Reflections on a Week of Productivity

To save you some time on Facebook, I’ve curated some of the comments and issues we’ve had come up on Facebook this first week of the productivity challenge:

Pomodoro is not a hairstyle

A lot of people like the idea of a Pomodoro (not to be confused with pompadour which is a hairstyle popularized by Elvis) and have started using it regularly.

Instead of using this as a tool to keep on track with productive activity, a number of participants have been using their timers to limit unproductive activity, i.e. set the timer to allow themselves only 15 minutes on Facebook.

This is not a Pomodoro. This is someone looking for attention.
This is not a Pomodoro. This is someone looking for attention.

Watching TV is not evil, but wasting your time mindlessly is bad

Many participants have already said “no” to TV and many have made a commitment to cut down viewing time.

Limiting both TV and social media has been good for a lot of people. For example, Kathy says, “Wanted to share that as Eric said I’m a teenager, not literally but at heart, with always needing to be plug into my phone and social media all the time. But this week I was able to put the phone down and walk away for hours on end. I was able to reconnect with my husband who thoroughly thanks you Eric for this week’s challenges.”

Although I asked everyone to unplug their TVs for the month, the real goal is to help you make a conscious decision of where and how you spend your time.

Leslie turned the word “zombie” into a verb when she reports that’s she “seriously can’t believe I wasted all that time before, just zombied out in front of a screen.” And she feels that “the “no TV” and “less FB” has helped a ton.”

Howard entirely got it and says, “TV was a habit which I have changed. I have reduced my viewing time significantly rather than have completely eliminated the ‘box’ However I only watch programs that I have decided in advance to watch instead of switching it on to view whatever is on. The freed up time is used both for working on my business but also my relationships with my wife & family.”

This is exactly the point of productivity:

Getting a ton of stuff done in less time so you have more time to do the stuff that’s important to you!

So watching TV isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but watching TV mindlessly is a waste of time that could be put towards the things that really matter to you. And if it’s important to watch the [insert your favorite sports team here] game or Dancing with the Stars, that’s fine. It’s been a conscious decision to focus on things that matter.

Ann had this insightful thought, “Each time I want to run away to the beach and forget about the tasks at hand I remind myself of the value of time well spent. The beach is the reward not the distraction.”

That’s an interesting way to frame and value activities that we think of as non-productive: Instead of making TV or Facebook a distraction to getting stuff done, you make it a reward for getting things done.

As Jill points out: “I always thought my TV time was wasted, but instead, it is a welcome down time to turn off my brain.”

Sometimes what matters most is not doing things, for example, taking time for self-reflection and renewal. Doing “nothing” can be very important and may be one of the most important activities we can make time for during the week. One of my favorite educators, Felicia Brown, put it like this:

“Here’s my big lesson: Productivity is good but I had to slow down over the weekend after pushing to do so much this week between this and my other challenge. So I guess what I am saying is that I have to remember time spent doing “nothing” is OK and that I don’t have to be “productive” for every single 15 minute block I am awake. I’ll probably forget this again tomorrow but it’s good to have that insight on a lazy Sunday!”

“Big Rock” dilemmas…

Jacqueline brings up an important issue: “Ok I’ve been thinking A LOT about the ” big” rock idea…My dilemma that I would like help w from the group is this: I feel like I have so many BIG rocks, priorities , that I need some strategy of which rocks to put in the jar first ,they ALL feel big:)!”

This issue that is mirrored in other comments as well, for example, Jill how has a similar dilemma: “I can’t seem to be consistent in the areas that are important (health, exercise), since I have to bounce from one “big rock” to another.”

Ellie proposed an approach to determining how to place your big rocks. She outlined several questions she uses to evaluate priorities from a book called Get It Done by Sam Bennett:

  1. Will you learn from and enjoy working on it?
  2. Will completing it make a difference in your life?
  3. Will it make a difference in the world?
  4. Does your soul ache to work on it?
  5. Ten years from now will it have mattered that you did it?

Lola had another very interesting question to ponder: “I know what my big rocks SHOULD be and they are tragically taking turns in my life. Are there times when the little things take priority for the short term or am I missing the point here?”

There is something called delayed gratification. Sometimes we need to suck it up in the short term to be able to enjoy the big rocks long term. So I guess the question is: How much short term pain for long term gain is acceptable? How do we avoid getting buried by sand as we put our big rocks into place?

I don’t have a 50 word solution. It’s a question I need to roll around in my own head. What are your thoughts?

Find a curator

Jenny asks, “Is there a way to get the information that is valuable on FB, without spending unnecessary time? I come across a lot of useful reports, research, articles etc. as well as discussions within a couple of the groups that I would hate to miss. But “coming across” them is by accident often while scrolling through lots of other stuff that I don’t need to see. Has anyone got any tips for making FB less of a time waster without losing the good aspects?”

You hit something on the head, Jenny: It’s the sense that we are going to miss something. It’s a driving force that keeps us glued to social media sites and TV. There is just such a huge volume of stuff that we start to feel that if we don’t keep an ever watchful eye, we’ll miss all the good bits.

Here’s my solution: The answer is to define what is valuable for you and instead of trying to find it yourself, find curators of information in the areas that you have interest.

Traditionally, a curator is the person that manages collections at a museum. They determine what has value and are involved with the interpretation of the collected materials.

Today, we have online content curators who evaluate information that’s available online, exhibit the most important bits and interpret it for you.

If someone wants to know about marketing a massage practice they turn to me because that’s what I eat, sleep and breathe every day.

I have my own curators. If I want to know anything about Facebook at any point in time, there are two people who I turn to specifically, Mari Smith and Amy Porterfield. That’s all they do every day of their lives and they understand it inside out. If I want a reasonable scientific perspective on the role of massage in treating injuries I turn to Paul Ingram of If I want to know the latest in massage research I turn to Ruth Werner and Tiffany Field, etc. etc. etc.

I don’t need to look for bits of this information every day. I don’t need to pick up disparate threads to find the weave. These curators do the work for me and compile information in a way that’s easy to access and understand. So look for people who curate the information you’re interested in and connect with them instead of looking for fragments across the World Wide Web.

If you are not already signed up for the challenge, you can do so here: