First, Know Thyself

This is the sixth post in a series on productivity1. The articles are based on content from a workshop I led at The Makers Summit.


So far in this series we’ve talked about what we would do with more time, what productivity hacking is, how productivity isn’t intuitive and how research can reveal the difference between reality and perception.

Before we dive into more tactical subject matter, it’s important to take a moment and talk about knowing ourselves.

…there is nothing which is quite so important as that we should without delay, and as quickly as possible, get to know ourselves.
—David Martyn Lloyd-Jones2

Why is this true? Because we all have unique struggles.

There are all types of people reading this series on productivity hacking.

There are those who border on being or are workaholics, those who struggle with motivation and many somewhere between. Productivity is going to look really different for each and every one of us because we’re all wired a bit differently and have varying strengths and weaknesses. People who have a workaholic bent need to schedule in dedicated rest so they don’t burn out or start producing poor quality work; people who struggle with motivation need to be vigilant in finding ways to keep propelling themselves towards their goals.

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I’ll never forget talking with a Division 1 college football player about preparing for games. He told me that the team sometimes spent as much time watching tapes of the opposing team playing as they did physically practicing on the field themselves. They studied plays and players until they could spot the weaknesses live on the field.

We would do well to watch our own tapes. The more quickly we identify our personal strengths and weaknesses—or, even better, have others help us identify them—the quicker we can build systems that play towards or compensate those strengths and weaknesses.

1. You can read the story behind this blog series and find links to all of the resources here.2. The quote about knowing ourselves comes from David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book, Spiritual Depression. You can read more about the book on Amazon.

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Practicing the art of bringing guns to a knife fight.

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