ProdPod: Episode 16 — To Change Productivity Systems, or Not?

In this episode’s lesson, I explain why changing your entire productivity system can be truly counterproductive and to think twice.

I’m the first person to extol the virtues of change. I’ve actually got an episode upcoming about just how to handle change. But, when it comes to changing to an entirely new productivity system, in this episode’s lesson, I explain why change on that macro level can be truly counterproductive and to think twice.

First, every productivity system is founded on habits and productive habits take time to develop. As I discussed in episodes 12 through 15, we have reason to believe habits take much more time to become evergreen than we’ve long-theorized. Take it consideration the time and effort to learn new productive habits in the context of a whole new productivity system.

Next, change is incremental and is based on what you already know. Your system may look completely different from five or more years ago, but it has your unique fingerprints all over it. No matter what system you adopt, it comes with the history of your past system and lessons learned from it. Analogously, Bruce Lee’s martial arts methodology and life philosophy, Jeet Kune Do, took the best aspects of then-known martial arts systems and blended them, not to create a new system but to highlight the virtues of these established systems. His students were encouraged not to replace their systems, but to continuously learn lifelong about new styles. The same goes for you to continuously learn and grow from understanding your productivity methodology and values as well as unproductive obstacles, such as procrastination, evaluation deficits, and even avoiding true progress by adopting new systems.

Finally, too much change too quickly will present a level of chaos that’s unproductive not only in the short-term but it trains you to become used to long-term disorder. Also, it’s not sustainable to throw away any system completely as dramatic changes in critical habits usually lead to a dramatic return to the most unproductive habits in lieu of said change. Productivity overhauls have a ripple effect in an interconnected society, so expect that chaos to affect others in your work and personal life.