This afternoon while driving to and from a wedding I decided to entertain myself by listening to a podcast. For awhile I listened to an educational podcast featuring a retired educator who talked about the call to teaching, how teaching is a 24-7 job, how her family knew she was a workaholic, how her family just accepted that in her. Also, she talked about how passionate she was about creating great lessons (ditto here), and how when when she found how valuable written feedback was to students she became very passionate about that as time consuming as it was. She joked that her free time was non-existent, that as a teacher with a calling that her life was dedicated to her job, to planning, to grading and that it was just who she was and her family accepted it…blah, blah, blah… While listening to her, I envisioned my life unfolding with me having absolutely NO time for my family and with my unbalanced life never changing and with me losing my mind….AARGH! STOP PODCAST!
Scrolling through my podcast feed, I found the title meant for me, “The Unconventional Habits of Highly Productive People,” an episode of The Growth Show, a business podcast about growth from different areas of the business world. This episode features Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and most recently Smarter Faster Better. Duhigg recounted a story from his past about how as a journalist working on a big story about Apple for The NY Times that he came to a point in his life he felt the harder he worked and the more successful he got the more behind he got and the more work he had to do and how he would see his kids less and less and work more and more.
At some point Duhigg came to the realization that some of the most productive and successful people had more time than he had. He found he was doing things the wrong way. What he found was that these people were reflective and that these people have the ability to govern their own minds. They understand how choose goals, self-motivating, they get more done with less waste. He went on to explain that people who know how to think differently, who govern their minds, and control how they think, are more effective in choosing goals, and they get more done with less waste.
He went on to discuss some of the characteristics of productivity (their are 8 that seem to come up again and again). These people are more reflective, they have a bias towards action, they self-motivate, they manage their focus by building mental models or envisioning what they want to see so that when discrepancies or distractions come along they can manage those and keep focused, they innovate differently by focusing on the creative process.
Duhigg explains, “People who are more reflective, people who understand how their thoughts function and therefore are in a position to shape their thoughts, to shape their mind and govern it. Those are people who tend to make better choices and decisions, they tend to choose better goals, and they tend to end up being more productive.”
As Duhigg talked, I heard my story in his and realized that perhaps I, too, as a reflective person could perhaps learn how to govern my mind realizing that perhaps my most growth right now as an educator, wife, mom, and human could come from reading outside of my field–from pedagogy to practicality, from reflection to governing.
Yes, I bought the book.
I think my next blog post will be about writing a to do list the Duhigg way. This is a step in achieving mastering my one word 2016, deliberate.