When Productivity Gets Messy

My friend and colleague, Kip Soteres, published an article on LinkedIn about the messiness of change in business environments.  Having worked in the field of corporate communications for decades, Kip knows his stuff.  Things get messy.  And, as the title of his article so clearly communicates (ark, ark), “messy is a must.”


Productivity is also messy.


Yes, I just said that.


But, I’m not talking about Einstein’s quote “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”


I’m talking about the discomfort, and mess, that can result when a person is behaving productively.


Three Reasons Why Being Productive Really Stinks Sometimes


1.) Productive people have to say “No” much more often


Benjamin Franklin purportedly said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”  Productive people are top of mind when someone wants or needs something done well.


This situation has led to a slew of overcommitted productive people.  In fact, I devoted an entire section of one of my eBooks on how to say no without feeling like a jerk.  This is a skill that productive people must master.  Saying “no” makes things messy from time to time.


2.) Productive people can be very hard on themselves


Since I am apparently all about the quotes today, here’s another one from Julia Cameron: “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”


One of my personal struggles is being satisfied that I have done enough, and that I am enough.  If you have any secret solution for this issue, I’m all ears.  I just know that I see this tendency in my clients as well, and it is a messy way to live.


3.) Productive people make it look easy


Being productive is a series of habitual, minute-by-minute choices.  At a small business conference in 2015, I recall the founder of Savannah’s Candy Kitchen saying something to the effect of, “We are a 20-year overnight success story.”


The outside world just sees your results.  They don’t see the hours (years?) of thought and planning and effort you put into achieving them.  To others, productive people just seem to magically succeed.


So, what’s the point?  Why endure the mess?


I’ve lived on both sides of the productivity fence.  The reason I got into this business 10 years ago was to help those naturally-unfocused people like me realize that they don’t have to keep throwing more and more hours into the all-consuming fire of their jobs.


Being productive helps me have balance between my work and my life.


Being productive leaves me with fewer “what if’s” in life because I get things done.


Being productive allows me to achieve my mission of helping the American worker restore our economy and grow their business.


But, that’s just me.  Your reasons will be different.


Go hug a productive person today.


While you’re at it, give yourself a hug as well.  It’s okay to be messy.


Perfect Target

Is perfectionism your productivity barrier?

Check out my online course, Unwrapping Perfectionism.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.



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