The #1 Productivity Factor That Matters: Richard Howes, Guest Contributor

The Answer

Momentum.

There, I said it. Article done. Whew! That was deep and valuable. You’re welcome 😉

What? You want evidence and an explanation? OK. Fine. You’re a pushy bunch you folks who are continuously driving for improved productivity. I’ll pause my own momentum briefly to explain.

The Fix (for those too lazy to read the full article)

Start.

I’m a genius as this productivity and motivation stuff!

The short answer is that when you’re stuck and procrastination has got you paralysed, just start. It can be the tiniest teeniest of starts, but starting is absolutely the key.

Then keep going. That’s how you build momentum — the glorious secret to productivity.

If you can’t get motivated to get fit, then get a 7-minute workout programme and do that. Too lazy for 7 minutes of hard slog? Do as many pushups as you can and call it a day. Every day.

Been dreaming of becoming a writer since 1984? Create a working document, give it a title, work on it for five minutes a day. Every day.

The point is to start. And then to build momentum — that’s the ‘Every day’part.

Momentum.

TL;DR

I was once asked the following question by a staff member:

“What do you do when you get ‘stuck’ and you can’t get started on something important?”

Good question. Like most people, I have struggled with procrastination most of my life. Some people have considered me lazy (as have I on many an occasion). Those people have included teachers, colleagues, bosses, clients, my children, and my long loooooooong suffering lover (my wife of 22 years actually, but neither she nor I ever liked the conventional term ‘wife’).

I don’t agree. In fact, I am a believer in ‘The Laziness Myth” as articulated by Mike Sturm here, and Psychology Today here. Google “laziness myth” and you’ll get 898k results. Read them, summarise, and let me know what you think — unless you’re too lazy ;).

If I know how to do something, it interests me, and I have a belief that I can complete whatever it is, then I am as hardworking and motivated as anyone. During my school days when I frustrated the life out of teachers who knew I was smart but couldn’t get me to apply myself for love or money, I could work 50 hours straight on teaching myself programming on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum. You couldn’t tear me away from that thing.

I love reading, something considered a chore by many people. I can get so engrossed I read non-stop for days. My parents used to complain about having to shuttle me to the library regularly and coming to the dinner table with my book attached to the end of my nose. Not exactly a strenuous activity but I know people who claim to be ‘too lazy’ to read. I just think they don’t like reading or have been conditioned by schooling to see reading as a chore.

Get me on a tennis or squash court and I will play harder and longer than anyone. I don’t know the meaning of ‘enough’ or ‘I’m too tired’. Sound like a lazy person? I didn’t think so.

Same when I get into bed with my gorgeous w̶i̶f̶e̶ lover. I am never ‘too tired’ no matter how stressful or busy my day has been. And when we start to…. “What Babe? Nothing. Just writing a Medium article.” Anyway…

And yet procrastination and poor delivery have made my life more difficult and less successful than it could have been. By orders of magnitude.

My answer to that staff member of mine?

“Start. Then do a tiny bit. Every day. Momentum!”

You’ll have made a huge dent in that impossibly daunting task before you know it. The alternative is that in days or weeks from now you will still be lamenting your procrastination when you could have been way ahead with minimal but consistent effort. Momentum.

Example: Becoming a Writer

Take that ‘become a writer’ dream many of us have. The key to success is so simple it defies belief, yet so many of us dream of becoming a writer. Writers write. So write.

Some days you will only write for five minutes. Other days you may get on a role and write for five hours. Point is, if you started when you first dreamed of becoming a writer, and wrote for 5 or more minutes every day, you’d be a writer now. For some of us, with hundreds of thousands or millions of words in prose. Somewhere.

Another example: Becoming a Programmer/Coder/Software Engineer

My son says he wants to be a programmer (as we called them when I became one). I’ve bought and provided courses, offered to teach him, tried to cajole him into some kind of programming project we can do together. I’ve enticed him with the idea of developing a WhatsApp messaging clone only he and his friends will have for secret comms between themselves. Should be enticing to a teenager right?

Nothing. Nada.

Eventually at dinner, after being asked again about how he can get the necessary skills I started with the ‘coding courses on Udemy, the secret app idea, I’ll help you…’ and other tried and t̶e̶s̶t̶e̶d̶ failed strategies until I suddenly had the real answer.

Coders code. So write code.

And if you can’t get yourself to do that then there is only two likely answers: you don’t really want to be a coder, or you don’t believe it’s an achievable goal. If it’s the first then I have bad news — never going to happen. If it’s the latter then let me say it again:

“Start. Then do a tiny bit. Every day. Momentum!”

5 Truths You Must Accept Before You Can Grow: Ayodeji Awosika

Hard but essential pills to swallow in order to become your best-self

Ambitious people are a dime a dozen. Most people doubt themselves. All of us — in some shape or form — are stuck in la la land.

One of the most difficult yet useful skills is the ability to balance your aspirations with reality. A pessimist and an idealist both miss the point.

The point is to have optimism about your future but look at the state of society, your environment, and your circumstances without rose-colored glasses.

Many of these truths sit right under your nose. Intuitively you know they’re true, but facing them head-on means discomfort.

Success or failure in life comes from which type of discomfort you choose.

You can choose the discomfort of facing reality, making decisions to change, and having the difficult dialogue needed to do both.

You can also choose the discomfort of rationalizing your situation, lying to yourself, and making excuses.

The choice is yours. In my experience, and from what I’ve observed, taking the discomfort upfront can feel horrible in the short run but rewarding in the long run. Pushing it away with the avoidance of truth alleviates discomfort in the short term, but it always comes back and persists until you do something about it.

Take a look at the truths I’m about to share with you. Technically, they are my opinions. You’re free to disagree with them. Before you do, though, try to take a look at yourself and your situation honestly to determine whether you really disagree with me, or you’re just hiding.

The World Will Never Quit Poking You

Most [people] make the error of thinking that one day it will be done. They think, “If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.”Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.” The […] error is to think that eventually, things will be different in some fundamental way. They won’t. It never ends. As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, andmake love with the present moment while giving your unique gift. — David Deida

Have you ever felt like your circumstances were trying to break you?

Just when you’ve improved your finances, your car breaks down. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, come to work to a nagging boss and go home to an indifferent spouse.

Every time you take a step forward, you take three back. Inevitably, just as you’re on the rise, something or someone tries to knock you down.

If only life would give you a little bit of a break, you tell yourself, you’d have enough energy to make an effort to become successful.

The Untold Truths of Success
And why hard work isn’t enough
medium.com

Deep down, you believe success provides an escape from life’s problems. You figure if you had enough income, freedom, and positive experiences in your life…the bullshit would stop.

It doesn’t and it never will.

In fact, when you push to do something outside of the box — start a business, write a book, become an artist, carve your own route — not only will things get worse before they get better, you’ll still have to work to maintain what you’ve achieved.

People of all walks of life have problems. Billionaires have problems, Hollywood actors, the Dalai Lama all have problems. Around every corner, just when you think you’ve won, life will find a way to see what you’re made of.

But there’s beauty in the struggle of life when you look at the right way. When life tests you, you get the chance to prove you’re resilient. One of the deepest levels of satisfaction comes from knowing how strong you are. Few memories are better than those of overcoming struggles, persisting, and absorbing pressure and turning it into fuel instead of letting it break you.

Realizing the world will constantly test you removes the element of surprise. When you find yourself in a bad spot, it feels doubly worse because you didn’t see it coming.

Know that life is preparing its next right hook, but as Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were Better. Don’t wish for fewer problems. Wish for more skills.”

Our first reaction to pain and hardship — mine included — is to dwell on how much it sucks. A few of us, however, realize there’s an opportunity to be had.

It’s easy to say and difficult to do, but if you can learn how to transform pain into purpose you’ll feel a type of happiness that is ten times better than the feeling of having a life devoid of difficulties.

Maybe our purpose on this planet isn’t to feel good. Maybe we’ve been placed here to see what we’re made of.

Almost every time life tests you, you won’t want to find the opportunity in it. I never look positively at a challenge or hardship instantly, but after I’m done sulking, I look to take a step in a positive direction.

Try it. Over time, it works wonders.

Things Will Never be the Way They “Should” Be

“We unconsciously imprison ourselves to avoid our most primal fears. We choose Should because choosing Must is terrifying, incomprehensible.”- Elle Luna

Should — what a simultaneously dangerous and useless word.

People often use should in one of two ways — to give themselves an excuse for not doing something or for complaining about an unchangeable circumstance.

A perfect world doesn’t exist — the one without inequality, injustice, unfairness, superficial people, hate, greed, envy, lust, the list goes on.

Are you using the world to avoid living in reality?

Maybe you think you should be making more money. But you’re not, and believing you should make more isn’t going to change that. Finding a new job could change that. Improving your performance and negotiating a raise could change that.

Complaining definitely won’t.

Maybe you think you shouldn’t have to work twice as hard to achieve the same level of success as someone else. But what if you do have to work twice as hard? Are you going to wait for the scales of justice to even out? They won’t.

Again, you can complain if you want, but complaining isn’t a strategy. It doesn’t do anything.

The same energy you use to rail against the way life should or shouldn’t be could be used to improve your situation.

Should also become dangerous when you talk about the things you aspire to do. “I should start working out,” you tell yourself. “I should start working harder and being motivated.” The minute you use the word in your head or out loud, you’ve already lost. It gives you an out. You almost get a perverse satisfaction from thinking about doing something. It gives you the credit you don’t deserve yet.

Instead of talking about what you should do and the way the world should be, you’re better off doing.

Doers make change happen for themselves and for others. Doers don’t have time to think about what they should or shouldn’t do. They know what to do. If they don’t, they gather enough information to have an idea of what to do and act on it.

Ask yourself where the word should is causing harm in your life. Now, what are you going to do about it?

No One is Coming to Save You

“Sure, raise the minimum wage if you plan to stay there your entire life.” — Jim Rohn

When was the last time the government came to your rescue?

The answer is likely never. Yet we treat it like a savior or a demon when it’s neither. It’s a machine. An uncaring machine that’s completely self-interested. Regardless, we make our way to the voting booths to ensure our guy or girl wins.

Look at your own life. Has it changed dramatically between presidencies — not in terms of news coverage or your feelings about the president — but your actual life from day to day?

Are you waiting for an employer to save you with a raise or magically improving your work environment? If so, you might be waiting for a long time.

It’s easy to blame the government, your employer, or someone other than yourself for your woes. It’s easier to say wages should be higher than to try to become more valuable.

I’m not saying the institutions of society are fair. They’re definitely not. With the fleeting life you live, however, you don’t have time to wait for institutions to save you.

Odds are, you’ll have to lift yourself out of your circumstances. Will it be easy? Hell no. But you really don’t have a choice — not if you want to change your life.

Everything is Your Fault

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”-Theodore Roosevelt

I know what you’re thinking.

You were born poor, your parents didn’t treat you well, you have a disability, you have a funny accent, you live in the wrong city, you’re sick, your boss hates you, you have no money, you’re a disabled veteran, you’re black, you’re a woman, you’re gay, you’re trans.

You’re special. And because your circumstances are so unique, you couldn’t possibly be to blame for your failures.

Deep down we know we’re the common denominator of all our problems, but it’s hard to face. Why?

Because it means we’re the ones who have to change our situations. And if we don’t change our situations, we can only blame ourselves. Nobody wants to think they’re the only real barrier to their own success, happiness, and well-being. It’s easier to blame someone or something else.

And no, I don’t think you’re lazy, mediocre, or “don’t want it bad enough.” It’s genuinely difficult to take full ownership of your life. It can be uncomfortable or downright painful. The natural reaction is blaming someone other than yourself because your brain wants to protect you from harm and danger. But you can overcome these excuses.

You’re in control of your life.

Are you in control of what happens to you? No, but you’re in control of how you react to what happens to you.

You choose how to react to situations, maybe not fully and consciously, but choose nonetheless.

If you don’t take responsibility for your life, who will? I know how hard it is. Denial feels bad, but it hurts a little less than accepting the truth of your role in your own life.

If you go through the painful period of acceptance and get up from the floor, I promise greater things are ahead.

You’ll Never Find the Perfect Time Start

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Proverb

I remember the first time I told my wife I wanted to start writing.

“I think it would be really fun to have a blog and start writing,” I said.

“Well…why don’t you start writing then?” She replied.

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 17 years old. I didn’t start until I was 25. Maybe I was too immature to write anything of value until I’d lived a little, but I still wonder how much further along I could be now if I started earlier.

Did I make a declaration to become a writer, buy a typewriter, and lock myself in a room to write for hours? No.

I started with one blog post…and I’ve been writing nearly every day for years since. There’s power in starting. You don’t have to make a big deal out of starting a new project, just do it.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for the kids to grow older or move out so you can write that book?

Leo Tolstoy had 13 kids when he wrote War and Peace.

Are you waiting to have enough money to start your business?

If you have a good idea, there are various ways to start businesses at a low cost or find seed money. Oh, it’s hard to find seed money? Well, starting a business is hard. Deal with it.

All salesmen know the phrase “now isn’t the right time,” is a lie. There’s always a hidden objection behind the polite ones given such as lack of time, money, or ideal circumstances. The objection could be that the buyer doesn’t trust the seller, they don’t believe the product will deliver on its benefits, or they do believe in the product but not in themselves to get the most from it.

The way you self-talk is much like the relationship between a salesperson and a customer. You give yourself the polite out, but the truth is there’s a deeper objection.

What is it? You may not have even consciously thought of it yet. You really might believe in your own polite excuses. Until you dig deep to find the hidden reasons behind your behavior, you’ll never change. I talk about this process at length in my book.

We all have deeply embedded beliefs about ourselves and about the world we live in — business is “risky,” intelligence and talent are fixed traits, finding a secure job will make us happy, others are luckier than you are, rich people steal, you’re left or right brained and can’t cross over, being healthy means depriving yourself, you must own a home and have kids, men are evil, women are evil, the list goes on and on and on.

Many of these beliefs keep you from starting. You’re not a “numbers person” you tell yourself. Richard Branson has dyslexia and teachers labeled him learning disabled as a child — he’s a billionaire.

You think you can’t succeed because you’re ill or have a disability. Jon Morrow — a man who cannot move anything below his neck — owns a multi-million dollar blog with a viewership of millions per month.

I can find a counterexample to every excuse you have for not starting “x.”Rather than argue with me about it, why not just start?

Learn How to See

There’s a lot of noise in the world. A lot of b.s. You can find success by seeing through it all.

You can wait for the world to change into the ideal state you want it to be, or you can learn to navigate it.

The people we call successful, they can see — through the limits, society tries to place on people, through the cliches that aren’t true, through the joy-sucking prisons called institutions.

Can you see now?

I hope you decide to use the lens of truth to shape your decisions moving forward. It won’t feel good right away, but it will feel amazing when you look back at all you’ve done.

An Oldie But Goodie Guest Article by Jan Tegze: Recruitment Industry is Dying. Really?

Working as a recruiter is a job without any future prospects. The recruitment industry has an uncertain future because recruitment will die… soon. Recruiters will be replaced by Artificial intelligence (AI), clever algorithms will pair the right candidates with open roles and after interviews with AI, their profile will be sent by AI to the hiring manager. So the “middle man” (recruiter) will not be necessary any more. Hiring managers will open the new positions and AI will find the candidate, do the prescreening and invite them for the interview. The new sourcing tools, together with AI and algorithms, are going to make sourcers obsolete and together with recruiters, they will need to start looking for new jobs because the end of recruitment is near! Recruitment will die in 2018! And if not, then “Recruitment will die in 2019”…. And if not, 2020…. etc.
Oh wait, when did I hear a similar message before? Oh yes, in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012….
Every year, some so-called experts that never worked in recruitment (as recruiters) or understand the recruitment industry are trying to bury recruitment and recruiters. These predictions are mostly written because they will get the author the attention they are looking for. Recruiters try to respond, because they believe it is a nonsense and candidates who hate recruiters will start posting supporting messages with something like “It’s about time”, but 99% of the articles I read during the years are not built on any relevant data or expertise. They are just based on wild guesses any amateur could make.
We don’t know the future at all, we can only make guesses. Those guesses might be educated guesses, but they are still guesses.
Predictions
Around year 2010, many predictions stated that job boards were dead or will be dead within two or three years and yet, they are still here and some of them turn into job aggregators adding new futures etc. They are adapting. And people in various industries are still using them to apply for jobs. Monster or Indeed are still here and they will be used for many more years.
Predicting the future is difficult, like weather forecasting. It hasn’t improved even though we have satellites, fast computers and enough data. Predictions may be good for a couple of days, but we are not able to predict the weather for next two months and be right about every day.
Many experts predicted Hillary Clinton will be the new president of the United States and that Brexit would never happen, that the UK will stay in the EU… etc. And guess what, they were wrong.
It’s the same as many predictions about “Recruitment will die in X” (replace X with any year you want.) Most of these articles are just clickbaits by people who don’t have deep knowledge about the recruitment industry. Yes, these articles are going to get your attention and they will try to force you to react, especially if you are a recruiter.
These predictions are the same predictions that anybody can give. Right now, my prediction is that we will discover life on planet KIC 8462852 in 2019. If I am wrong, you won’t remember it and will forget about this prediction, but if I am right I will post an article with title “I told you so”. But this prediction will just be a random guess supported by nothing specific.
All these predictions are almost the same as the predictions about the end of the world. Yes, it will make a catchy title “End of the world in 2018” but still nothing is going to happen. And if you are right in this prediction, well nobody will tell be able to tell you that you were right because nobody will be alive.
Recruitment is Not Going to Die
Recruitment is not going to die in 2018 or in any near future; it’s going to evolve. It’s still evolving almost every year and recruiters are adapting. Our industry is influenced by new technologies, like other industries. New technology improves our jobs, makes them easier and also brings new challenges. New sourcing tools help us to find contact details for candidates faster than before, but they don’t turn these candidates into new employees with one click.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will change our industry for sure, but we will adapt as always. Recruiter jobs scope will evolve and sourcers could change into data miners.
AI will have algorithms but they won’t be able to give a chance people to try at an interview because their algorithm will evaluate that that person will not have a chance. People hire people and many of us will get a chance to get a position that maybe we were not ready for yet or our resume doesn’t have the right keywords, but the recruiter, hiring manager etc. gives us the chance because they see something in us. They see that we don’t have the all the skills that are mentioned in the job description, but yet they see our potential and our willingness to learn.
In the end, people want to speak with people and not Al. Yes AIs will automate some tasks, but if everybody uses the same AI, they will only get some candidates and the person who is trying to find other ways and sources will have bigger advantage. Google indexes only 5% of the Internet, so where do you get the assurance that AI will index more?
You also need to consider the candidate’s experience. Yes, bad recruiters could ruin it too, but tell me: If you have two companies offering the same role to you and one offers you an interview with some AI and the second one with a live person what interview you will chose and which one will be more comfortable for you?
Recruitment is also about relationships and recruiters make great relationships with candidates and with hiring managers. If there is trust between the candidate and recruiter, the candidate will share his concerns about his current job and mention that he could be open to another interesting role. Good recruiters will try to keep this in mind and contact the candidate with a new role. If you replace recruiters with AI, are you sure that candidates will share the same thing also with AIs, “Hey, I am open to the role, but it’s confidential.” I am curious how effectively the AI will act with confidentiality, but I hope they will be better than Yahoo is at protecting their e-mail service against hackers.
Conclusion
The recruitment industry will not die in 2018 or any near future. Humans love connecting to other humans; they always have and most of them want to speak with live people. They want to share their story and explain their career choices, fill the gaps and share why they are the right people for the role. They want to get attention from recruiters if they are applying for a new job.
Our job is not only to find the candidate, but we also trying to convince the managers to give some candidates a shot and invite them for an onsite interview, even if the hiring manager doesn’t see the potential in the resume. We already spent time with candidates and understand their needs and wants, and we saw something else than just raw data on a resume. And we listen.
And if you are an author of these articles, instead of killing recruitment every year, try to learn more about it. It is often said there are two types of predictions… lucky or wrong. So if you are betting that the recruitment industry will die in 2018, you are betting on the wrong horse. The recruitment industry will be still here after 2018. Maybe it will slightly change every year, but it’s not going to die.
And if you are planning to kill the recruitment industry again in any of your future article, the years 2021–2025 are still available and nobody has used them yet.
If you believe data more than predictions, let’s take a look at the results of a quick search I did (January 23rd, 2017) on Indeed Worldwide Search. There could be an error in the search, but if there isn’t, it doesn’t look like recruiters are going to be without work any time soon.

If you are a recruiter who believes in these predictions and you are afraid of the future, I have good news for you. In some companies, recruitment is still stuck back in the year 2000. So even if the recruitment industry died in 2018, these companies would find out about it only in 2036, and so you still have enough time to get a job in one of those companies.