I was listening to an episode of Talk is Jericho where Chris Jericho’s good friend Lance Storm was talking with him about his early wrestling years. One of the things he said stood out in my mind:
”When you’re starting out, you see your holes. Because the only way you’re going to get good is to see your shortcomings and improve on them.”
Whenever you’re starting something new – no matter what it is – if you want to get better at it then it’s important to see the gaps. You need to first recognize where the holes are in your game and then do what you can to fill them. Whether you fill those gaps up with new approaches, tools that can handle them, or bridging them with existing approaches and tools, you need to fill them in order to improve.
And your productivity is no different.
If you’re trying to get things done and you spend a lot of time on the road, but the digital task manager you use (either by choice or by force) doesn’t cover you while you’re out there, find a way to fill the hole left as a result.
Maybe it’s by using a notebook and transferring items to digital later. Maybe it’s by emailing tasks to your task management. Maybe it’s by picking a new app altogether.
No matter what it is, mind the gap and then fill it as best you can.
If you have too much on your plate every day and can’t get move things forward effectively and efficiently enough, look for something to close that gap.
Perhaps you can hire a virtual assistant to handle certain tasks. Perhaps FancyHands can help you out. Perhaps you can time chunk and theme your days so that you better allocate your time rather than try to cram everything in every day (and defer things regularly as a result).
Regardless, notice where the holes in your game are and close them.
Not sure how to do that? Here are two things you can start doing now to identify your holes and begin the process of closing them.
The most impactful of the two things that will help you see the holes in your game better is journaling. I journal every night before bed. Why? Because I want to acknowledge what worked and what didn’t during the day. I also want to pay tribute to the highlights of my day and also draw some attention to the lowlights. Ultimately, I journal because I want to chronicle my life in some small way so that I can improve it along the way.
And it’s working.
You can use a notebook or an app to journal. Some people use Evernote. Some people use The 5 Minute Journal. I use Day One. You can journal every day, twice daily, or as frequently as you like. The important thing is to start doing it and then make it part of your regular routine. It’ll make a huge difference across both your home and work life.
2. Review Regularly
Oddly enough, by journaling regularly you wind up doing this in a small way. But this kind of review is much deeper. You review everything on your plate, all incoming information, and so on. Whether you want to process a GTD Weekly Review as per David Allen or some other method, a regular review will help clear the mind and get you back to a place of calm and less overwhelm.
It’s human nature to want to impress…and improve. The only way you can do both of those things is to pay attention to your shortcomings and work on eliminating them or masking them by levelling up in other aspects of yourself so that they aren’t as glaring as they may be. If you want to be an elite performer in work and in life, you need to see the holes and work hard to get rid of them. There are plenty of tools out there that can help, but they can’t do it for you. Only the approach you take and the effort you put in can do that.
The term “mind the gap” often refers to the audible or visual warning that rail passengers in the United Kingdom are given when boarding or disembarking from the train, but in this case it applies to you. Mind the gap (or gaps) in your productivity and fill them so they no longer adversely affect you. It won’t be easy – taking things to the next level rarely is – but it will be rewarding.