When reviewing the articles from the second week I recognised a logical flow in how I want to present the reviews. I divided the articles into three different sections.
2 articles regarding proactivity and continuous evaluation
Philip’s second article highlights the importance of being proactive, i.e. to set clear goals and exact schedules “before” one starts working. He argues that the extra time spent on planning is earned back tenfold due to the time saved by never having to question what to do next. I think this is one of the very basic conclusions of highly efficient individuals. Still, the importance of proactivity cannot be overstated. In his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Steven Covey even dedicates the first of his seven habits to proactivity. The general conclusion is that proactive behaviour is more efficient than reactive behaviour.
Johanna’s second article recognizes that the daily planning and evaluation routine has made her more conscious regarding her own behaviour. She stresses that she has recognized an unexpected pattern that she was unaware of before – a difficulty to be on time to activities, such as lectures, meetings and work. She concludes that being on time is a central part of how efficient work can be. I think this is an excellent example of a learning process. When we start evaluating our performance on daily basis, we start to identify deviations, i.e. unexpected and unpredictable behaviours. When similar deviations occur repeatedly, we are able to identify patterns. The awareness of patterns increases our ability to instantly handle and/or eliminate a deviation “as it occurs”. In conclusion, continuous evaluation triggers awareness, which in turn triggers learning and improvement.
3 articles about how to set goals
Lina’s second article is the first of three articles that discusses how one should set goals. She underscores that it is important to set “the right” goals. She recognizes that she tend to set too high goals, which in turn only puts her into a negative and stressful state. Lina consequently argues that planning and scheduling are great tools as long as one is “on the road”. Otherwise it will only create a sense of unease until one is back on track. I think Lina highlights an important aspect of personal productivity. The source of personal productivity is not “knowledge” – knowing what to do – it is a “capability” that we develop over time through trial and error. In conclusion, the ability to set motivating (and not demotivating) goals is a skill that one has to develop.
Amanda’s second article also covers the ability to set goals and argues that it is important to set concrete and specific goals in order to be efficient. She claims that general goals do not put her into a productive state; it is too abstract and does not trigger her into action. The more concrete the goal is the easier it is to “start” being productive. This is also an example indicating that personal productivity is a capability that we have to develop. Lina argues that it is crucial to set the “right level” of a goal, while Amanda argues that a goal also has to be “concrete” in order to trigger an efficient behaviour.
Rasmus’ second article also covers goal setting but from a slightly different angel than Lina and Amanda. He argues that one characteristic of a highly efficient individual is to know exactly what one wants. He claims that if one really wants to achieve something, and recognizes that particular desire, very few things will hinder that desire to come true. Rasmus concludes that it is “in” our own desire, and “in” our own will, we gain our drive and energy to perform. I like this article because he highlights a phenomenon that is extremely straightforward – do what you want – but still so difficult to follow. If we believe something is fun, we are 100% engaged and can just “play the guitar”. Nothing can stop us. But if we believe something is boring, we are disengaged and don’t even “lift the guitar”. We start to procrastinate. Furthermore, if we push this conclusion one step further, it would be interesting to investigate “how” to transform a boring task into a fun task!?
4 articles about how to be productive within specific activities
Kristoffer’s second article points out that is important to be focused when conducting one activity, i.e. one should not mix one activity frame with another frame. More specifically, he argues that “work is work” and “free time is free time” and he concludes that mixing these two different frames is not productive in the long run. This is a phenomenon that I call “frame competence”, which includes our ability to identify, plan and execute a particular activity. For instance:
a) I identify a need that I have to read an article within my research work
b) I subsequently plan the activity, i.e. when to read the article
c) I finally execute the activity, i.e. I read the activity.
If I follow this sequence – identify, plan and execute the activity – I would consequently be “frame competent” since I do what I ought to be doing; I follow my plan. Kristoffer consequently highlights one (out of many) thing that hinders us from being frame competent. When executing an activity, we tend to “mix” activity frames, which in turn decreases our ability to fulfil the original need that triggered us to plan the activity in the first place. In conclusion, when executing activities, keep the “right” frame in order to be efficient. Relax when you should relax. Work when you should work.
Theo’s second article discusses self-induced inefficiency, i.e. how our own mind can hinder us to be efficient if we have a lot, or something particular, to think about. He concludes that it is better to finish one task before continuing with another since it allows him to keep focus. I think Theo’s point highlights that an “inventory” of unfinished tasks is not only inefficient since the tasks are not completed. It is also inefficient since the “inventory” affect out mental state, which in turn puts us in an unproductive state. The higher amount of uncompleted tasks we have, the more difficult it will be to keep focus since our mind in fact has difficulties to “let go”.
Karro’s second article is highlighting several different issues. One of the issues is regarding the relationship between her mental state and her eating patterns. She concludes that it is important for her to eat on continuous basis in order to “be able” to keep a productive state. She argues that if she doesn’t eat properly she easily loose her state. I think this – our diet – is one of the aspects that differs LeanOnMyself from other personal efficiency oriented concepts. Our diet, sleep, workout and health are areas that, according to me, often have been neglected. According to my experience it is central to integrate these areas of “work-life balance” with “efficiency”. Our diet, sleep, workout and health are all our basic needs, but still difficult to master. To have continuous attention to, and work with, these areas are crucial to be able to sustain long-term productivity.
Malcolm’s second article underscores the magnitude of flexibility when working with strict schedules. He argues that just strictly following a schedule is not productive. If the conditions, by some reason, have changed, it is important to reschedule and take the new conditions into account. I think this conclusion is important to acknowledge in contrast to the conclusion that “proactivity increases efficiency”. When we are proactive, we set goals and we plan activities to achieve the goals. Put differently, the planning serves as a working hypothesis about “how” to be efficient, which in turn triggers action. If the conditions that founded the hypothesis have changed, however, it is important to be actionable enough to recognize this change of condition and modify the hypothesis about how to be efficient, i.e. reschedule.Comment