The Heroes Journey of Productivity

Your Adventure Begins Now…

Foreword

For many years I sought a fundamental process of bringing thoughts into reality in the most efficient manner possible. A system of consciously creating one’s inner world in the outer world.

I researched as many productivity practices as I could, from getting things done, pommodoro technique, time boxing, project management, scrum, pareto principle, parkinson’s law, etc… and mapped them side by side.

Where they overlapped showed a universal series of steps that can apply to any scope and scale of undertaking, from a task that would take 5min to complete, all the way up to a life mission and beyond…

The easiest way to understand these steps are as a metaphor for a hero’s journey.

The steps of this journey are as follows:

  • Now
  • Explore
  • Decide
  • Observe
  • Plan
  • Act
  • Measure
  • Achieve
  • Celebrate
  • Reflect

Now

Where you are RIGHT NOW, in this moment, living your life the way you have always lived it.

There is a good chance that you are stuck in the day to day routine of life, unsure of how to break free and have an adventure.

If you want more from life, then there comes a point where you can’t take another day of the predictable routine you exist within, something has to change.

Explore

All journeys start with exploration, expanding your awareness beyond your current realm of understanding.

It is here that you find new ideas, new goals, new aspirations.

Anything novel and new entering your awareness through your many senses is a form of exploration.

Decide

Now with a plethora of exciting new things before you, you feel overwhelmed by the possibility.

Your “to do” list feels infinite, and though you maybe doing things you don’t feel like you are making much progress at all.

It’s time to decide on a few important objectives. Of the goals you have collected through your exploration, you will need to audit them for alignment to who you are.

What do you love? What does the world need? How could these goals join together into something cohesive and unified? What would fulfill me long term?

By the end of this step you will be able to tell others what your primary focus is at all times and how it serves your greatest mission / vision.

Observe

Now with a destination in mind, you are eager to get started and head off on your journey. But it is still too soon…

On any journey you need 2 points at all times. Your destination and your current position.

It is time to observe and be present to your current starting point. To honestly understand where you currently are in relation to the goal you have decided on.

What metrics and elements are important? How are they right now? How are they in comparison to the goal you have set?

Plan

Google maps turns on, you have a destination and a starting point. You press “start journey”, an intricate and yet precise list of instructions appears on the screen telling you how to go from where you are to where you want to be.

Unfortunately you don’t have a magic app that can do this journey planning for you when it comes to your goals. You will have to figure out your own plan.

How can I get from where I am to where I want to be? Who has achieved this goal before me? Who can I learn from? How can I break my big goal down into smaller projects and those projects down into doable tasks?

By the end of this, you have a rough plan of “Next Steps” mapped out from your Origin to your Destination.

Act

A dream is a goal without a plan. With a plan, even the seemingly impossible is brought into the realm of possibility through consistent focused action.

The path will not be a straight line don’t expect it to go to plan, use the plan as a focus tool and check list to bring you back on track if you get lost and ensure all necessary steps are taken. To reach your goal.

Action is about making real the desired goal, the plan is a blueprint on how to do this. In reality, the plan begins to become obsolete as soon as it is created, and will need to be amended as the journey progresses.

A journey of 1000 miles begins, continues and is completed one step at a time. Action is much the same thing, it will happen 1 small step / task at a time until completed. Break any step that is not easily achievable down into smaller steps.

You will spend 95% of the journey here, where as the achievement and celebration will last but the blink of an eye. The journey MUST be enoyable and fulfilling. Anything less than this is to waste 95% of your time being unhappy and unfulfilled in pursuit of a transient moment of ‘Success’

Measure

We are constantly measuring the difference between our goal and reality. The goal of our action is to make this gap smaller.

If the gap is not getting smaller from our action, we are doing the wrong things. We are not following our plan or our plan was made without understanding the true journey required.

When our present reality matches our desired destination, we have achieved our goal.

Achieve

We have brought into reality a thought.

It started as a whisper in the back of your mind, crystallised into a goal, made possible through planning, and made manifest through determined action.

You have arrived, for better or worse at the destination you desired to reach.

Celebrate

Appreciation, gratitude, reward if you do not overtly receive something for the achievement of the goal, you must still take the time to celebrate.

Celebration is the act of showing love for one’s own integrity, for making real one’s own intentions, for acknowledging the achievement of one’s goals.

The celebration is in proportion to the size of the goal achieved. For a task done in minutes, a mentally acknowledging the achievement is enough. For achievement of your big company goal, maybe a week of celebration is in order.

Reflect

With the journey ended and celebration coming to a close, the next journey is opened by reflecting on the previous.

Reflection is a form of exploration into the past, it opens the door on doing things differently next time.

Reflection gives you a chance to learn from past failure and successes, better understand what worked well and what didn’t.

Using this completed journey as inspiration, you choose your next great goal. And so the Heroes Journey of Productivity becomes a Growth Spiral, ever cycling upwards to greater heights.


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