Yesterday I posted on a basic productivity idea, which in its generalized for goes like this. Get your best use out of time proximity. The closer in time you are to an event, the more you understand about it. Use that proximity before you lose it. There is a second idea which may be even more important. And I felt a bit guilty about not mentioning it yesterday. Here it is. Get your best use out of engagement.
You might notice that I did not just suggest that you find engagement (or as Joe Campbell use to say “follow your bliss”). That is a nice starting point, and BTW Dan Pink has a lot to say about what motivates us to get engaged.
But you have to be careful to avoid confusing being engaged with being productive. Why? Because worshiping at the altar of engagement makes you vulnerable to killer distractions. In the working world it can lead to adrenaline addiction. As a former litigator, I know the signs and effects. It is not pretty.
So how to avoid the confusion? I would make a distinction between two types of engagement. The first is to be engaged in what is happening right here and now. This engages the right side of the brain and connects you in a fulfilling way (which was why back in the 1970’s Ram Das started saying “Be here now“). You get a sense of the creative energy that this releases from Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED video about what happened to her when she had a brain hemorrhage in the left side of her brain. Being a brain researcher gave her unique insights to the value of opening up to the right side of the brain.
Ok - so engagement is about getting the right side of the brain to play along with what is happening. Not so fast. There is a second type of engagement, or right side playing along. That is to be engaged in something that does not exist - yet. To visualize and connect with a result that you yearn for in the future. This type of engagement leads to a very different type of behavior pattern. The first type of engagement gives connection. The second type gives productivity.
So - if you want to be more productive, you might start by visualizing and engaging with who you want to be. Commit to it. Then the work to realize it will get a lot easier. You will get more creative in becoming more productive. We might call this “vision plus”. Vision is the seeing part. The plus is the commitment part that engages the right side of the brain. BTW, this takes us back to the lesson I posted about a while ago on learning. Making a long term commitment to a result led to a 400% improvement from training .
FOLLOW - Want to be an entrepreneur? Then take one more step from the above. Start visualizing what other people are passionate about becoming and give them the path to get there. Shopify has a nice checklist that applies this wisdom to selecting products to sell via ecommerce.
2d FOLLOW - Steve Jobs had vision plus in spades and he knew it. So when he asked himself whether he cared enough about Apple to return there as CEO, he was referring to whether he had a commitment to a vision about where it could go. He did and he made it happen. Wow!