There is nothing wrong with needing and getting help. This is an obvious truth made less obvious by the prevailing winds of culture. If what you value is being fiercely independent, you are going to hesitate when it comes to asking for help. That reluctance can create severe harm to yourself and the ones you love. Men tend to be more susceptible to death by pride than women. But that doesn’t mean that women are entirely immune to the problem. If you refuse to ask for directions when it is clear you are lost, you could experience unforeseen consequences from which there is no recovery.
When you combine this hyper-independence with the religion of productivity, you get something like toxic productivity. One symptom is spending all your time working at the expense of your personal life. You take work calls at the dinner table and do work instead of paying attention to your kid’s hopeless soccer game. You might get the next promotion. But you are getting further away from the things that really matter. You are pushing for productivity at any cost. That only ever leads to heartache. To such stories, there is never a happy ending. If you want to find a healthier way to be more personally and professionally productive, get help in the following areas:
Use Services for Administrivia
You spilled your drink on your unlaminated Social Security card. It doesn’t matter how it happened. That’s life. You are going to have to get a new card. But to get it, you are going to have to go to the Social Security office in person. That’s no good since it takes at least an hour to wait. You only have a 30 minute lunch break. And they are only open on the days you work. It is as if the system is stacked against you. That’s administrivia.
Why not use a service to handle your Social Security card replacement? That is time you don’t have to take out of your day. That is the time when you can be more productive. It is like using a service to order groceries. It is not that you are too important to go pick up the milk you need for tonight’s recipe. It is that you are too busy, There are people who would love to go get it for you for a nominal fee, and the store is just happy someone is still doing business with them. Instead of running around all over town to find a deal, you can spend that time with your work, or family, or whatever you like.
Whether it is Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, or Google Assistant, people have found a way to get a lot done as a result of digital assistants that are practically ubiquitous. No one has to convert ounces to liters anymore. They can just ask their smartwatch. At least one will allow you to do the trick without as much as a wake word. You just lift your wrist and ask. That’s pretty productive.
When was the last time you had to set a timer with a dedicated timer? You can do so much more by just getting to know your devices better and getting more out of the digital assistants they all have. It doesn’t matter which is the best of them. They are all better than you trying to remember everything yourself. You can just tell them to remind you of things at certain times or in certain locations and it will be done. This allows you to ask for help without involving another person if that is important to you.
Stop trying to do everything yourself. Sure, it’s your company. You know how to do every job except one. The one job you still need to learn is delegation. You have to let go of the idea that the only way to get a job done right is to do it yourself. You are not the only competent person on the planet. That form of narcissism is ugly and destructive. If you want a job done right, hand it off to people who know what they are doing so that you can be freed up to do the things that only you can do.
Doing things yourself is not the definition of productivity. Get help in the form of services, digital assistants, and people to whom you can delegate simpler tasks.