I’ve found a fabulous new productivity tool. I know you’ve heard this before, but I think this one could really change everything.
This thing does a terrific job organizing my scattered thoughts and projects. It helps me prioritize work, think “outside of the box” and provide much better service to my clients. It helps me connect better with key people. It dramatically increases my efficiency. It’s imminently affordable. And as all things must be these days, it’s completely wireless.
But it can’t be found among the dozens of productivity and communications applications installed on my smart phone and computers. And it can’t even be found at Best Buy, Brookstone or the Consumer Electronics Show.
But I can hook you up with one. I like to call it Long Walk 2.0. I’m no expert on productivity tools, but this is rougly how it works:
1. Exit from all other applications.
2. Put one foot in front of the other.
4. Think, uninterrupted, for 60 minutes or so.
Yes, I have taken to regularly unplugging from the alleged productivity of my relatively high tech mobile office to do something that looks suspiciously like slacking. Most days, I now set aside time for an hour-long walk or run with my Golden Doodle business partner.
The results have been astounding. On the relative solitude of the stroll I eventually unwind and begin to ask myself questions that don’t get resolved in the office: “If I didn’t have constraints, what would I recommend for them? Are those constraints real or imagined, permanent or surmountable? Are we truly differentiated, or are we spinning ourselves? Am I really giving that client the candid counsel they are paying for, or am I pulling punches because it is more comfortable? Is there a better way to do X? Is Y really necessary?”
And here is the weird part about my unplugged excursions: Sometimes I actually come up with pretty decent answers to the questions.
Of course, there is not a single reason why these issues couldn’t come up in the office. Actually, there’s a couple dozen reasons: “If I didn’t have constraints…(insert email interruption here) Are those constraints real…(Twitter interruption) Are we truly differentiated…(text interruption) Am I really giving candid…(pop-up meeting reminder interruption) Is there a better way…(cell phone interruption).
Like all of us, my personal and professional lives have become an endless symphony of chimes, chirps and vibrations. And for me, the concerto isn’t always soothing or conducive to my best work.
Don’t get me wrong, the electronic interruptions are wonderous in a lot of ways. And love ‘em or hate ‘em, they aren’t going away. But if your job or life sometimes requires you to think deeply for more than a few seconds at a time, the gadgets do have a downside. And the answer for me is not more or better gadgets. It’s a regularly scheduled dose of no gadgets.