Personal Productivity

Use the 3 P’s to Tilt the Odds in Your Favor

Change The Odds
wrote this on October 15, 2012
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It’s all about the odds.  Whether in Vegas or in life, it’s all about the odds.  Fortunately in life unlike Vegas (unless you can count cards which is illegal in Vegas), we can tilt the odds in our favor.

Various factors can determine our success or failure on any given task.  But most of the time, our worst enemy is looking at us in the mirror.  Most of us ride the same emotional rollercoaster when starting a task or project.  At first, we feel confident and fearless.  As we start and get to the details, we get nervous, which leads to fear.  We ultimately make excuses; push out deadlines, and in the worst scenario: fail.

Each time we ride this rollercoaster, our ego takes a hit, and our confidence weakens.  This can have a deep and long lasting impact on our work and personal life.  Very few of us take stock of our failures; those of us who do are able troubleshoot our methods and environment.  For us, each rollercoaster ride is a step in the right directions.

Use the 3 P’s to tilt your odds in your favor today:

1# Tilt the Odds by Controlling – Pollution

Your work environment is probably under constant threat of “pollution”.  Pollution can be anything which takes time away from “Doing”, e.g., daydreaming, Facebook, Twitter, talkative colleagues, breaks in all forms (coffee, lunch, cigarette, doodling, etc.)  On top of that, if you’re working in cubical land, loud co-workers’ noise pollution consistently invades your space.

But the funny thing is that pollution is and forever will be a part of your work environment.  Instead of fighting it, try to embrace it.  Take a lesson from nature – dust “pollution” is a major contributor to rain.  In the office; you can become the rain maker if you learn how to control pollution.

Don’t try to block out all pollution, it will never happen.  Just control it.  Breaks (in all forms, except cigarette) should be an important part of your workflow.  You’ll be happier, more productive, and last longer if you can work effectively for ninety minutes, and then take a 5 minute break of your choice. You’ll find that your talkative colleagues will still be there to chat; even Facebook and Twitter will be there.  As I written about in earlier blogs, it’s all about establishing a new work habit, and sticking with it.

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2#  Tilt the Odds by Avoiding – Perfectionism

Perfectionism will only give you grief.  Release yourself of the petrifying grip of perfectionism.  Fight your urge to wait, hold off things until the conditions are right or reshape/rewrite and reinvent everything around you…the truth is that the conditions are already right; you’re just not in touch with reality.

In reality, nothing is perfect.

Thinking about how to make everything work perfectly and the worrying that accompanies it takes more time than actually doing the task at hand.   Hopefully, with important actions and projects, you can lean on team members to brainstorm ideas and review your work. Most work goes through several re-writes anyway, so don’t delay getting started.

Most of us, unfortunately, twist and over-complicate the simplest of tasks because of unmanaged expectations.  They lead to analysis paralysis and other syndromes that make sure that you won’t get anything done.

The best way to overcome perfectionism is just by doing, ignore inner warning and over-planning.  Once you take the first few steps, you’ll have overcome the perfectionist hurdle.

3#  Tilt the Odds by Being – Prepared

Abraham Lincoln said that if someone will tell him to cut down a tree in 8 hours, he will probably invest the first 4 hours in sharpening his axe and only then get to the tree…Nothing beats preparation.

Tilt the odds further in your favor with this cool trick.  As a rule of thumb, prepare for big tasks and projects the night before.  You don’t need elaborate plans.  A few bullets on what you need to get done the next day, or possibly breaking down the next phase of a project with a few bullet points.  You don’t have to write them down, although this helps me.

During the night, while you sleep, something magical will happen… Your subconscious will start to working on them during sleep which will help you easily tackle them during the next day.  I’ve had countless experiences where I literally done the task in my sleep.  I love those mornings because everything seems to go right, no stress, no worries.  I get to the office, and do the task “again” with no stress since I “already did it once”.

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One response to “Use the 3 P’s to Tilt the Odds in Your Favor”

  1. Excellent post, Haim. Particularly like the idea of controlling the pollution. Like everything else it’s a matter of setting boundaries, not total deprivation. Thanks for sharing.

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