Not Just Another Productivity Hack

The inspiration for this post came from researching ideas for blog posts. Write about a productivity hack! Several blogs said. Everyone wants to be more productive!

So now seems like a good time to inform you: this is not another blog post about productivity. This is a blog post about overcoming deeper things to be productive. I will give you a hint: it’s not time that holds me back.

I have always been organized. I make lists, and then I make lists for my lists, and I get a productivity high when I check boxes. Despite how organized I may seem, I am in fact a normal person. And like most people, I am afraid of failure.

This has the biggest impact on my productivity, and I am guessing it impacts yours as well.

For me, it comes in the form of holding back. I could probably do more, but I am afraid. So I don’t put my whole heart into projects, and I am not surprised when they don’t succeed. But then I can tell myself that I did try (but did I really?). For other people, this takes the form of procrastination. You’re afraid to take action because you are worried you will fail, so you are paralyzed until the last minute.

Unfortunately, planners and sticky notes can’t solve this problem.

The good news is that failure is completely normal. In fact, failure is the key to success. It teaches you lessons that reading simply can’t. Too much preparation is the same as collecting too many underpants. You can keep collecting underpants, but what good does that do you?

Confused by that sentence? This blog post was an eye-opener for me:

So, here is my productivity hack: just do something. Do it and move on. Don’t dwell on mistakes, don’t dwell on what others will think, just start. Done is better than perfect, and failing is better than not trying at all. If you’re still hesitant to get started, set a goal so easy it would be embarrassing to fail. A goal is no good if you don’t actually take steps toward that goal, am I right?

Read more about setting fool-proof goals:

So to send you off, here is a list of some of my favorite quotes about failure.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” -Thomas Edison

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J. K. Rowling

“You always pass failure on your way to success.” —Mickey Rooney

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” -Lance Armstrong

“If we learn from the experience, there is no failure, only delayed victory” -Carrie Chapman

Remember that every time you try again, you are starting from experience.