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The core principle of productivity

March 6, 2015

Since the last year I thought A LOT more than ever about how to get things done. I am actually pretty happy with how I improved my system in the meanwhile. This week I read in “what’s best next” from Matt Perman on “the core principle of productivity”. It hit me somewhat by surprise and thinking about my system I realized that really a lot focusses on efficiency, which is getting stuff done faster. While this is important, it is actually secondary to the core principle of productivity, which is actually effectiveness, which is getting the right thngs done.

Before I just copy some thoughts out of the book here, here is what it made with me: it actually relieved somewhat a lot of pressure on me, this is how I experienced this principle this week. And I hope it will ever sink in more and more in the weeks to come! And also, it was already there somehow in my system, just that it became more crystal clear to me.

“Here it is (and this is now from the book!):

Know what’s most important and put it first.

There are lots of different ways to say this, but that’s the core principle for how to be productive and effective. Like most core ideas, it makes sense when you see it fleshed out and see it applied, which we will do. Here are some other ways to put it:

Rick Warren: “The secret of effectiveness is to know what really counts, then do what really counts, and not worry about the rest.”

Peter Drucker: “If there is any one secret of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time.”

Stephen Covey: “The key… is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

And another quote from the book to what Seth Godin said, when the author interviewed him:

“Godin was intially apprehensive about the concept of time management. He argued that when people talk of having too much to do, it often amounts to “productivity whining” (a term I think he coined during the interview). It’s an excuse, he argued, to avoid having to make the hard decisions of what’s really important and thus what you should do next. Which is exactly, he argued, what the core principle of productivity really is: Decide what really matters AND DO IT. “Once you decide you don’t need to worry about all this other stuff. You can just do the thing you’ve decided is important.” Decide what really matters, and then do it.”

Check the interview with Godin on Youtube:

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