Turning Limitation into Productivity Tricks

Apr 26, 2009 by

What if we can turn our limitation into advantages?

For readers that have been following me long enough will know that I used to have “turning limitation into advantages” as the big theme of this blog.

Today, I want to share something along that line, especially in relation to productivity tricks. The tricks are mostly inspired by the book The Now Habit by Neil Fiore (review). This article will cover three limitations that we might always tell ourselves regarding productivity, and how we can use them for our advantages. Let’s start with the first one…

1. I don’t like to work, I like to play…

Do you always wait for Friday? TGIF is always on your mind when it’s Friday. If work seems to be a burden to you and you like to play, here is the good news. Productivity is not always about work, but it’s also about play. Yes, you don’t get me wrong. Guilt-free play is an important aspect of productivity suggested by Neil Fiore.  Not only to have balance, but as a reward.

We procrastinate when we think we don’t have time to play. In result, we play to procrastinate. Now, the trick is simple, you play and you must tell yourself that you will play. The play should not come before your work as a reason to procrastinate, but as a reward after completing some non-distracted works.

2. I don’t like structure or schedule, I like to cheat rules…

It’s exactly the idea behind the trick Neil recommends, The Unschedule. Most people can’t stick with many productivity tips because they can’t stick long enough with the habit or rules they are creating. Let’s imagine… what if the one we are breaking is our play time and we use it for our work?

Neil is using that inclination as a reverse psychology to boost our productivity. The trick is called The Unschedule. It works by scheduling your play time first while limiting your work time. Later on, we just have to focus on starting our work whenever we have free time. Neil suggested that it has to be at least 30-minutes blocks of non-distracted time. It’s not too short to complete something, but not too long to discourage us to start.

This trick is aimed to put more time into your leisure and more quality into your work. But more than that, it also builds up a subconscious desire to work more and play less.

3. I’m good at starting, but not good at finishing…

Are you good at starting and not good at finishing? It could be the problem of will and persistence. It could also be fear of completing with mistakes, failures, and imperfection. So, maybe we also have to change our perspective from finishing into starting, just like what I quoted from Neil below…

Finishing will take care of itself. When it is time to start the last thirty minutes that will finish the project, that too will be an act of starting-the start of the conclusion of your current project, as well as the beginning of your next. So forget about finishing. If you must worry, worry about starting. In order to finish, all you have to do is to just keep starting.
~Neil Fiore, Ph.D. – The Now Habit (review)

It’s not the matter of finishing, but the matter of starting. If your life has become a series of starting, the completion of the project will come eventually.

What if I have failed before….

If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.
— Tallulah Bankhead

A journey to productivity is not an easy journey. Setbacks and disappointments are something we will normally face in life, but that should not be the excuse not to start and procrastinate further. You’ve got to be fearless to make mistakes, and even more to pick yourself up…

A mistake will not be the end of the world because I won’t let it be. I will pick myself up and will try again-regardless of how embarrassed or hurt I feel.
~Successful people according to Neil Fiore, Ph.D.

It may seem to be a long way to go, but you can always start, you can always focus on one step at a time…

If I think too much about reaching the finish line I lose speed, whether I’m ahead or behind. I’ve had to train myself to turn my attention away from finishing and toward the next step, the process of staying in the race.
~an Olympic runner mentioned by Neil Fiore, Ph.D. (The Now Habit)

If you are afraid of completing, then tell yourself to start again… it’s just another 30 minutes. The art of completing is just starting… when you start, you break the inertia, and you will flow.

Keep starting,

And lastly, a gift for you, here is a wonderful song from Jordin Sparks: One Step at A Time (buy CD)

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  1. This trick is aimed to put more time into your leisure and more quality into your work. But more than that, it also builds up a subconscious desire to work more and play less.

  2. Some good ways to spin negatives into positives.  Also its always good to be able to self-identify your weaknesses.

  3. Chris, identifying them is good as long as you’re not petrified by them. Embracing them and turn them into advantages may help. What we resist will persist, what we befriend, we will transcend!

  4. I am agree with Chris that if someone who identify its weakness and he can improve himself, no matter it belongs to personal or company.

  5. Robert this is the best blog post i have ever read over the internet. great post congrats.

  6. I agree that providing yourself with rewards is a great way to stay motivated.  If I am working and have an urge to play or do something else, I force myself to do a certain amount more work before I allow myself to be distracted.  Then if I reach that goal and still have motivation, I push the goal forward.

  7. Very informative for me , I am totally agree with this article.

  8. “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” That’s a great quote. It reminds me of the famous quote “youth is wasted on the young” in fact the two are very similar. It’s that feeling that when we are older, we have learned through our mistakes all we need to know in order to shine in the world, but by then we are too old…  but then again, one may argue that’s letting our age control our desires.

  9. Brilliant never think also use our limitation for achieving things, and some of the heart touching line and word “Guilt-free play” and mistake doesn’t means end of the world very inspirational post.

  10. Its good post robert. I think turning limitation in some advantageous field is not so easy for everyone. People make mistakes and forget them if they want to… but there are very few who find good from worst.

  11. Thanks again bardy, shouldn’t I call you Edward? (looking at your email)
    first step in turning limitation into advantages: laugh at your mistakes… don’t judge, but forgive yourself. Accepting who you are is the first step in becoming better than who you are…
    Cheers to you!

  12. hello, this is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting in your blog especially its discussion. keep up the good work.

  13. I like the idea of turning limitations into advantages,it is the best motto in life.It is necessary only to realize that it is a limitation and change your thoughts about it and the situation will depend into a better one,and the life will begin to bring advantages which you can see.

  14. Afriza N. Arief

    Hi Robert,

    Good to know you have this nice website.

  15. Creative tricks to turning limitation into productivity. I think these 3 points are really fact. Thanks for amazing ideas and i will try it.

  16. Just relaxing sometimes open up your mind and enables you to solve problems or just come up with a great new idea.
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  17. Got a lot of trouble lately, when creativity side won’t kick in for a reason. Just stay as static as ever. Not really going somewhere.
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