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I read something recently where someone was bashing the word ‘productivity,’ calling it just another buzz word.  Even if he’s right, to dismiss it as “just another buzz word” would be a mistake.  It’s true that productivity often deals with what you do in a day.  But together, all those days equal your life.  You need to find a productivity definition that works for you, and to me, productivity goes back to the dictionary definition: “Achieving or producing a significant result.”  With your life.

Control is the Secret to Productivity 

But not only to productivity.  Control is the secret to living a life of choice.  To living the life that you want to live.  Specifically, control over your own attention.

Consider this common problem.  Have you ever had the experience of going to work knowing that there were just two or three really

important things you had to get done that day?  They are weighing on you as you start your day, but before you know it, it’s four o’clock, and you’re dismayed (and a little astonished) to discover that you haven’t had a chance to tackle those things yet!  This means you’ve allowed other people dictate your day.  At the micro level, it is detrimental to your productivity.

Now consider a larger scenario:  have you ever reflected at the end of a year, or around New Year’s Day, or on a birthday, and found yourself thinking, “Wow, another year has gone by, and I still haven’t made any real progress on XXX.”  You haven’t gotten the promotion, you didn’t go back to school, you didn’t start the side business, you’ve made no progress on your “bucket list.”  If you’ve ever found yourself a little disappointed that you haven’t made any progress on those life goals that you’ve set for yourself, then you have experienced this lack of control at the macro level.

Control your attention, control your life.

If too much time goes by without your exerting control over your attention, not only does it affect your productivity on a daily basis, but you may eventually realize that your life is not on the track you originally intended.  Your days are the building blocks of your life.  If you manage your attention and what it produces each day, then you can orient your productivity toward the larger, and more rewarding, goals of your life. Attention management is the secret. But first, you need a productivity definition that works for you. You’re welcome to use this one if it works for you. 😉

Thanks for reading!