Category Archives: Business skills

Hard Work vs Productivity (and how to be more productive)

Diligence and hard work are not the same as productivity. Only if they are under the auspices of productivity – which above all implies a high degree of clarity about what you want to achieve (clarity regarding ‘ultimate vision’) and an awareness of whether a particular decision and activity you are taking in the direction of your ‘ultimate vision’ – diligence and hard work make sense, because ‘if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.’”

***

(Extract from ‘Top 7 Mistakes New Mindfulness Coaches Make (and How to Avoid Them)‘ by Tomislav Tomic)

As soon as you have a tendency for starting your own coaching business, I have no doubt that you are a diligent and hardworking person. As far as I can see in everyday practice, most small entrepreneurs are quite “workaholic” and often act as if they were calibrated to work until they were completely exhausted.

In other words, they often act as if their productivity depends primarily on their diligence and hard work.

However, diligence and hard work are not at the same time a guarantee of productivity. You can work all day, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that you will achieve the desired business results.

There is a wonderful thought by Stephen Covey that says:

“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

In other words, productivity involves, first and foremost, creating a high level of clarity on the direction we are heading as well as the “ultimate vision” of where we ultimately want to get. And only when it is completely clear to us “where” we want to be (the “ultimate vision”) can we begin to make meaningful plans and strategies that will support our path toward our desired goals. And only then can we judge whether a particular decision or activity leads us in the direction we want to go or not.

“Productivity involves, first and foremost, creating a high level of clarity on the direction we are heading as well as the ‘ultimate vision’ of where we ultimately want to get. And only when it is completely clear to us ‘where’ we want to be (the ‘ultimate vision’) can we begin to make meaningful plans and strategies that will support our path toward our desired goals. And only then can we judge whether a particular decision or activity leads us in the direction we want to go or not.

Without this clarity, your diligence and hard work, by themselves, will not only not be of much use to you, but also can become one of the key factors that will ruin your job, marriage/relationship, social life, health, as well as your entire life enthusiasm.

***

Apart from the high level of clarity of the direction in which we are going, the “ultimate vision” where we want to go, productivity requires a high level of our focus, or rather, our complete attention.

We live in the age of information and at every turn, someone or something is trying to “usurp” a portion of our attention. Our attention has become very fragile and we find it difficult to keep focused. Due to the constant “bombardment” with various information from all sides, we have become chronically distracted and absent – which inevitably causes great stress and pressure and general job dissatisfaction and loss of motivation. Scientific research shows that 46,9% of our time at work is spent absent and distracted.

Full attention (which is a necessary prerequisite for strong focus) becomes, as the famous American professor Thomas Davenport says in his famous book, “The Attention Economy,” a new “currency” that we definitely need to invest the time and energy into as it becomes necessary not only as one of the key factors of our productivity but also as a key item for a happy and fulfilling life.[1]

Unfortunately, in the minds of many Mindfulness coaches, the concept of “productive person” is connected to a person who is often absent and distracted, works all day, has no time for him or herself, and is constantly exposed to great stress and pressure. I fear that is the fate of every entrepreneur (including Mindfulness coaches) if he or she doesn’t begin to think in time and reject the dangerous philosophy of “distraction and absence” that many blindly follow.

***

In addition, productivity requires clearly defined priorities and plenty of time for creative thinking.

Productivity requires a focus on small details and extremely high flexibility so that we can change our usual direction and way of doing business as soon as we get the smallest signal that there is a better and more efficient option.

Productivity requires enough free time to spend with ourselves and the people who matter to us.

Productivity requires the allocation of time for activities that literally nourish our soul – in the absence of which our life motivation inevitably decreases.

Productivity requires that we have the necessary detachment in our head to think the thought we often think, the emotions we often feel, and activities we often repeat from time to time to analyze from different angles and constantly try to find better and more practical solutions.

Productivity demands that we dare to think with our own heads – even when everyone else around us tells us differently – and listen to our own intuition.

***

Another important reason why many new Mindfulness coaches identify diligence and hard work with productivity and, in principle, work until they are completely exhausted, is the emotion of USEFULNESS they necessarily begin to feel after consuming the work energy they have available.

However, do not let the emotion of usefulness fool you because it is mostly a mere biochemical process in your brain that does not necessarily have anything to do with productivity. For example, when our brain “estimates” that we are exhausted enough, to protect us from burning out and losing necessary energy supplies, it begins to excrete hormones such as dopamine which first gives us a short-term sense of well-being, and then we begin to feel “useful” – as if we have done something important and need to (read: give yourself the right) “reward” ourselves with rest and relaxation.

Try to do anything to the point of exhausting yourself (for example, building a small drywall, then demolish it, then rebuild it, then break it again… until you are completely exhausted 😊) and then after that you will, thanks to dopamine, feel “useful” and you will have the need to “reward” yourself for your efforts and give yourself the right to rest and relaxation. 

“Try to do anything to the point of exhausting yourself (for example, building a small drywall, then demolish it, then rebuild it, then break it again… until you are completely exhausted) and then after that you will, thanks to dopamine, feel ‘useful’ and you will have the need to ‘reward’ yourself for your efforts and give yourself the right to rest and relaxation.” 

As you can see, this has nothing to do with productivity but with the natural mechanism of self-protection.

So, diligence and hard work are not the same as productivity. Only if they are under the auspices of productivity – which above all implies a high degree of clarity about what you want to achieve (clarity regarding “ultimate vision”) and an awareness of whether a particular decision and activity you are taking in the direction of your “ultimate vision” – diligence and hard work make sense, because “if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

“So, diligence and hard work are not the same as productivity. Only if they are under the auspices of productivity – which above all implies a high degree of clarity about what you want to achieve (clarity regarding ‘ultimate vision’) and an awareness of whether a particular decision and activity you are taking in the direction of your ‘ultimate vision’ – diligence and hard work make sense, because ‘if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.’”

(Extract from ‘Top 7 Mistakes New Mindfulness Coaches Make (and How to Avoid Them)‘ by Tomislav Tomic)


[1] The term “Attention Management” is increasingly used in blogs and publications published by Harvard Business School, as well as many other reputed business schools. There are a growing number of companies in the world that regularly provide Mindfulness training for their managers and employees – Volvo, Xerox, Yahoo, Toyota, eBay, IKEA, Deutsche Bank, American Express, Societe Generale, Nike, Google, IBM, Reebok, Starbucks, etc.

How To Avoid One of The Biggest Mistakes New Mindfulness Coaches Make

“One of the biggest mistakes that new Mindfulness coaches make is that they value their work significantly more than is necessary!”

***

At first glance, this may sound strange to you, but I find that many Mindfulness coaches value their work significantly more than is necessary. If work was, by itself, such an important factor in success, then all those who work hard would be very successful. Unfortunately, as you can infer, this is not the case. There are a lot of people who are literally wearing themselves out, but the success they desire is constantly being bypassed.

I’ll explain what I mean by that…

You are now reading this e-book because you think there is something interesting in it that may be helpful to you to grow and improve your business. In other words, you are devoting your time (which you would have used differently) to read this e-book because it represents a certain VALUE for you. It is very likely that you feel that you will find some information in it that will indicate that you are doing something wrong in your business and will be able to correct it.

However, realistically, you are not interested in how long it took me to write it, you are not interested in whether I wrote it during daytime or nighttime, you are not interested in whether I found it difficult or easy to write and you are not interested in whether I had to neglect various things so that I could take time to discipline myself and focus on writing or not.

You are only interested in the VALUE you get or can get with the ideas this e-book offers you (VALUE = the benefit or final outcome your customers will gain by using your products or services). If you feel it gives you a certain VALUE, you will keep reading it. If you determine that you don’t get any special VALUE reading it, you will simply stop reading it. And that’s it!

“You are not interested in how long it took me to write this e-book, you are not interested in whether I wrote it during daytime or nighttime, you are not interested in whether I found it difficult or easy to write and you are not interested in whether I had to neglect various things so that I could take time to discipline myself and focus on writing or not. You are only interested in the VALUE you get or can get with the ideas this e-book offers you. If you feel it gives you a certain VALUE, you will keep reading it. If you determine that you don’t get any special VALUE reading it, you will simply stop reading it. And that’s it!”

So, do not fall for the idea of considering yourself to be more serious, better and more professional of a person just because you work all day and work hard, give your best and always go one step further because, except for people who care about you, nobody else cares. The world owes you nothing for working so much.

***

You are in private business or you will be soon and you (no longer) have a boss or CEO who needs to like you and who you need to prove that you care about your job to. You don’t have to pretend you work a lot just so your supervisor doesn’t think you should be given some extra work. Your CEO and your boss are your CLIENTS.

However, your clients are interested in something entirely different. Your clients (or potential clients) are interested in the VALUE you offer and according to that VALUE they will decide whether to buy something or continue buying from you or not.

If they assess that they are getting a good VALUE from you, it’s very likely they will want to continue doing business with you. Otherwise, they will look for VALUE elsewhere (read: they will fire you).

Therefore, when thinking about creating VALUE, forget about your ego and “me,” “myself” and “I” and focus primarily on your clients and their desires, needs and problems.

Instead of thinking about how you go “to work” or “working”, practice telling yourself how you’re going to CREATE VALUE FOR YOUR CLIENTS. Make it your new business mantra ☺ that will regularly shape your outlook on business and creating of products or services.

“Instead of thinking about how you go “to work” or ‘working’, practice telling yourself how you’re going to CREATE VALUE FOR YOUR CLIENTS. Make it your new business mantra that will regularly shape your outlook on business and creating of products or services.”

***

As long as you are in a private business and have the attitude of a person who works for a paycheck or is a part of some “collective,” you are inhibiting yourself and your potential and unnecessarily wasting valuable time that you could use much more meaningfully and productively.

If you entered entrepreneurial waters, it is important to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and a way of looking at the world as soon as possible. The old saying says that without tool there is no craft. As a small entrepreneur, your attitude is one of your most important “tools.”

Your CEO and boss are your clients. They are completely selfish and are only interested in VALUE they will receive. You are completely irrelevant to them. Make them happy and you will be happier about it yourself!

“Your CEO and boss are your clients. They are completely selfish and are only interested in VALUE they will receive. You are completely irrelevant to them. Make them happy and you will be happier about it yourself!

(Extract from ‘Top 7 Mistakes New Mindfulness Coaches Make (and How to Avoid Them)‘ by Tomislav Tomic)