The following is the third and final post in a series on leading a productive life by Bojan Dordevic. Bojan is an Internet marketing professional with a passion for all things productive, and is the co-founder of Alpha Efficiency Magazine (I make an appearance in the second of issue of said publication). You can invite him for a Hangout on Google+ and follow him on Twitter or App.net.
In my previous posts, I’ve discussed integrating goals and integrating habits into your life. This time around, I want to talk about the CORE.
CORE stands for Collect, Organize, Review, and Eliminate. In order to completely assimilate the CORE habits, we need to recognize our already existing oness, do an audit, and learn how we can improve. If you think about the ways you already Collect, Organize, Review, and Eliminate, you will understand how you work, operate, and where your productivity bottlenecks lie.
Once you recognize the patterns and habits that are preventing your CORE from working properly, you can take decisive steps to correct them and turn your productivity approach into a well oiled machine. That machine will truly drive you towards your goals. Sure, there are some issues you might encounter along the way, but here’s how they feel for every part of the CORE.
We are always collecting. That is the nature of our minds — to assimilate information and give it a certain form and place. But instead of forcefully changing your habit patterns of collection, I advise you to take small steps towards evolving your current collection system, see what is wrong with it, and let it grow and expand into the rest of your system. The way you start is the way you finish, so pay attention and always be certain that the way you are collecting is the way you are building up the rest of the CORE. Keep in mind that collecting is the critical component of the CORE because everything else follows it.
Integrating the habit of collecting in your life is the most tedious part of your productivity journey, and I believe it should have priority over all the other habits in your efforts to become more productive. Not all things are worthy of collecting, but there are always tidbits of information that are. There is a big benefit of having everything that comes to mind all in one place. So just focus on collection, no matter whether the ideas seem good or not. Once your pile of rubble (both the good and not-so-good kind) is big enough, it’s time to move on to the next part of the CORE.
Organizing becomes a chore when you let the things you need to organize sit for too long, so you need to make sure those things get to where you want them to go on a regular basis. Sticking with this habit was very hard for me, and every once in a while I’ve noticed that I let it slide. Usually you’ll recognize that you are not on top of this habit when your task management inbox is consistently overcrowded.
Clearing your inbox and simply organizing the tasks into groups can give you the overview of the direction in which you want to take your life. But this habit won’t actually get you to the finish line by itself. Organizing your time and tasks into one place will give you the peace of mind and clarity that will allow you to make educated decisions with the demands on your time. For numerous people this is worth it, as not everybody really understands how much of their own time they actually have.
Reviewing is essentially the opposite of organizing. It’s critical, and unfortunately it is the habit that has the lowest retention rate in terms of implementation.
When you review, audit yourself…and do so ruthlessly. When we review, we can be honest with ourselves and understand why we did (or did not) succeed in our plans. Reviewing requires a dose of honesty with yourself. That’s because it can give you insights into your own lies — the lies that are preventing you from succeeding with your plans. Don’t be afraid of being honest with yourself. It’s far better than living in the imaginary world, where nothing gets done.
Eliminating is the biggest priority, as it leads directly to executing and accomplishing goals. But when you don’t have the road map that the other aspects offer and focus exclusively on eliminating, then you lose far too much valuable time on doing the wrong things. Or worse, you completely waste time by focusing on irrelevant tasks. Smart elimination means dealing with things you’ve previously managed and decided to prioritize with purpose.
Don’t be afraid of embracing your destiny by embracing the habits that are integrating into your life plans and goals. Taking care of your own destiny has never been easy, as it will always put you in a mode where you are consistently fighting for your dreams. The difference between those that make it and those that don’t,is hidden in those little steps we make on daily basis that get us one step closer to our destination.
Remember…your goal isn’t to do things. Your goal is to become your dreams.
Photo credit: valike via SXC.HU