Sustainable Productivity: Analogy from Energy Sector

If you’ve been reading my blog, you must now understood that I’m obsessed, or may be simply curious, about the idea of productivity.

I’m inventing a concept here: Sustainable productivity – not in it’s generic definition, but particularly in the field of personal management.

It is something in my mind and that is keeping coming often.

What do I mean by that?

I was listening to the video by Tony Schwartz. He says how the best energy is the renewable energy. That said, I’m going to extend this analogy to the Energy sector. That sustainability is the notion to not be dependent on ‘fossil fuels’.

I believe that the current productivity techniques are like fossil energy – conventional but easily draining. I’m more comfortable as Tony suggests to use renewal source of energy. Or use renewing as a good use of our energy. So take breaks and renew. Unfocus to focus. That said, what is sustainable productivity. It should not burn you – it shouldn’t be un-sustainable – meaning it should have resilience, it should not be given up by a week. It should be an anti-thesis to the statement that says ‘Any productivity system works well. For a week.’ It should have less maintenance. It should aid consistent practice.

So here are my ideas of what a Sustainable Productivity should not be and should be!

It should not be like a conventional energy system.

  • It is dirty. Ugly.
  • It pollutes the environment
  • It is not infinite. That is the coal or anything else is finite and scarce resources. It’ll soon dry up
  • It involves centralised planning. Only government can do it. Naturally it is expensive and costly (building a thermal power plant or hydro power plant)
  • It cannot be decentralised.

Sustainable Energy source is better. Why?

  • it is cheap to set up. Requires minimum space, time and money
  • Even a small normal person can set it up – without grandiose investment – like solar energy, gobar gas set up
  • it is renewable. Meaning it can be dependent on energy which is infinite or recyclable – like sun, wind, gobar
  • It is not chemical, but biological.
  • it is 100% harmless for the environment. Unlike the petrol, coal-based systems – extraction, refining, transportation and usage – causes pollution. But this one nothing. May be except having the ‘lithium-ion batteries’
  • Though it is not ‘powerful’ as it the conventional source of energy, it has consistency. Difference between ‘power’ and ‘energy’.
  • Low maintenance cost. There is literally zero operational cost in ‘producing’ energy out of this systems, except the initial investment cost. Once set up, it simply produces energy free of cost, work.

If you know a method that is ‘sustainable’, do share.

How Millionaire’s Schedule their Day: 1-Page Planner from Brendon Burchard

I recently learnt about this amazing 1-page Planner from Brendon Burchard.

An internet celebrity, youtube coach, Brendon, as part of his mission for facilitating ‘High Performance’ also talks about productivity. You can download the 1-page template here.

I tried it out. Here are the results.

  1. The Daily List (Priorities) ensures focus
  2. Categorizing work under ‘3 Projects‘ applies the divide and conquer rule very efficiently. [The other productivity guru, who recommends such categorization is Peter Bregman in his 6 boxes to-do list].
  3. Separating calls/ emails under an exclusive task box (People) to reach out to and waiting from ensures great way of tracking. This works especially when one is on ‘Manager’s Schedule’. One it doesn’t get mixed with ‘tasks’.
  4. Writing one’s big goals under Projects facilitates goal-based/ outcome-based thinking

However, there are few drawbacks.

  1. I still need a master list (uncategorized) to capture not only tasks, but also ideas, random stuff that I may want to think later
  2. I need a separate list for Habits/ Routines – I prefer avoiding in my ‘priorities’ list
  3. Re-writing my 3 Projects and its Goals every day seems useless and it leaves too little space for me to work around on an ‘1-page planner.
  4. It seems to focus too much on a ‘Manager’s Schedule’ than on ‘Maker’s Schedule’

Before you take my word for it. Try it out. You may get a couple of inspiring ideas to model your 1-page planner.

Alternative to the Overrated Eisenhower Matrix

Recently there is quite a number of writing on Stephen Covey’s 4 Quandrant system, inspired by Eisenhower Matrix.

Mark Forster despises the prioritization tasks based on importance. His argument is you cannot analytically focus upon a task. Because you need the buy-in from your emotional brain/ intuitive mind as well.

There is yet another lesser known Quadrant. Mark refers to Ken Blanchard’s (of One-Minute Manager fame) book is called The On-time, On-target Manager (One Minute Manager).

* Have to do, Want to do
* Have to do, Don’t Want to do
* Don’t Have to do, Want to do
* Don’t Have to do, Don’t Want to do

James Altucher talks about moving your ‘Haves list’ to ‘Wants list’.

Resource on Eisenhower Matxix (if you are still interested)


Giving: 5 Ways to Become to Happiest Person in the World

I’m on this pursuit being the happiest person in the world. As H.Jackson Brown Jr. suggests it is not in getting more, but in the giving. Here are list of things I’m wondering whether I could give, or giving or will continue giving all in the name of ‘pursuit of happiness’.

  1. Love: It is one of the easiest thing to give, while at the same time the hardest. To give love, care and attention to family is my first ‘give’ – to love with all my heart – to give love with all care and attention – to give love unconditionally.
  2. Committment: Almost everyone cribs about their job, the work – but think again. We live in one of the most prosperous periods in human history. Whether I can fully comprehend the entire scheme of things or not. But I hope to take this pledge to give my fullest ‘committment’ at my work. To give 100% at my job – not more than that ; to give my sincere dedication and appreciation to the duty at hand.
  3. Warmth: We are not alone – we live in a community; one cannot be happy in an ivory tower. So my next plan is to give my warmth and smile to my friends, colleagues, peers, to even strangers.
  4. Charity: To give tithe/ donate/ daan has been preached by every religious texts and philosophical discourse. Thanks to a couple of opportunities, I got a chance to donate (in money and kind) to people in need – it could be a poor family in the neighbourhood, or to sponsor a child’s education, bear a health expense or anything.
  5. Gyandaan: With loads of information available on the internet, the space for ‘gyan’ – that could be translated to knowledge and wisdom is getting lost. So I’m planning to give gyan – gyandaan through my blogging, through my reading, writing and sharing.

So, what are you planning to give this year!?

Mr.Sinatra! You’re Wrong.

I believed in it.

It was my way of defining my revenge. All thanks to Frank Sinatra.

Yes, he does mean what he says – the best form of revenge is massive success. But lately I’m believing that it is misplaced.

While my inclination towards Gandhian philosophy and Ahimsa increasing, I am starting to think that the notion of ‘revenge’ itself is outdated. I feel more comfortable letting it go away than harboring it.

I also took inspiration from the Bible, the New Testament,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

~ Matthew 5:43-45, The Bible

Matthews redefines commandment from the Old Testament and suggesting to love even one’s enemies. What an enlightment! Interestingly, Subramanya Bharathi, saintly heroic Tamil poet and freedom figher says,

பகைவனுக் கருள்வாய் — நன்னெஞ்சே பகைவனுக் கருள்வாய்.

This literally translates to ‘Love thy enemy – Oh Good Heart! Love thy enemy!’ To paraphrase the explanation from Lyrical Delights: ‘Courage is not just standing against the evil. The true courage comes when you are able to wish for the blessing to the enemy! Here is what the brave poet speaks to his heart. He explains why to love thine enemy. For the lack of love / compassion to the enemy  will only lead to the downfall of self. And he also says that as the shell hoards the beautiful pearl, there would be good in everyone. Find the pearl in every plain shell so life is filled with love, goodness and betterment.’

So the best revenge need not be ‘massive success’ – but simply wishing good life to all, even your enemies.