I think you all agree that the internet is filled with content that tries to tell you how to be more productive and how to make more money. Some tell you to perform a variety of tricks, others insist on saving money, and there are some that consider that playing games at the red flush casino is the secret of becoming rich. Some of them have valuable information, others – unfortunately the majority of them – only regurgitate what more popular blogs have already said, but in a slightly different form. I browsed through hundreds of such blogs, and finally found the perfect way to be more productive – look for tips from those who already are.I have found one great online magazine (I won’t link to it right now) that has a series about how established executives, startup founders, managers, content writers and other successful people do their job so good. Reading others’ experiences and learning from them is a great thing, but there is a catch: you don’t – EVER – have to do the same as they have. Never. Instead you have to treat their tips as what they are – guidelines – and not rules of any kind. If you take them too literally, they can negatively impact your ways in the long run.
The trick is to read and understand the productivity tips others are sharing with you, and the emphasis is on “understand”. One blog post, for example, told me to “delete Facebook” from my phone – and, taking it literally, I did. Unfortunately I was in the middle of the city, with nothing to read in my bag, so I was bored for quite some time. This was the time I understood that literally deleting Facebook from your phone, leaving you with nothing to do, was actually counterproductive. “Deleting Facebook” meant getting rid of things that can distract you in this context, not the deleting of the app itself. I haven’t re-installed the Facebook app on my phone ever since – but I made sure I have much reading material for the times I would otherwise just idly staring at the cars passing by. And yes – getting rid of Facebook’s easy to digest content, with all its memes, jokes and drama was the right choice for me.
I even went one step further – I haven’t used Facebook at all (except for Messenger – some of my friends use it as their only means of instant messaging) in over a week. Instead of browsing through the pictures, jokes, and other useless updates from the social network, I caught up on reading the news, the posts of the blogs I follow – things that I meant to read, but never had the time because of some hour-long sessions of procrastination through the endless streams of social content readily served by the Big Blue. And you know what? It wasn’t hard at all. Now I can focus more on useful things instead of eye candy, and I suddenly have more time at hand.
Now let me emphasize again on the importance of “understanding” productivity tips. Blindly following whatever Mark Zuckerberg, John Chow, John Oliver or whoever your role model would be will never work for you in the way it worked for them. Instead of religiously following their wisdom, adapt it to your situation – and make the most out of it.