ProdPod: Episode 46 — Talking Yourself Into Better Productivity

Most people associate the idea of talking to one’s self as a problem. However, the kind of talking to yourself I discuss in this episode I think makes you more productive thereby increasing your sanity!

We all have an inner voice; it is a collection of our approximately seventy thousand thoughts per day converted to words as we consciously think them. Let’s enlist for our purposes of this discussion Dr. Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits definition of control, which is the space between stimulus and response. If that’s the case, then when we verbalize our thoughts aloud, we vet our thoughts more thoroughly commanding only the best quality of decisions to act upon. Think about it, if you say what all your decisions are going to be out loud (even privately in your own office/home), aren’t you going to be more mindful?
I tend to think of this technique in the face of high distraction or procrastination, so I’ll give a real life productivity scenario of my own to demonstrate. My ideal morning routine is to check my inboxes, processing and responding to my morning messages before I start the rest of my workday. I’m a FIFO kinda guy (that is, first in, first out — meaning, I scroll to the bottom of my inbox and read the chronologically first message in, process and/or respond, and move on to the next message). If I’m having a particularly difficult time keeping focused on my inbox or starting at all, I’ll literally say out loud to myself, “Ray, you’re focusing on the first message to read & respond.” I’ll repeat myself ad nauseum until I re-focus and continue on my decision to process my inbox.
So, go forth and take control of your work and life by talking yourself into greater productivity!
// Let’s take this idea of talking to yourself into a real life productivity scenario. I come into the office in the morning after a long and trafficked commute. I open up my computer and prepare myself for the day, but still feeling a tinge frustrated by the tribulations of my morning so far. Up pops my email and I scroll down to the bottom to find the first email in from last evening (as I’m a last in, first out email kinda guy). The message is from a client barking orders about this or that and I lose my temper at this client’s clear lack of regard for my time and how much work I’ve put into the process. Pause. Let’s take my inner voice and make it my outer voice now. “I’m frustrated by this morning’s commute. And, this client wrote me at six o’clock last evening. So, they clearly didn’t intend for me to read this message in this negative mindset.