The Top 3 Things You Can Do to Improve Productivity and Sanity at Work
Everyone seems to be writing list-based articles about the Top (insert number) things people can do to produce a single result. We humans must like to read them. So, with hypocrisy at its finest, I guess I’ll be like everyone else. The top 3 things you can do to improve productivity and sanity while you’re at work:
Tip #1 to Improve Productivity: Be yourself
Are you a Project Manager? Entrepreneur? Developer? Designer? CEO? Sorry, but these are titles—not identities. If you identify your title with who you are, then this article is for you, and we all can’t wait for you to get back to being Bob or Jane or whatever your name is. Your occupation is just that: something you do. Not who you are. There is a difference, you see.
How does being yourself improve productivity? Greatly. Think about musicians. Why is it that the first and second albums a band produces so often end up being the only good ones? Why is the earlier work of so many artists the only output worth whatever fame they have and are trying to hold onto? I would argue that these works were made when they were people, and the crap that followed was made by musicians. Initially, they were humans with thoughts, feelings and the talent to express them. After everyone (themselves included) realized how well they did what they did, they slowly morphed into musicians, artists, singers, rock stars, etc. Instead of people making music, they became musicians making music, and their creativity became inbred. There’s a funny process that happens when a person discovers that they’re good at something:
Stage 1. They attempt to grow in their gift. It’s a humble and true endeavor, and they get better at it.
Stage 2. They bliss themselves out with the euphoria of their skill in sharpening action and begin to identify with it.
Stage 3. The tragedy of triumph: they stop being who they are to become what they do.
What does it prosper to gain the world and lose your soul? Many would make the trade in a heartbeat, but what if it actually made you worse at what you do?
Tip #2 to Improve Productivity: Be yourself
Stop being Clark Kent. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Believe it or not, so and so is actually a pretty cool person. You just have to get to know him outside of work.” Who wants to hang with someone outside of work to find out that he’s a nice guy if he’s a jerk at work? If he actually is a nice guy, then who the hell is this impostor that you have to deal with everyday?
Study after study reveals a link between state of mind, motivation and productivity. You want to improve productivity for yourself? You want to improve productivity for the people who work for you? It all starts with a state of mind. If you really are a nice chap, then, for heaven’s sake, BE ONE AT WORK! If you really are a jerk, then be one at the company Christmas party too.
Tip #3 to Improve Productivity: Be yourself
Being yourself liberates others to do the same. It’s clear that our thought and speech excels when we’re with other people who make us feel comfortable. When I’m at Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I’m a smooth operator. I’m witty, funny, sharp and sometimes even pleasant. As soon as I’m around a person who doesn’t know me and I don’t know them—especially someone I want to impress—I can be like a nervous kid on a date, tongue-tied, inarticulate and unintellectual. Improving productivity is about getting all cylinders firing and that takes a warm current of comfort flowing from person to person.
So, whether it’s a man or a woman with your name laying your head down at night and waking up in the morning, or if it’s a CEO living in your body, think about it: Your productivity is pointless unless you are the one being productive. Keep it real, yo.