I constantly find myself sitting down at my computer without a clear agenda and goal in mind only to end up checking everything online that can possibly be checked. My email, my website analytics, my stock portfolio, my social networks, and anything else that may pop into my head at the time. What I find is that I end up using wasting a ton of time because I don’t have any agenda or plan to follow. I could probably get away with checking my email three times per day and checking my analytics and portfolios once or twice per month. I use social networks for a few reasons so the frequency of my using them would depend on the situation. I use them to stay in touch with people, to network, to promote myself and to learn about new features and applications. The point is that myself, along with much of the rest of the world gets lazy when we are in front of a computer.
Productivity is not Measured by Hours
Some people feel productive if they sit in front of a computer all day long and answer a few emails. A great day would be when you participated in a long chain of emails that came to a conclusion. In reality, that “productive” day could have been accomplished in a fraction of the time it took but so much time was wasted between each check of the email that it seems like you never stopped working.
Productivity is measured by accomplishments
For me, a productive day is a day where I waste as little time as possible and accomplish something that will bring me closer to a goal. Sometimes that goal is finishing a project or a major piece of a project for a client or securing a new client altogether. Sometimes it’s doing something to promote myself or my business. No matter what it is, it is measured in accomplishments, not time spent on my computer or number of emails answered.
The same can be applied to your personal time. When you come home from work, do you turn on the TV? Do you go online to surf the net? I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with doing either of these activities but I am saying that you should know what you are getting into. For example, instead of just turning on the TV, consciously decide “I need to relax so I’ll watch 2 shows”. Instead of just going online, decide “I’ll check the news and then see who’s online to talk to for the next 30 minutes”.
Unless… you just want to “waste time”. But, if you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t want to waste time. This blog is about getting lucky and finding opportunity in everything that we do. You can’t find opportunity when you keep doing the same thing over and over. As the Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. When we turn on the TV, we end up watching the same types of shows, often while zoning out. When we spend time on social networks, we end up spending time with the same friends and sharing the same type of content with each other. If you want to get lucky online, participate in new conversations on open networks like Twitter or finding new types of content through sites like StumbleUpon. Just make sure that before you log on, that you decide what you will be doing and for how long you will be doing it. Otherwise you just get sucked in.
If you have an agenda before starting something, even as simple as checking your email, you will end up saving yourself a lot of time that otherwise would have been wasted. Then you can squeeze more activities into your day, be more productive, accomplish much more and get really lucky.Pic: Grahambones