Woody Allen said that “80 percent of success is showing up.” There is some truth to that, but if all you’re doing is just showing up, you’ve got as much chance of being successful as a turtle crossing a busy highway. Success depends on how productive you are, no matter what you’re doing – at home, at work, or at play (yes, I said play!).
If you show up without a plan for action, you can’t move forward. No matter how many action lists you have (and you should really only have one), if you approach the list without a purpose, there is little to no chance that you will accomplish any of the items on that list. Some people would have us believe that as long as we have our lists, we will plow through them and be productive. Not so.
In order to be productive, we need to think about how we will be productive. You may be surprised to learn that thinking about what needs to get done occupies a great deal of time for productive people. There’s no magic in productivity, but there is plenty of thought. One might even say that it’s an “inside job.” There is thought inside planning, creating, and acting on our plans.
The day before work, do you review your action items for the next day? Do you have reminders in your email calendar regarding work or meetings that need attention? Do you pay attention to your reminders or do you selectively ignore them? Do you act on all of the priorities that you set for yourself? Writing down and then ignoring reminders is counter-productive and a waste of time. Productivity requires us to pay attention, to think, and to be thoughtful of all of our actions.
Reminders and action plans allow us to free our mind when we do not need to be productive (e.g., when we’re on vacation). But if you’re not on vacation, the more thought that you can devote to everything you do, the more you will experience the power of productivity. In fact, some would say that this is the realization of the power of thought. That is, the more you think about what you need to do, the more likely it is that you will get it done.
It is no secret that our conditions and circumstances in life are a direct result of our thoughts. James Allen said “circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.” Use your mind to create your circumstances. The state of your finances, health, and relationships all start with your thoughts and lead to actions that create your circumstances. Engage in thought that leads to productive actions. By doing so, you will not only be productive, but you will also be creating your circumstances for success.