Recently I have been returning to some comfortable and familiar books  on productivity (what Euan Semple) refers to as ‘productivity porn’ :). I last read them a year ago, and each time I re–read them they help me sharpen up a little on my current practices: I get better for a while at getting to inbox zero, seeing the bottom of my in-tray, and getting things done. The books are comforting to read, contain a lot of common sense, and they help me.
This time around when I read the books I had one of those ‘big-little’ insights: an insight that on the one hand feels like a little thing and a bit obvious, but on the other hand is quite profound if I can only act on it.
The insight was that there’s an endless supply of this kind of work: emails, requests to connect, interesting articles to read, links to follow… So it’s no good me just becoming more productive at processing this stuff: that will only leave me with more capacity to process even more of this ‘administrivia’. The real challenge is for me to use the time I save by being productive on the high value tasks in my businesss: keeping in touch with clients, developing new services and workshops, taking the ‘helicopter’ view. That means shifting my focus and attention from administrivia to higher-value work.
But it’s really tempting to stay at the level of administrivia. It’s satisfying to tick easy items off my ‘To Do’ list (have you ever added something you’ve already done to your To Do list, just so you can tick it off right away? I have.) And by doing that I can avoid the tough work that really adds value to my business and stretches me. It’s resistance subtly disguised by keeping busy-busy.