In This Episode…
Over a couple of recent episodes of the podcast, I have talked about the need to focus on the process of developing my productivity. I have set my “outcome goals” for 2020 but not identified what my “process goals” need to be.
In this episode I talk about how the lack of one particularly important process has been holding me back and what I have been doing it today. It has certainly been an interesting, rewarding, frustrating and occasionally demanding day for me.
Episode Transcript (Edited)…
Hi. Welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?
Now, today’s episode is going to be called “Indulging In Process Development, A Day Of Sharpening The Saw”. Let me give you some background to this episode. In episode 184 my weekly review, I reflected on the Stephen Covey sharpen the saw story and talked about as well as making progress on my outcome goals, I also need to develop my own abilities to achieve those goals.
In episode 175 before Christmas I gave a list of the things I was going to focus on in terms of my productivity development. The first item on that list was getting clear on my 2020 goals, which I have done. The second item on that list was to revitalise my planning and review process, which again in light of me setting my goals, I’ve also done .
The third and fourth items on that list of things to do from that episode was get clear on my research and development approach to developing the content ideas that I’m going to put together and also a way of capturing the ideas that come out of the research that I do.
So why is that important? Well, I’m in the information business. I take useful information, I apply it and then share it with other people. And so it’s a good working practice to develop an approach to updating my knowledge and my skills as a result of that knowledge.
So being able to effectively take and filter a lot of information from a variety of sources is a good skill and a good process to have. So aspirationally, that’s why I want to do this. But more importantly what’s happened is that I have been doing that because that’s how I’ve developed my skills and knowledge that I’ve got so far. But I’ve not been doing it very well.
I’ve got collections of mind maps all over the place. I’ve got Evernote notes with random type written ideas and bits and pieces. I’ve got scans of PDF and I’ve got bits of paper all over the place. In fact it’s quite a randomised mess.
Also, with the volume of the stuff I have to go through, I feel I’m missing something. I’ve got 60 books on personal productivity alone. Most of them I’ve read, some several times, some I’ve scanned through, some I’ve not even got to yet.
And I’m convinced I’m missing something from that information. And that’s just the books. It doesn’t take into account the podcasts or the PDFs I’ve got, or the websites I’m aware of – there’s a whole load of stuff there. And with all that information, it is somewhat overwhelming.
I think the lack of focus I’ve had is also contributed to this being a problem for me. I think it was Tony Robbins who said, “in absence of direction, everything becomes relevant”. And with so much coming at me, I don’t know what to choose and what to ignore.
So all of this has been holding me back in being able to comfortably and effectively and efficiently move forward in achieving the goals I have set myself. So what I thought I’d do today is I would focus on doing that. Now this wasn’t on my plan because the plan I’ve created so far is about my outcome objectives – things I want to achieve by the end of this year. I haven’t set any process goals.
Now, part of the reason for that is because I’m not quite sure what the limitations of my abilities are because I haven’t hit the boundaries of them yet. And as I move forward, I know I’m going to have to develop new skills and new knowledge, but I just don’t know what that new skills and acquisition of new knowledge is going to be until I hit a barrier, or hit a challenge. And so that’s why they’re not on that plan.
So what I’ve done is I’ve adapted and I’ve prioritised my efforts today to put in place, or at least define what I need to do, what I need to capture so I can become more efficient at taking in information, processing it and doing something with it that supports my goals.
Now I’ve made it today’s only focus hoping that it would get done today, but as you would have seen from Sunday’s review episode, I have underestimated this task like I did a previous one.
So let me just talk a little bit about the progress I’ve made so far on it today. So at the moment is just gone 9:00 PM in the evening when I’m recording this. And I spent pretty much most of the day on it. Now at times it has felt quite laboured. Things have just gone really, really slowly.
And then towards the end of today, there’s been this flurry of progress where all of a sudden I’ve just created all sorts of ideas and structures and processes.
Now, my approach has been this. When I first started this, I got a big piece of paper, I got my coloured pens out, and I started just mapping out the information I had available to me so I could start to piece this together.
I started asking myself what is the problem? And then I thought, okay, well that’s the problem. Okay, well why do I want and why do I need information? What am I going do with the information and how does that fit in with the context of my 2020 goals. I captured questions that suddenly arose, I captured ideas and also did a quick audit of the resources that I’ve got.
I sorted the information that I wanted and I captured the formats I needed to process. I got clear on the topics and I began defining my process.
Now what was really interesting today was for a while I was paralysed in not knowing what to do. I think this was a manifestation of some of the aspects of a fixed mindset, which I know I still have. I think I was trying to look for the right answer and rather than get something “wrong”, I was waiting for the right answer to come along.
But I realised that isn’t how it works.
The thing that really helped me move forward was when I got really clear on my purpose, what I wanted the information for and what information I would need. Once I got that, things started to flow.
Now there was a great degree of incubation time. I had a bit of a nap while I was still mulling this over and I was walking around my apartment backwards and forwards thinking about this stuff.
I have a standing desk and none of this was done sitting down. I have a big white board and I was making all these drawings, and then all of a sudden the ideas flowed and there was just this outpouring and deluge of ideas and structure and process.
Now, I still haven’t finished that. So what I’m going to have to do tomorrow is I’m going to have to allocate tomorrow to complete that and get that set up in place. I’m hoping it’ll only take half a day, but if it doesn’t I’ll take all day. If it takes a third day, that’s not important because I know I need to have this in place, and once I’ve got this in place, I know I will have nudged my effectiveness and productivity and what I’m trying to achieve just that little bit further forward.
I’ll have created an efficiency and I’ll have created an effectiveness according to my pyramid of personal productivity,.
So that ‘s today’s episode.