Jennifer Louden of Life Organizer fame tagged me in a conversation on productivity started by Ben Yoskovitz.
This is a particularly timely conversation as I’ve spent the past four months de-cluttering, clarifying, simplifying, and cleaning in the service of getting my groove back. Along the way I got help from Adam Kayce, whose Inspired Productivity teleclass provided a sort of touchstone for the process. I also felt the support of Nicole Mertes, whose Miracle Projects were a large part of clearing inner space.
I’ve been thinking about productivity for over 40 years, and the possibilities for this post included musings on Newton’s Third Law, depression and addiction, responsibility, creativity, Process Work, The Work of Byron Katie, and… Well, you get my drift.
I’ve settled on what I feel is the central obstacle to productivity: fear.
Some years back I wrote a short book about Getting Free from Fear. It lays out a simple and effective program for undoing the fears that keep you from getting things done.
Before you download it, stop and ask yourself what fears are in the way of your productivity. It may be harder to pin them down than you might expect.
Thanks to decades of pop psychology and self-improvement movements, it’s quite possible that the fears that keep you from being productive hover just under your radar, so to speak. If you’ve been raised on a diet of “feel the fear and do it anyway” and “just do it,” you may automatically reject or minimize your fear.
In that event, here’s a neat trick. Draw a stick figure with a speech bubble above its head. Letting the figure speak for you, record its fears in the bubble. Voila! Provided you accept the simple thoughts that arise, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
By the way, one of the most pernicious ways that fear blocks productivity is not what it prevents you from doing but what it tempts you to do. Saying yes to the wrong work, volunteering to the point of depletion, and competitive shopping are just a few of the ways that fear can divert your energy and enthusiasm from your real work to the work of chasing love, appreciation, and approval. The best remedy for that is The Work.