Beyond Productivity: Living From the Inside Out (Episode 1)


What’s the relationship between productivity and personal development?

In Episode 1, Sara, Duff, Jonathan, and I talk about why there seems to be a disconnect between productivity and personal development, even though you can’t really separate the two.

In this episode, you’ll hear…

  • How productivity systems become less important when you’re doing things you find meaningful
  • Why productivity has become about external rewards and punishments and why personal development is about internal rewards and growth
  • Why the Weekly Review is so hard
  • Why deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do, and how a “To Stop” list may help you grow more than a “To Do” list
  • How understanding that you can only do when thing at a time can make you more creative, productive, and at peace with yourself

If you like this episode, please share it on Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, or your favorite social media service. But, more importantly, please join the conversation by commenting either here or on your own blog.

And if you like what they panelists are saying, why not visit them in their spaces, too?

This Episode’s Panelists

Duff McDuffee of Precision ChangeDuff McDuffee is the author of Precision Change, a blog that deconstructs personal development and features a podcast interview of David Allen. Duff coaches people and helps them dissolve internal “resistance” with a gentle, powerful process called Core Transformation. Follow him on Twitter: duffmcduffee.
Jonathan Mead from Illuminated MindJonathan Mead is a graphic designer, idea pusher, the author of Illuminated Mind, and a regular writer for Zen Habits. He writes about uncommon and counter-intuitive ways to improve your life and follow your dreams. He will be releasing an ebook in the next few weeks that helps people start living their dreams rather than just dreaming.
Sara from On Simplicity

Sara Pemberton is the author of On Simplicity, a blog about creating a happier, easier, more enjoyable life for yourself by focusing on simplicity. She has a background in writing and education; she approaches personal development from a deconstructionist perspective. She can be reached at sara AT onsimplicity DOT net.

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  1. says

    Good job calling out the distinction.

    I actually distinguish between results, productivity, personal development, personal excellence, and self-help. They’re all complimentary, but orthogonal.

    I think it helps to have a frame for these, otherwise, it’s easy for one topic to bleed into another. For example, my personal development frame is a set of categories that includes mind, body, career, financial, emotions, relationships, and fun. I invest across those buckets. Being productive helps me to to be effective in the categories, but productivity for the sake of being productive isn’t effective. It’s too easy to get a lot of thing done that don’t matter.

    On the other hand, having a great productivity system that supports you, makes life easier. Having a system is way more powerful than ad-hoc, because you can stop wasting time thinking about the basics and use your brain where you need it most. You can also dramatically reduce time on things that don’t matter and make more time for things that do. The right system also helps you turn your dreams into results. Best of all, the right system helps you enjoy the process.

    Personal development on the other hand is acknowledging that there’s skills that you can learn to improve your thinking techniques, you can improve your body’s performance, you can develop your emotional intelligence, you can master situations, and most importantly, you can improve your own attitude under a variety of scenarios. There’s a simple reality that you’re climbing or sliding in these areas and if you don’t use it, you lose it.

    I think the balance across categories is key. Just like martial arts how some styles focus on some things more than others, there’s a lot of styles of personal development that are too focused on the mind or too focused on feelings or too focused on just one aspect. The sum is more than the parts and an integrated approach is more powerful. I’ve learned time and again, it’s best to have a large toolbelt so you can use the right tool for the job.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Luck and Success

  2. Charlie says

    @Carla: Thanks! Everyone should know Jonathan, and I suspect that they will here before too long. He’s about to blow up.

    @JayCruz: Thanks – I’m glad you enjoyed the conversation.

    @Hunter: It’s even better getting faces with voices, but we’re not quite there yet. And if you don’t think you’re hacking your moleskine right, you’re probably not. Search Flickr for ideas. :p

    @J.D.: I really don’t see the distinction in the categories you mention, but that’s probably more due to my stubborn Aristotelianism than anything. I’ll definitely have to think about a readable, concise way to explain this – as I’ve told others, it’s about time for me to bring the background of my thinking into the foreground for a little bit.

    @Dustin: There is currently no link just for the series, but we are on iTunes under Productive Flourishing.

  3. says

    That’s an interesting perspective someone voiced in the podcast — that, when you notice that you haven’t taken care of one of your goals for the week, rather than beating yourself up about it, you can take it as a sign of where your priorities really are. If something is going for weeks without getting done, perhaps it’s not actually important to you on a deep, unconscious level, and you can reorganize your goal list accordingly.

    Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coachings last blog post..Job Interviewing From Within (Part One)

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