I was going through some of my old articles on productivity and found this great piece of work from ‘Cal Newport’ and i had taken some notes on it. He is the author of How to Become a Straight-A Student and How to Win at College. The core of the argument is that Productivity is Overrated. The basic idea: productivity systems, like Getting Things Done, reduce stress and help you keep track of your obligations, they do not, however, make you accomplished. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the act of becoming accomplished is almost entirely unrelated to being productive.
This means that the two don’t need to go together. Indeed, as a blogger and researcher, I’ve spent some time researching the subject. Unusually accomplished young people, and I would estimate that the majority of them are terribly disorganized. The minority that did have good productivity habits were certainly less stressed. But it played little role in predicting their ultimate success.
What Accomplished People Do Differently
From my experience, the most common trait you will consistently observe in accomplished people is an obsession with completion. Once a project falls into their horizon, they crave, almost compulsively, to finish it. If they’re organized, this might happen in scheduled chunks. If they’re not “like many” this might happen in all-nighters. But they get it done. Fast and consistently.
It’s this constant stream of finishing that begins, over time, to unlock more and more interesting opportunities and eventually leads to their big scores.
If you are productive without harbouring this intense desire for completion, you will end up just being busy. We all know the feeling. You work all day off of your to-do list. Everything is organized. Everything is scheduled. Yet, still, months pass with no important projects getting accomplished.
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