The busybody who does not rest, does not have huge weekend plans and gets everything done.
Too many of us oscillate between bouts of restlessness and lassitude. We are at once overwhelmed by the long list of things we want to achieve and the weight of it all pushing us into a haze of sleep, binging, lethargy, boredom. Do you see yourself reflected in this? Do you dislike being in either of these phases? If yes, then by picking this book, you've already completed the first few steps of recognizing the problem and resolving to tackle it. Now the question is about moving beyond them — a challenge that we must learn to overcome.
Here's where I come in: I've noticed over some years that people are surprised at just how many things I am involved with and am getting done. It's one thing to be doing well and doing a lot at my job. The most common remark I have received, however, is about the work I get done outside my job. It's the initiatives and overall presence I have outside my office that astounds people. And I do get it; the "full-time" in full-time jobs is not to be taken lightly.
I wish I could sell the idea that to be doing everything you want to do, you have to be haggard and impatient with the simple things in life. I wish so because it is easier to confirm your biases than for me to challenge them. Maybe we readily buy into this image because the long list of things we think we ought to do makes us feel like we need to be maniacs to achieve them. Or maybe we like to picture ourselves as another Alex Dunphy: a busybody who does not rest does not have huge weekend plans and gets everything done. Maybe we believe it because that image itself tires us out of ever realistically attempting the long-list — and then commences the period of languishing. And round and round we go. But I am doing all the things I want to do, and I am sorry to tell you that I am healthy and happy. I am not stressed or grumpy or despairing about the things I want to achieve in the time life has given me.
In challenging your biases, I know I have my work cut out for me. We have to undo the misconceptions that we hold onto, and I have to justify doing so each time. We have to then build another belief system, and I have to justify each step. In this all, I risk losing your audience because you may think that all this is easy for me to say, but hard for you to act on. You may dismiss this because you believe that to be productive the way we want to be, requires being an exceptional person. And that if am productive, then I must have been exceptional. You may conclude that there is no use to listen to me because you think you are not exceptional and nothing I say can apply to you.
I want to reassure you that I am not an exceptional person. I was a mediocre student and I did not make it to a top-tier college. I had (and still have) my ups and downs. Failed math a couple of times, never had the perfect CGPA. So, I was never God's gift of perfection: I didn't excel at everything I tried. I say this because the second misconception many of us struggle with is the idea that to do remarkable things, you have to start from being an exceptional person. That you can't be an excellent writer without first having read all the classics in English literature (and then some!). That's just an absurd pre-requisite we build up in our heads. And this preconception inhibits us from even trying, from even starting. But the base-level student is never a clean slate, perfect to start from scratch. You start from wherever you are. Only your efforts will primarily determine the standard of your output.
Efforts are effortful, and one thing I hope to minimize in your approach is wasted efforts. In using this book, I urge you to be patient with yourself. You cannot do everything at once. You cannot force behavioral changes in a day. So, do not try to deploy everything at once, because you will fail and you will be disheartened. This is a book about your mindset, about living each day better than the last, about rejecting linear progressions. In all of this, give yourself time.
You are missing out if you do not realize where this piece is from. If you have already read my book The Productive Professional, tell me what parts resonated the most to you, and if you haven’t, get the subscription right now, like this very moment, and read the book. It has got its own landing page now. :party: