To increase productivity divide your tasks…

Every week jot down all the tasks you have completed over the week. And categorize them as:

1. Tasks that you hate doing and can hire others to do for you.

2. Tasks that you hate doing but cannot delegate to others.

3. Tasks that you like and want to do yourself.

Consolidate these over a period of 2-3 weeks for these task buckets:

  • Tasks in #1  –  Hire someone (Even if it’s a slow start), it will help in the long term.
  • Tasks in #2 –  Build a system where you can work on those tasks while multitasking like watching football matches, listening to music, watching shows, etc.
  • Tasks in #3 – Work with a focus on it and grow yourself, as this is your favorite list of tasks. Become an expert in these.

Race against time…

The value of time is much more critical than the value of money.

Money cannot buy time but time can always outrun money. 

Imagine what we can accomplish today with our knowledge, if we can do that 5 years ago, where we would be today? 

Instead of playing a catching game with time if we can value it now and envisage things in the future, that’s the real wisdom and value of time.

We always regret our past decisions; one of the main reasons for making the wrong decisions is at that moment we don’t value time, don’t value knowledge, and don’t value the effort to put into our decisions. Later we regret the same not even understanding that it is all on us since we couldn’t value the right time and see thru the future to make the right decisions.

So instead of racing against time, let’s value time, let’s value our current diligence to ensure we make the right decisions for our future.

The right problem…

Are you solving the right problem? Or are you solving a problem that is easier or because others are solving it?

If we don’t know the problem how can we find the solution, most of the time that is what is crippling us.

Let’s find the right problem, give 90% of the time to finding the right problem and the solution will fall into place.

Amateur vs Professional

I needed to get my visa photos, first given to a local digital studio, with a lot of “ohs” and “aahs” he gave me the photos, that were rejected. Wasted money and time.

The second time gave it to a professional digital studio, he did the job in half a time, without any fuss, with almost the same costs, and finally got the proper photos for the visa.

That’s the difference between amateur and professional.

An amateur will work hard but still screw the work and will waste time and money.

A professional will do great work, in a much shorter time and might cost a bit more but still be reasonable. 

You can make out a difference even if you are a novice. Like the photos, I can make out the difference.

A professional is born out of an amateur by learning, practicing, and being motivated to do the work, she doesn’t take a shortcut.

An amateur is a beginner who can choose to become a professional but with hard work, dedication, and lots of motivation to strive for better.

It is always better to choose a professional than an amateur as it will save time, and money and will lead to much better quality.

Why are you thinking?

Thinking is considered a waste of time today. 

Imagine, if you found someone sitting alone in a conference room or someplace with no laptop, no devices, with just a pad/pen thinking? What will be your reaction? 

It will be like – “This guy is a nut case, what is he doing?

But he is thinking, reflecting and getting things in perspective or solving a problem.

Thinking, reflecting, and getting deeper into our own consciousness have given human beings all the ideas, inventions, & discoveries around the world. In fact, Einstein used to call it “Thought Experiments” and that’s what gave him his best inventions.

How can someone solve any problem without thinking? “Thinking is the most productive work and that’s what differentiates us from animals”.

But still, we spend much less time “Thinking” nowadays. Here is why we stopped giving importance to “Thinking”:

Its derogatory to make time for thinking

Similar to the above scenario (Sitting alone in a conf room), there are numerous examples, where making time to think is disapproved. What are you thinking? Why are you thinking? These questions are asked more as criticizing the person as if thinking is a crime.

The person who wants alone time to think is considered anti-social. 

Instead of thinking you should be working or discussing with colleagues etc. Should be doing something productive, why are you wasting time on thinking :). To hell with that – “Thinking” is the most productive work one can do.

Too many distractions 

When was the last time you sat down for 20 minutes without doing anything, without mobile/laptop, without TV, without any distractions? 

Before the mobile or internet era, at least while traveling, we use to enjoy scenes and in the process think & reflect. Nowadays because of mobile (or a device), we listen to sound bites, watch movies, chatting, texting in media, or on calls. 

Can we sit in a room for 20-30 minutes without distractions? When do we have time to think?

Can’t be alone, thinking is so boring, makes us uncomfortable

We can’t be in solitude today. Flexing our thinking muscles makes us fidget and cannot do it for long.

Our excuse is we always have more exciting things to do.

Yes, thinking is boring initially, but as you do more often, you start enjoying it. Thinking is a conversation you are having with yourself, how can it be boring? 

It’s just that we lost our thinking cap because it’s considered unnecessary.

Thinking is replaced by copying others or social pressures to conform

Most of our life is spent analyzing & copying peers or doing things under social pressure. What are they doing? What others will say? etc.

Hence most of our decisions are already made by others. Look at your decisions, it’s driven by peers or neighbors or social rules. Yes, I agree, there is nothing wrong with being influenced. But in most cases instead of reflecting whether it is good or bad for us, we just copy or follow.

Copying is easier so why think? But as we mature and reflect on our decisions, we realize that most of what we copied or followed without thinking was not right for us.

The world does not want us to think

In today’s “materialistic world” no one wants us to think, Govt, Companies, Big brands, Social media. In fact, they want us to stop thinking and just listen to them, consume what they say, buy what they want, do what they say.

Look at it from their perspective, if all the decisions you take has to be taken by your independent thinking, will you never keep buying unnecessarily. Nope, if you reflect, pause and think why I am doing this? You will stop it and will become more sensible.

They don’t want us to think but to react, that’s what benefits them the mosts.

So how to get back to thinking

It’s simple – “Start thinking”. We all are culprits of not thinking enough, not analyzing enough, and let life happen to us in a zombie mode.

So relax and start thinking, let it grow on you. Make thinking time, take being alone time and be in solitude for some time daily. Let’s remove all the distractions while thinking, switch off everything else.

Thinking can be in different forms: 

• It can mean introspection, 

• It can mean sustained reading or writing. 

• It can mean the concentration of focused work alone.

• It is something where you brain is driving instead of being driven.

Thinking is the most productive work, and the more you do it..the better you become at life and enjoy doing it!

It’s the People…

It’s the People

People are the foundation of any company’s success. The primary job of each manager is to help people be more effective in their job and to grow and develop. We have great people who want to do well, are capable of doing great things, and come to work fired up to do them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies that energy. Managers create this environment through support, respect, and trust. 

Support means giving people the tools, information, training, and coaching they need to succeed. It means continuous effort to develop people’s skills. Great managers help people excel and grow. 

Respect means understanding people’s unique career goals and being sensitive to their life choices. It means helping people achieve these career goals in a way that’s consistent with the needs of the company. 

Trust means freeing people to do their jobs and to make decisions. It means knowing people want to do well and believing that they will.

— Trillion Dollar Coach

Performance Goal vs Learning Goal

Getting an A in French class is a performance goal. Being able to speak French is a learning goal.

Both goals can fuel acheivement.

A performance goal (Getting higher grades) is effective for relatively straightforward problems but often inhibits one to apply the concepts to a new situation.

It gives a feeling of entitlement, If I clear IIT (A prestigious engineering exam) I am entitled to the bests in life (Which is far from true).

Performance goal leads to the entity theory, If I do this, I will get this. And is a system that requires a diet of successes otherwise we give up easily on the goal (Or change the goal). As it’s more extrinsic than intrinsic.

People, therefore, choose easy targets that, when hit, affirm their existing abilities but do little to expand them.

In Learning goals, one doesn’t have to feel that they’re already good at something in order to hang in and keep trying. After all, their goal is to learn, not to prove they’re smart.

It is more in the belief that ability is malleable and working harder is a way to keep getting better and better.

Given a choice between the two, always go for the learning goal, as it’s much more fulfilling and rewarding than the performance goal.