Productivity – “it’s the small stuff, stupid”

all too often we just concentrate on the next big thing to make us more productive perhaps it is the latest app or maybe a new methodology or system we are constantly striving to find that killer thing that will make a huge difference to it all we will then have conquered it at last in all of these things it is easy to overlook the small stuff it is actually the small stuff that can make the biggest difference to make the point I thought I would start this post without punctuation after all it is only minor detail and it does not even appear in the alphabet so clearly can’t be that important and yet having these punctuation makes such a difference

I came across Timothy Dexter yesterday. He lived a pretty strange life in the 1800’s but was quite successful. Some argue out of luck but he seems to do the odd thing but at the right time. Like someone suggesting to ship coal to Newcastle (a thriving coal mine region). He did and when it arrived, a mine strike had just started so not only did he sell his coal but also at a premium. Anyway at the age 50, he wrote a book called A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress.  No, I don’t get it either. What I also don’t get is that it contained 8,847 words but no punctuation. At first he gave it out free but it was so popular, he reprinted but he added an extra page of punctuation marks, so that the reader could add it themselves. A bit odd I agree but it got me thinking about how we overlook the small stuff.
Not only does punctuation make it so much easier for me to write this, but most importantly it makes it easier for you, the reader. Who would think that such a small thing would make such a difference? We automatically do it, as not only has it been ingrained in us in school, but rather because it just makes sense.
However when considering our own lives, there are plenty of times when we strive for something and yet not even notice what we have. So rather than looking for the next big thing, why not consider what you already have or do. I tell you, that next big thing will still come anyway. Therefore I suggest we will do:
 
  • Take a deep breath

We are going at 100mph and some times we just need to stop. Take a moment to pause, and I don’t mean reflect on the things you have yet to do. Decouple from life for just a moment

  • Write down the things you do

So we all have our little systems. Over time we have tweaked them perhaps but all in all it is the things we do on a daily basis. Write them down – nothing elaborate, just list them. It is important to reflect on the things we do and listing them will help us to do just that.

  • Chisel the sharp edges

This is the important step. For the items written down, analyse them. What works and what does not. Although it is good to reflect on the former as it gives us a sense of self-worth, it is the latter we are more interested in. For the things that do not work, ask yourself why not. It may be that the event happens at the wrong time, in the wrong place, before or after another event and so breaks the flow, in the wrong order, with the wrong amount of effort or whatever. The point is to start chiselling and knock of those sharp edges. Look at the small stuff and find improvements. Perfect what you have before you look for other big gains. These gains are already in your capacity but are not always obvious.

So rebuild that foundation and look at the small stuff. Round off the edges and perfect what you do already.
And oh in the style of Timothy Dexter here are some for you . . . . . . . . and , , , , to insert wherever you may wish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *