I am not the productivity guy

in Business, Productivity

I’ve just got to know that I’m not the Productivity Guy

Oh yeah productivity… that really fell flat on my face… After experiencing a whirlwind in the first quarter of 2016 –  sauced with many ups & downs – that is the “raw” diagnosis I’ve got myself :/

I’m not yet sure if this is time to be sad or happy, because I’m kinda still ‘surfing this wave’…

That tipping point of understanding came about after taking the dip into a piece on purpose-driven productivity by Benjamin Hardy referred from my friend Lilian Klemz.

Yes, that was the ultimate push off the cliff I needed to realize that I’ve been ‘off course’ or at least ‘drifting’ much more that I would like for a long while. Actually… for all those years of my existence on earth so far.

Holy cow.. this is not overstating and you’ll get to know why…

So, in this post I’m going to share all little tiny events, reads & insights I’ve been exposed to before this tipping point came in and where I locate myself now.

And that is how it all begins…

End of Q4 2015 | 7 months @Resultados Digitais

I’ve been invited for our CEO Eric Santos to gather efforts on crafting a productivity playbook for the Resultados Digitais Team upon a blogpost I’ve written on productivity for RD’s marketing blog.

Since then, I’ve had the honor to be approached by a number of RDoers  as for helping them with their productivity challenges. In short, sorta became the “productivity guy” around.

Of course, I felt really appreciated for my needs for sharing, appreciation & recognition were being met by then.

As Q1 2016 came into stage

I was so energetic to make things happen and to deliver more.

In that sense, I’ve got involved in a good bit of initiatives (at least for me). Those were:

  1. [Team project] Helping to design the Success Milestones and the Inbound Marketing Journey for RD Clients
  2. [Comarketing] Leading an eBook initiative with Gainsight
  3. [Volunteering] Teaching Shivam Yoga Classes to my colleagues @ RD
  4. [Extra Team Project] Studying and writing initial drafts for RD’s Productivity Playbook
  5. [Mentoring] Digital Marketing weekly based challenges for honing skills
  6. [Experiment] Testing out a trigger for reducing cancelation of onboarding appointments
  7. [Personal Project] Blogging for MathiasLuz.com

Maybe, this is amount of projects is too few or too many for you. I don’t mean to show off anything.

The matter of fact, is that as I was looking thoroughly over that list a déjà-vu like intuition came across my mind…

Something inside of me was sparkling an alert notification…

Out of nothing, there started a background talk in my mind between two opposite old acquaintances of mine : my higher and lower self.

The Mind Trial: Higher Self VS Lower Self

Good vs. Evil by Sean Davis

Good vs. Evil by Sean Davis

Higher Self😇 : Oh boy, looks like you’re taking a heavier burden than you can bare up. You risking your mental, physical and emotional balance. Without them, your deliveries may be too shallow or sloppy. How are you going to stand up for excellence & quality?

Lower Self 😈Man, do not worry this much about that, because you’ll keep things up and running. What matters is that in the end you’ll find a way to make ends meet as always, right Mathias? 

After all, you’re the “productivity” guy, aren’t you?

Higher Self😇 : Dude, but you aren’t taking into account a 20-30%  delay error margin on your deliveries. You know that you tend to overestimate your performance. 

On the top of that, you are not considering the emergencies arousing from all of that commitments that ought to add up more stress into your routine.

Not to mention the urgencies from your main delivery as a Customer Onboarding Manager (onboarding clients and reviewing their activities) – which by the way is already a real challenge for you to keep your  energy levels up!

Customer Service & Sales Professionals know what I talking about.  The chances are that everytime a client comes up with ‘out of scope’ demand , there you have a mental darkhole inside your mind.

Lower Self 😈 : Boy, don’t even give a heck about that.  You’re the super man of productivity. You only need 6-7 hours of sleep to jump out of your bed at 4:30-5 a.m.!!

You’re awesome! Aren’t you relentless enough to find your way through? If the agenda goes wrong, aren’t the weekends for that?

End of Trial

Guess who won the parole?

The Lower Self 😈 is a Real Tempting & Smooth Guy

As I made the decision to listen to him, the quarter had started.  In the very beginning of it, all was being fine. My energy levels high, all under control.

I even felt so proud and smart for giving ears to my Lower Self, making the ‘right decision’, and carrying this many of responsibilities.

However…

It didn’t last too long…

HourGlass by Nick Olejniczak

HourGlass by Nick Olejniczak

Feb came in and I felt like in a turmoil. I simply lost my sense of control over my routine and my mid-long term goals.

I felt so overwhelmed for a sum of events amassed in form of a excess workload I did not know how to couple with.

Due to our Sales Team record performance amongst other variables, the Onboarding Team had a general stress with the greater workload in our lap.

In other words, we were making 5-7 onboarding calls a day, 2-3 more than the usual workload of 3-4 appointments a day.

Not to mention couple of urgencies I’m not able to recall specifically, although I’m convinced we all know they exist.

So, to keep up with the above-mentioned initiatives, I chose to go to office and to work on weekends too..

Then, I lost control of my weekly review that I used to do usually on Sunday morning – time in which I assess my performance and advances in the previous week, identify improvements, and set my priorities for the next one.

End result:

  • [Team project] Helping to design the Success Milestones and the Inbound Marketing Journey for RD Clients
    • Half delivered 😑 (VP of CS Guilherme Lopes has potentially saved me from burnout as reducing my workload in the project. Thank you so much Gui for your active listening and compassion.)
  • [Comarketing] Leading an eBook initiative with Gainsight
    • To be delivered😞 Translation already done, but not on air yet.
  • [Volunteering] Teaching Shivam Yoga Classes to my colleagues @ RD
    • Delivered. (If it wasn’t for those yoga/meditation practices, maybe I would’ve gone crazy now)
  • [Extra Team Project] Studying and writing initial drafts for RD’s Productivity Playbook
    • To be delivered 😞 Initial Drafts and book reading already set, but scope still to be defined.
  • [Mentoring] Digital Marketing weekly based challenges for honing skills
  • [Experiment] Testing out a trigger for reducing cancelation of onboarding appointments
    • To be delivered 😞 (I’m ashamed, but this is the truth. I’m not confident of its validity though, since I did not have much of control I would like to in order to be more accurate)
  • [Personal Project] Blogging for MathiasLuz.com
    • Terrible 😧. Not even a single blogpost written in Q1 2016, out of my goal of 3 (That really ‘killed’ my sense of progress, because writing is the real soothing to my soul…)

For all of these I went deeper in the ‘overhelming valley’ as feeling myself

  • Mediocre, Frustrated
  • Anxious, Stressed out
  • Sleep-deprived and Bothered (in a gut level)

So much so that I even approached my manager Laryssa D’Alama telling her I did not want to do onboarding calls any more and I would like to play in a different position or, perhaps, to leave Resultados Digitais.

Told her this job was not allowing my creative and analytical capacity to be brought up to the table.

Not getting a solution or at least a tentative plan for a solution like I wanted – oh spoiled brat  – a state of confusion ruled my whole being like it didn’t for a while.

I was not getting myself, because most part of the time I used to be secure about what I wanted…

(Higher Self😇 : Where are you Mathias? Trapped in your own ‘productivity’ pitfall? I told you! Why did you listen to 😈?)

Not really knowing what to do, I just kept pushing myself to the routine however I could…

Two Sheds of Light on the Confusion Fog

Sunlight you can touch

Sunlight you can touch by Julie Falk

Inasmuch as I was hitting the rock bottom of motivation, there appeared to be the universe was sending nuggets of insights to me in various forms, despite myself not realizing it right away.

In an odd way, couple of things that drove me down to ‘the valley’ were the same trying to push me back up again.

They came in form 3 events.

1. The Productivity Playbook Project with Eric Santos

Right after the productivity playbook team was formed, Eric simply dumped us his whole content curation that helped him to build his own productivity system: a fruity list of blogposts, books, videos & podcasts for everyone to study so we all could be in the same page.

My gosh, when I saw that list I internally just freaked out!

How am I gonna come up with enough time to analyze this helluva dump with 40+ articles in english, couple of books and all else? Is Eric playing the ‘Shark-Tank ‘of productivity?

Well.. the carnival holidays were about to come around and that was my delivery redemption!

I’ve never made a flight so productive like this since then: I’ve studied all the list – like a freak – in the airplane as I travelled to and from the Shivam Yoga Retreat I usually attend for Mardi Gras holidays in Ouro Preto, MG.

I’ve even collected all spare time in between fasts, yoga practices and meditations to fend for myself.

Upon completion, a funny event came across:

I was astonishingly mind-blown with all the insights through, even though they were really simple.

That’s because I came to the realization that all contributors I’ve come in contact with through Eric’s shelf (writers, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, Investors) have their on productivity rituals.

That pattern became even clear, when I listened to most of Tim Ferris‘ great guests like Derek Sivers, Josh Waitzkin, Luiz Von Ahn, Maria Popova, Neil Strauss, Ryan Holiday, Seth Godin, as for their habits and routines.

They are all single-minded. They have only one focus at a time. They have their on productivity system. They go for less and slow.

Kinda it was the first shed of light amidst the fail’s fog I was inside… I was doing the right opposite of all those great contributors..

But, it did not end here…

2. A Singular Read : Zero to One

Zero to One

Zero to One’s Book

Upon finishing  Eric’s productivity dumping on my way back to Florianopólis, I started to skim through the book my friend Tiago Maciel has lent to me, Zero to One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters.

It was a very simple, fast & fluid read and, yet,  a so intriguing one to me by that time.

Couple of statements from the Paypal cofounder sort of disrupted some different concepts I’ve been carrying since schooling. There you have it:

  • 1. Capitalism & Competition are not ‘friends’. They are opposite. Capitalism is for capital build up. Conversely, capital tends to zero in a Perfect Competition Market.
    • (From history class I thought capitalism and competition were intrinsically in harmony!)
  • 2. Avoid competition at all costs being 10x more effective than any other existing solution.
    •  (It’s drawn my attention, because I do not like competition. This sense of hurry’ to catch up with what the competitor is doing, this ‘looking sideways’ instead of looking ahead/inside so slaughters my inner peace)
  • 3. Go for a mission, instead of looking up for Trends. If it is trendy, the innovation is already over.
    • (Yes Peter, I agree. Mission is for innovation, creativity, breakthroughs. The tricky thing is that common sense points us to whatever is trending : the trendy job, the trendy clothing, the trendy field of knowledge, the trendy whatever..)

Even though these statements come from a business context, I clearly saw a perfect translation to my personal context in form of these 2 questions:

  • Am I going for a mission (what my heart can feel) or just for the already existing opportunities (what my eyes can see)?
  • Am I being really excellent (10x) in any initiative I leading?

As you know what my answers were from results I shared before, I again saw for the second time the same shed of light getting bolder and showing me the same principle I was missing out.

The Tipping Point

Chain Reaction by Martin Firsch

Chain Reaction by Martin Firsch

3. Talks to Lilian Klemz

Finally back from my yoga retreat, I looked after to talk more to my friend Lilian Klemz – General Manager of Customer Success @ RD – as for career guidance and sharing those insights I had been collecting until then.

Since we got started sharing ideas,  it was a delightful experience, because we were sort of addicted to talk everyday about self-knowledge & purpose.

We were voraciously sharing thoughts, impressions or how our beloved company Resultados Digitais can go further by helping RDoers to bring their inner motivation to the job and then creating innovation eventually.

We would even go out of our way (serendipity) to go the supermarket randomically so we could have more time to exchange. After which, she also rode myself home quite a few of times!

Among our shared materials, she reintroduced me to Sam’s Smith Money on my Mind song:

I’ve never given myself the chance before to behold the lessons on self-knowledge, purpose & focus through its lyrics.

Also, it was so reinforcing to discover Sam’s getting-over stories behind all his success most people might not know about.

We just eye-captured and read each word of it in and out, as though inhaling the air of inspiration

Another hot topic we really delved in was on how misleading can it be to make a career decision based mainly on the sexiness of a job position – how successful will one can look like to people around for being a Manager, Director or whatever alluring position it may be… (but this is another story)

Lastly, the Tipping Point.

She referred me to the most impactful blogpost on purpose I have read that summed up all of our ‘catharsis’ and boldly confirmed the roots of why I have struggled heretofore.

In other words, why I’m not the productivity guy.

As reading through Benjamin Hardy’s piece, we felt like we were not bouncing alone any further on the ideas we’ve shared .

By my side, I finally felt like this was the real lighthouse that vanished all the confusion fog I was inside.

But, what was it after all?

Productivity is not doing lots of stuff fast

Benjamin Hardy's

Benjamin Hardy’s by Scott Webb

You can do lots of stuff and get nowhere closer to your ideal. Most people are living their lives this way. They are burning themselves out running in a million different directions. Our society has become obsessed with constant doing. There’s little time left for being and living.

Productivity is purposefully and consistently moving in a desired direction.

Insanely productive people have learned the two most important things every person needs to know in this life:

Who they are

What their purpose (path) in life is

 


Benjamin Hardy’s from 15 Things Insanely-Productive People Do Differently

 

And that was my problemI was not being single-minded on what my focus was.

What kind of problems I was solely willing to devote my energy on?

What single subject did I want to eagerly study until the point I mastered it?

In fact, I was just juggling with many things without a clear focus.

And that has been like this since always.

since I understand myself as a person on this Earth.

That is déja-vù thing I felt when my two Selfs started to talk to each other early in this reading.

Since childhood across adult life I have never taken anything of my learning opportunities (karate, capoeira, guitar, table-tennis, surfing, swimming, enzymology, polymer science, programming) seriously enough to build consistency towards a mission or, at least, to a mastery.

I’ve always been like : Oh this is cool!! I wanna learn this.

Oh no, but ‘that one’ is even cooler!

Then, I going learn both at the same time or to drop off the latter (on and on and on…never grabbing anything to make things happen, but dabbling forever)

Never seeing that I have never been able to commit myself and gave me enough time to really refine, to distill, to let still, to reflect upon, to share, to help out – in short – to solely master ONE THING.

And that is what I’ve got . A never-ending collection of shallow experiences and knowledge.

You know what?

 

I’m really tired of that shallowness, of always being on the surface of things.

 

As I’ve said earlier, I don’t know exactly if I should be happy or sad for all this story.

I’m happy because finally I found the source of my struggles, but sad for all the time I’ve wasted until now.

Thus, I imagine how happier could I be now if I had more of those insights earlier in my life…

(Ok, no more time to regret other than now.)

What is Next?

I don’t have a definitive solution yet for myself.

Nevertheless, the only thing I’m convinced now is that I will study purposeful productivity until I master it myself – that is – understanding the 20% that solves for 80% of my recurring problems in my life.

I hope to have a chance to share this journey in upcoming stories.

What do you think?

Do you have any experiences that resonate with or could help me to grasp the next level on my quest for purposeful productivity?

Gratitude in advance for your contribution to my life.

  • Sofia Barreto

    Nothing, nothing is waste of time. All that deviations lead us to the right path (right way shown in our alert senses, intuitions), our own path, in a individual time. Did you think that your knowlege is superficial? I don’t think so. Although, think yourself: the surface is the begining of the depth knowledge. It’s a good thing, isn’t it? Do not worry or hurry. Time passes fast. Save a good time to yourself. Go out, sleep a lot in the weekends. And remember: you’re already a winner, boy!

    • Thanks for the support and the recommendations @Sofia Barreto. I’ll take time to reflect upon & to ruminate on the material you’ve given me. Have you ever felt like that?

  • Rafaelabla

    Mathias Luz a-d-o-r-e-i- o post. a parte em que você comentar sobre “Productivity is not doing lots of stuff fast”, é tão real quando a gente pensa racionalmente. Mas na hora que estamos fazendo, nosso cérebro não entende isso e quer mais mais e mais. Tempo ocioso parece que somos “preguiçosos”, quando, na verdade, faz parte do nosso aprendizado, da nossa vida. Acredito que seja isso seja ainda mais forte e visível na geração Y: somos inquietos. Queremos sempre mais. Que tal um próximo post linkando com isso? Emoticon smile beijo!

    • @disqus_f2dDOM51xQ:disqus agradecido pelo apreço 🙂 Ótima idéia! Uma coisa que tenho curiosidade em descobrir também é se isso é uma particularidade da nossa geração, ou se, alguma outra compartilha isso! Já está super no meu Backlog 😉