Category Archives: Fitness

Keys to Effective Productivity – If You Seek Balance in Your Life

Productivity. Don’t you love days when you get a lot done? I certainly do. But lately, I have been taking time to reflect on what I have completed to decide if my accomplishments were worthwhile. Have you examined the gap between productivity and effectiveness?

Keys to Effective Productivity – If You Seek Balance in Your Life

A few Sundays ago after my wife and daughter left Point Loma I sat down to draft a couple of blog posts. The previous 72 hours had been very busy and it wasn’t until I had frittered away a couple of hours that I realized no matter how much I produced that afternoon little of it was going to be useful. As much as I am intentional about being prolific, I need to be equally intentional about my work being valuable.

Based on research and personal experience, here are some conclusions I have drawn about productivity versus effectiveness:

  1. Productivity wanes. Even if you take breaks for meals and exercise, after 10 to 12 hours of work in a day, especially if it requires a lot of concentration, much of what gets produced is not very valuable.
  2. There’s a weekly limit. After about 50 or 60 hours of work in a week, the same thing happens. While occasionally you may need to put in a 15 or 18-hour day, working 80 to 100 hours a week probably means your life is out of balance and effectiveness slumped halfway or two-thirds of the way through your week.
  3. Clarity of purpose. Does the elation of task completion quickly melt away? Do you resent the numerous hours you spend at work? It may be time to re-examine your life purpose. Do you really know what your life is about? If I asked you why you are on this planet do you have the clarity to immediately reply?
  4. Conflicting goals. Minimally once a week you need to make sure that the work you are doing is moving you in the direction you have planned for yourself and your family. Productivity is not only measured in tasks completed or income. It is just that these are easily quantified. Are your goals in sync with your purpose? Is having a solid marriage one of your goals? How is spending 80 hours per week at the office helping you achieve this?

Productivity at the expense of effectiveness is a particularly attractive trap if you are paid by the hour. When I was a real estate appraiser I remember getting together with a friend who was as overworked as me. We made an agreement to raise our hourly fees by one-third. Interestingly my income increased even though I worked less. What’s more, the quality of my work and my job satisfaction improved.

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One of the wonderful challenges of being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to set your own terms of employment. Understanding the difference between being productive and effective will help you make sure that you are living the life you have designed for yourself.

Question – What signs do you look for to make sure your productivity is effective?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

You Listen, You Stay Healthy

“You will surely become weary, also you, also this people that is with you.” (Shemos/Exodus 18:18)

Jethro meets Moses in the wilderness and expresses his concern that constantly teaching and judging the Children of Israel is too exhausting.

This coming Sabbath we read Parshas Yisro. In it Moses is reunited with his father-in-law Yisro/Jethro, a Mindianite priest who heard about the wonders G-d performed for the Children of Israel. Jethro recommends a leadership plan to Moses that he implements.

The Children of Israel arrive at Mount Sinai where they voluntarily accept the Torah. Then they prepare themselves to receive the Ten Commandments. Our sages bring several opinions as to what they heard. Rashi and the Rambam explain that every Jew heard all Ten Commandments in one instant but could not comprehend them. So G-d repeated them and after the first two they were so overawed they begged Moses to intercede and then teach them the other eight.

Perhaps in your mind’s ear you can hear the proverbial Yiddishe mama worrying about her boy’s health, but a Yiddishe father-in-law?

Moses was very idealistic, with seemingly limitless compassion for his people. Great as he was, it took an outsider to perceive that he needed to share his burden so as not to burn out. Seems to be an obvious lesson, yet how often have you found your life out of balance because you were so focused on your goal? Did your spouse, child, or a friend try to get you to broaden your perspective? Did you listen?

Many times while I was deployed sailors whose job performance was not up to par came to see me. Frequently they justified their substandard work by listing the many people: family, friends, and coworkers, whom they were helping. My response never varied: “How does it help them if you lose your job? No more money for financial assistance to be sure, but worse, you would become a burden.”

Selflessness is admirable. But it cannot come at the cost of your physical, mental, or spiritual wellbeing. Comes Jethro to remind you to be open to the message of a loved one to guard your health.

Question – Is self-sacrifice noble? Please leave a comment below.

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