Want to feel more productive? Lower your expectations.

Takeaway: Strive to be great at what you do, but don’t be hard on yourself when you’re not.

Estimated Reading Time: 56 seconds.

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So far, inspiration for this project has come from all sorts of places. Books, interviews, an oncology camp, friends, family, and in this case, a Buddhist monk.

I recently watched a talk by Ajahn Brahm where he explored how productivity and happiness can be impacted when you lower your expectations. In his words, when you lower your expectations “you’re confident, and you can have fun, relax, and not worry about proving yourself to others”. This stops you from second-guessing yourself, and helps you blaze your own trail instead of conforming to what you expect from yourself or what other people expect from you.

This isn’t a tactical tip, but it is a practical one. I’m hard on myself quite a bit when I’m trying to be productive, and I can say first-hand that high expectations cause stress and unhappiness. Strive to be great at what you do, but don’t be hard on yourself when you’re not.

This is much easier than said than done, of course, but lowering the expectations you have of yourself (and ignoring the ones that come from other people) is a great way to feel more productive.

  • I love it! This is such great advice, and definitely easier said than done.

    • Chris

      That’s for sure!! One of the things I’m finding is that some people miss out on the whole “human” element of productivity, and just want to get more done for more’s sake. The hard part of productivity is definitely making sure you stay happy while you move faster and more efficiently.

  • Pingback: A Year of Productivity — Week Four Recap()

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