The four thieves of productivity according to Gary Keller


Gary Keller and Jay Papasan the authors of One Thing intimated that there are four thieves of productivity that must be always be kept at bay.

Three Thieves That Steal Your Peace of Mind – Awaken

Thieves steal when one is not suspecting or is not attentive to keep watch and protect their property or asset. Since productivity is an asset and it has high value, it tends to have enemies and thieves who like to stealing and waste it away when the individual is not attentive and careful to protect it. These four thieves are:

  1. Inability to say No. In order to be highly productive one must focus on doing one thing at a time and avoid multitasking. According to Gary Keller one “Yes” has to be defended by a thousand “No” s.  Whenever you say yes you have to think about what you are saying no to. Learn to say no as many time as possible so that you can focus on one thing or few things which you can do effectively.  One person known to have said many Nays was Steve Jobs. He is said to have been happy for the many products which he said no to and discontinued them. In 1997 it was noted that Jobs discontinued 340 products from the company’s product line and retained only 10 products. This shows that Steve Jobs had mastered the art of saying no to many things. There are effective ways of saying no. One of those ways of saying no is by showing or leading to another person who can say yes.
  2. Fear of chaos. When you decide to focus on one thing in order to have enhanced productivity, chaos is inevitable. There are things that will be left unattended resulting in some form of disorder and untidiness. To be productive one has to allow some degree of chaos and disorder in order to focus on one thing. The good thing with allowing this chaos it that with enhanced productivity, one usually gets the time and resources to easily manage the chaos.
  3. Poor health habits. Poor health is a big time thieve of productivity. You cannot be productive if you are not healthy. High results need maximum energy which can only be produced by healthy body. Do not go for success by sacrificing your health. Always make sure that your health is a number one priority. Many people succeed by trading their heath for success only to realise later that the tradeoff was too costly and not worth it. By the time they realise it is too late and the deal is already done. Eat healthy diet, exercise, meditate and spend time with your loved ones in order to cultivate emotional health.
  4. Environment that does not support your goals. Environment in this case refers to what you see and experience each day. Your environment can be hindrance and a thieve of your productivity. It can distract you from focusing on the most important tasks. Nobody exists as an island, hence the people that you interact with during the day can be a hindrance towards the attainment of your goals. Therefore, be cautious and extremely careful about people who surround you because they highly influence you and your productivity. They infect you with their attitudes, biases, skills and knowledge. Therefore, have extreme care about the people that you interact with to ensure that they are in support of your productivity.

Therefore, inability to say no, fear of chaos, poor health habits and having or living in an environment that does not support your goals can easily rob you off your productivity.  With this awareness, make effort to say no, accept chaos, manage your health and develop an environment that can support your goals in order to attain maximum productivity. You can buy Gary Keller’s One Thing here.    

Published by Samuel Ng'ang'a Mwangi

One day I had too much to tell but there was no one to tell the story. I had to write articles, print them and then give them out to anyone who cared to read. Author of "So You Want To Get Into Courtship?" A Guide To Purposeful Christian Courtship. I write and rewrite on my blog www.mwelisa.com.

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