One of my favourite sayings is from a speech given by Albert E. N. Gray in 1940: “Successful people formed the habit of doing those things that failures don’t like to do.”

True productivity is about doing what is necessary to achieve the desired result in a particular timeframe. If there is something lacking in your life or business, it is probably because you have been avoiding doing what is necessary to get it.

Here are three examples:

“Fatness”

First is “fatness”. I don’t know about you, but my mirror would always show me at least one area that had some extra padding that I wished would magically disappear. The truth is that I knew how to change it, I just didn’t like the process. So I avoided it. I busied myself so that I didn’t have time to do it. Alas, if only I had time. It was clearly Time’s fault.

Avoidance: successful. True productivity: zero. Result: failure. So who is truly accountable? Time to accept the truth.

“Brokeness”

Second, “brokeness”. Recently I was speaking about priorities, processes, psychology and financial results with an audience of business leaders in Japan. At one point, I illustrated how you can be earning a fortune and still be broke. This is often because you set a goal in your mind and forget to reset it when you arrive.

“The Broke Cycle” is a very funny three-minute clip illustrating this on my website. It shows how goals need to be reset. Otherwise, you unconsciously sabotage yourself and you can pursue the old goal again. That’s why your income can plateau, you stay in debt or cashflow never gets past break-even.

True productivity comes from being very clear of the new objective and why it’s important. What is your true outcome? Be truthful.

“Messness”

Third is “messness”. Messness is a symptom of comfort experienced through disorganisation. Disorganisation is an indicator of inappropriate processes. Poor processes lead to wasted time. Wasted time means that more could have been done in that time. Doing more in the same amount of time is being more productive.

If you want to be more productive, you need to learn and apply systems that will serve you. Don’t comfortably insist that your current way works best for you while moaning about the poor results. Increase your awareness of the true reality. Clear up as much clutter as you can in 12 minutes. Then focus on what truly matters, distraction free.

“Noness”

Success comes from doing more than is expected. While I said I would give you three examples, here’s a fourth to reward you for choosing to learn, understand and for committing to apply at least one of the things you have just agreed with.

“Noness” is the habitual thought, or expression, of saying “no” to an opportunity or request. People say “no” a lot and are conditioned to say “no”. Your parents said “no” to you when you were a child to protect you from setting yourself on fire. Yet these days, you say “no” to all the wrong things. You say “no” to change, “no” to possibility, “no” to opportunities. You say “no” to exercise, “no” to saving and “no” to learning more. Most importantly, you often say “no” to accepting personal responsibility and accountability for your results.

Accept responsibility. Seek learning. Attend programmes. Read. Learn. Apply. Yes.

“Yesness”

Wow! You must be a committed person to get a fifth example! Well, here it is. There are some people who say “yes” for the wrong reasons too. There is a character in my V9 profile called The Sufferer. The Sufferer says “yes” to everyone because Sufferers define themselves on the opinions of others. By saying “yes” to the requests of others, they believe that they will be liked better.

However, they can get into trouble when they end up taking on too much work and cannot complete it on time. This makes them disliked. So they seek to be liked again by saying “yes” to more things and they drown themselves in missed deadlines and feelings of inadequacy. They end up being extremely busy but unproductive.

Saying “yes” is great if you qualify it by managing expectations and establishing clarity over priorities. Then focus on completion.

“Nowgodoness”

To be a truly productive person, your habitual actions must (and will) speak louder than your words. And that’s the truth. But you already know that. Now: Go. Do.