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.

Success and Significance

What is success?  Today’s Western culture prefers to define success in terms of fame and fortune.  People are considered successful when they earn lots of money and reach the highest levels of their chosen endeavors.  Awards, bonuses, job titles, certificates, prizes and the corner office are treasured symbols reflecting success.  Likewise, houses, cars, boats, and club memberships are the trophies of financial success.  You might recall a once-popular bumper sticker that read, “The one with the most toys wins!”

I believe success in these terms falls short of something much better.  Since it is difficult to change the current vernacular, let’s use a different word.  How about significant, which to me is the result of living an unselfish life, putting others ahead of our quest for toys and accolades.

“You can have everything in life that you want,
if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar

Zig spent decades teaching us that there are benefits from dedicating our lives to serving others.  At the same time, fame and fortune make lousy goals.  A better target is significance.  I suggest that a better name for it is Zignificance.  I wonder how much better the world would be if more people shifted their focus away from success and toward Zignificance.

“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance –
and then even the small steps and little victories along your path
will take on greater meaning.”
Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, September 2002