If you want to pump up the productivity in 2012, let the Stockdale Paradox guide your efforts. The Stockdale Paradox describes the mindset held by Vice Admiral James Stockdale, a U.S. Navy officer held as a prisoner of war for seven years during the Vietnam War. Stockdale never lost faith that he would eventually get out of the POW camp; his description of his coping strategy to James C. Collins ended up in the latter author's business book "Good to Great":
"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
Self-Awareness and Productivity
The Stockdale Paradox translates to productivity nicely. To become ridiculously efficient, you must recognize a variety of "brutal facts" about your output:
- Your current work style
- Your workload and job responsibilities
- Your weaknesses and vulnerabilities
- Your attention span and energy levels
Awareness of these limitations -- and the faith that you will overcome them to be a more effective worker -- will keep you motivated and focused as you put yourself through your paces and ultimately boost your efficiency.