The Single Greatest Tip I Ever Received On How To Be Productive

320336_377463042308022_703561752_nIf you are familiar with the N2ITIV blog, you know Gary and I cover a wide range of topics on how to succeed in business and in life. You should also know that every bit of advice we give is the direct result of lessons we have learned from our countless mistakes in our (now) 46 combined years in business.

Wow. I suddenly feel really old. Moving on…

I think being productive is one of the most important and highly treasured skills any person can achieve as it combats our single greatest commodity on Earth… time. I believe that time can be our greatest asset when we manage it correctly. Conversely, it can also be our worst enemy when we let it slip away.

{Note: I elaborate quite a bit about this in a post I wrote called,  Gordon Gekko Was Wrong.}

Time Working For Us vs. Time Working Against Us

Getting time to work for us as opposed to working against us is one of the trickiest tasks I have ever been up against… and still struggle with every day.

If every bit of knowledge I currently have in my mind about productivity were going to be stripped away and I was only allowed to remember one thing, there is a hands-down winner that I would pick every time. It’s about as simple as you can get but as profound as they come…

You can’t think your way into good action. You have to act your way into good thinking.

People (myself included) spend 90% of their time trying to think about what the right thing is to say or think about the best thing to do… and end up not doing anything. We do this for one reason… our fear of failure. Overcoming fear of failure is another subject I talk about quite a bit at N2ITIV.

{Note: If you want to read posts about failure and rejection, click how to learn from failure.}

There is only way to combat this and that is to take action. Please don’t misunderstand me… I am not telling you to aimlessly act or to act without thinking. What I am saying is, once you make a decision of what you need to do, you need to follow that up with action IMMEDIATELY. The moment you give yourself a second to think twice, you kill the chances of acting about 90%. At least in my case that is…

The Doers vs. The Thinkers

In my world, there are doers and there are thinkers. Most of the doers are also great thinkers but very few of the thinkers are great doers. Despite the fact that both thinking and doing are vital in life, life itself is a program of action. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t act on that knowledge it is completely useless.

{Note: If you want to read up more on this read You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take.}

Here are 2 Examples Of How Thinking Screwed Me… 

– I knew the girl I wanted to date in middle school. I f*cking knew it with every fiber of my being. Then I thought maybe I’d wait just a day… then just a week… The result? … One of the guys I hated most asked her first and I had to watch them kissing in the hallways for the next five years until I graduated.

– In the mid 1990’s my first business was in real trouble. I knew there was a possibility my friend would help me try to save my business… all I had to do was ask. I thought to myself, OK, maybe instead of calling him I’ll wait till I see him. Then I saw him and I said to myself, OK, let me wait I’ll wait until the next time when its not so formal…

After my business was over I had to file personal and corporate bankruptcy, move 3000 miles back home with my parents, and take a job mopping floors at a bar. A few years later, after starting another business, I ran into him at a tradeshow. He asked me what had happened as he hadn’t seen me in years. I told him. The long and the short of it was that he turned to me asked… “Why did you never ask me for my help?”

I can give you 300 other examples but I think (and hope) you get the point.

Our lives are too short to spend it questioning ourselves and creating master plans, re-questioning those plans, re-evaluating, only never to take action. Please take a shot. You owe it to yourself.

Your Homework

What is the one action you have been putting off that you know you need to do? Do yourself a favor and just do it…. you can think about it all you want later… and since I am on the topic of of Nike and Just Do It, you may want to check out The “Just Do It” Effect: The Power Of The World’s Most Inspiring Slogan.

Have a great day!

MJ

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