear, the discipline is there.
When we start asking ourselves why we are doing what we are doing, then getting things done gets easier.
Why do you want to get more done at work?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want to eat well?
Why do you want to learn another language?
Why do you want to pursue a hobby or passion?
Defining the why helps us to see our future more clearly. When we put all these whys together, we get a glimpse of what our ideal life could look like. The more clearly we define our why, the better chance we have at getting the little things done that bring us closer to our goals.
All of the sudden, you can get out of bed earlier in the morning than you ever have because you know why it is so important for you to do so. You understand why you are sweating harder that you ever have, why you are saying no to office birthday cake, or drinking a homemade juice rather than a soda. You know why you are skipping PTA meetings, or backing out of other responsibilities that don’t fit into your, or your family’s, why.
While calendars and ToDo lists are important reminders of what we need to accomplish each day, making the time to define your why will help everything else fall into place.
What’s your why?