How Is Productivity Like eBay?

Thinking about personal productivity brings to mind two words: efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is a quantitative measurement of production. Effectiveness is a qualitative concept comparing results within a standard of excellence.  Together they are known as “productivity.”

Whenever we talk about productivity, we are discussing the “currencies of life” such as money, time and human effort.  Until we evaluate the exchanges and trade-offs of these currencies we can’t intentionally make good decisions about our efficiency and effectiveness.  Let’s look at two of life’s currencies.

Time Isn’t Money, Time is Life

Time is our most precious currency because it’s irreplaceable.  We simply can’t create more time for ourselves.  Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and we all have a limited total allocation, otherwise known as “lifespan.”  Furthermore, we cannot know with certainty how long that span is.

Conclusion: Whatever you trade away your time for better be worth the exchange.  In other words, is this a good deal?

What Will I Do for Money?

Just because people live in a free society with unlimited earning potential does not diminish the value of money. Think of what you gave up to acquire yours. At the very least, you traded away some of your precious time and energy. Some people also trade away their dreams, opportunities, relationships, and integrity for money.  Ouch!

Conclusion: Whenever you are considering a trade that involves money always ask, “Is this exchange in everyone’s best interest?”

As trainer, teacher, author and coach, I ask people to trade some of their money and time in exchange for an opportunity to have a better future.  This transaction is called an investment.  Whether the professional development opportunity is one of mine or from someone else, I encourage people to increase their capacity by investing in themselves on a regular basis.  Clay Mathile, former owner of IAMS, said this, “When you invest a dollar in a person, you get $10 back. When you invest a dollar in a machine, you get $2 back.

There’s something I know is true without question and has to do with personal growth and development.  It’s one of the facts of life.  Zig Ziglar explained it this way: “You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”  This bit of wisdom begs the question, “What will I feed my mind today, this week, this month?”

Agree?  Then maybe I’ll see you at one of our development events sometime.  Information online HERE.

Easy Vs. Hard

The expression “work smart, not hard” is advice about efficiency by leveraging resources. It presumes that working smart leads to easier work. Efficiency and a lighter burden are always good goals as long as the easy way and hard way both lead to the same destination. The critical question when faced with an easy vs. hard choice is, “Do they really go to the same place?”

As human beings, the natural tendency is to pick the path of least resistance even when this is not expected to produce the best results. Always choosing easy over hard is based on near-term mindset. Instant gratification is an example that comes to mind. In the long run, we end up settling for far less in life if we make a habit of taking the easy path. Being one who is willing to consider and choose the more challenging path, whenever it makes long-term sense, requires a deep-seated commitment to the future.

“Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” — Benjamin Franklin


“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”
— Anonymous

Easy and Hard Can Be Matters of Perspective and Attitude

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” — Terence (185 BC – 159 BC)

“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.” — Baltasar Gracian

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill

Difficulties Help Sharpen Our Axes

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” — Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” — Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 – 1734)

“If at first you DO succeed, try something harder.” — John C. Maxwell

Facing Difficulty Requires Courage

“It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.” — Louis Pasteur, microbiologist

“Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air.” — John Adams

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” — Sam Ewing

Dealing With Difficulty

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” — Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893)

Finally, always remember the words of Edward R. Murrow:

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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