Do you have a productive mind?

One of the greatest traps in business, micromanagement, is also a recipe for disaster in personal productivity. If you don’t trust your system, you’ll never let go of everyday minutiae, limiting your overall effectiveness. Essentially, a lack of trust can stop you from having a productive mind.

Although it’s not a trait I find particularly appealing, I know several individuals who could be described as ‘control freaks’. Determined to succeed at everything, they direct their energy with forceful demands to get the results that they desire. Much like a lioness will go to any lengths to protect its cubs, these individuals will do ‘whatever it takes’ to win. It takes focus and determination, but also a certain lack of sensitivity, in order to get these results.

The extreme nature of these traits, in my opinion, represents an inability to rely on others. In order to drive forward their perfect world, they fail to set up systems and relationships which support their long term goals. Developing a method of delegation (either to people or a system), and trusting others, allows you to work on the big picture without getting tangled up in everyday ‘functional’ activities.

How do you get a productive mind?

If you don’t trust those around you, you’re highly likely to be dedicating a high proportion of your time and energy to ‘managing’ them. Not only is this often to the detriment of your relationships, it is also stressful and ineffective. Likewise, a failure to trust your personal systems means you’ll spend more time double checking details, leading to feelings of frustration and losing control.

To truly make your mind productive, you must learn to trust and let go of the minor details in life. Whilst it might feel more comfortable to insist on control, stepping back and allowing people and systems room to grow are essential to expanding your productivity.

By trying to keep control of everything around you, you begin to lose perspective and objectivity about what is happening. Minor items will bother you more than they should, detracting from your ability to focus on strategic and tactical execution of activities. Instead of having a productive mind, you will instead have a mind full of unimportant details and stress.

If you don’t have a system for capturing the tasks in your life, you might be interested in reading my article on Getting Things Done. No matter how you choose to pursue a productive mind, you need to trust others and fine tune your relationships and systems in order to make the most of your time.

Running with trust

Once you have a method for improving your productivity, it’s important to give it time to set in. Making changes to your mindset isn’t an overnight activity. If your natural tendency is to keep control as much as possible, it will take time to reverse this instinct. Building trust in people and systems takes time, and the challenge is persistence. Keep revisiting your performance on a regular basis to determine shortcomings and areas for improvement.

Once your mind begins to relax and let go, you’ll begin to see the value in delegation and trust. People are often more capable than we give them credit for. Once you start to recognise this, you’ll be truly free to start looking at the big picture.




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