10 Productivity Tips Only a Recession Could Teach You

marathon1I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling this effects of this recession. Every month is a ridiculous uphill struggle to pay for things once easily affordable and appreciate things once abundant. So much for the good ‘ol days!

With my client work all but evaporated three months ago, I’ve been left with nothing more than to nurture and grow this blog. Despite the obvious problems of working for free, I have discovered some precious nuggets of wisdom in the most unlikely of circumstances:

Not Afraid Anymore

Before the recession, it was easier to not execute on good ideas because of the fear of failure. That’s no longer a problem because there’s nothing left to lose. In fact, as economic prospects grow more dim the easier it becomes to take chances. Hitting an all-time low simply means even more freedom to pursue the risks with highest payoffs.

Old, Bad Habits Are Gone

Sayonara to idle time. It’s no longer cool to slouch around and surf the web for hours before doing real work. But it is cool to do real work for hours before slouching around and surfing the web. Now when I get to my office, everything I do is accounted for. Everything that was once comfortable and indulgent feels now like a royal waste of time and energy.

From Consumer to Producer

The current state of chaos gave me a choice: continue to consume and “get fat” from other people’s content or “get fit” by creating my own. Now I write more and read less, and people appreciate me more. I’m adding value to their life instead of sucking all the value up for myself. I can actually feel the good karma rise up to meet me instead of it always running away.

Innovation is the Norm

If the way of doing things wasn’t working beforehand, it certainly isn’t going to work now or in the future. Anything you do to improve a faulty system is an innovation. So instead of getting stuck repackaging the same ideas 1,000 different ways, why not just stay out of the box permanently? Learn to love to break rules and eventually you’ll get credit for it! In short: lead, not follow.

The Rat Race is Gone

Rat race schmrat race. Gone are the days of being stuck in a dead-end job where I’m either too scared or too complacent to leave. There’s nothing to race for or no one to race against anymore! Thanks to a newly leveled-playing field, those of us in the same recession boat get to start from scratch. The chance to rebuild and realize our dreams has been reset to “factory default.” 

What Stress? What Pressure?

Stress and pressure used to gobble up my energy and self-confidence. They’re still around, but now they’re my buddies, my allies. They wake me up at 4:30 every morning so I can hustle in the most insane fashion until I zonk out every night from being so productive and energetic. Now I channel their potentially damaging effects into a white hot flame of motivation. Grrr baby grrrr!

It’s Okay to Admit Suffering

Why does the media report every plight of economic suffering but individuals are reluctant to broadcast it themselves? Instead of being so quiet and acting like everything is okay, we ought to revel in our struggles. Band together for a more promising future. Be the change. Stories from people who boast they are thriving fail to move me because they lack empathy.

Forget Selling Out

Even if you’ve gotten as far as starting your own blog or online business, you still have to penetrate some the thick layers of mediocrity. Abundant resources on the web makes it easy to learn predictable formulas for creating and marketing content.  The resisters who trust their own instincts and creativity are the ones who ultimately thrive. Don’t be content-churning robot. Be yourself instead. 

Make More Friends Than Ever

Tough times seem to bring out the more honest, down-to-Earth side of people. Granted, I’ve seen some real slap-dash floozies in it for a quick buck, but some good people are in it for the long haul. Social media is bona fide way to connect with real people with real interests and real intelligence. This related tweet of mine got some positive feedback.

The Future is Luminous

Right now, you have a choice to be depressed or optimistic. What shall it be? Do you cultivate your vision with hard work, tenacity and gusto, or wilt under the shadeless heat of this Recession? The choice should be obvious, and so should the light at the end of the tunnel, which to me is finally visible.

Photo by Paul Keleher.
  • I know I’m in the overwhelming minority on this one, but I think a recession is a really good thing for our country. People are spoiled for the most part, and have long since forgotten the meaning of the word struggle. Hard work now can be a reminder of what we need to do to build a brighter future.

  • As a teenager I can’t really say I feel the full effects of the recession, but I can definitely agree on the whole leveled playing field thing. People want things done and they want serious value for their dollar, and I think because of the economy that gives me a better chance when it comes to offering up my writing services.

    The recession has also kicked out my personal spending habits. I’m pretty bad with cash but with book costs rising (my number one expense – literature) and money being somewhat harder to come by, I’m definitely developing some new, better habits.

    It takes adversity to bring out traits that you never knew you had, so I think the recession has a lot to teach a lot of people, even us spoiled teenagers. 🙂

  • Charles

    Yes, the recession sucks financially, but it’s the best time to make personal and professional progress. Then we get rich!

    Thank Sean and Corey for your insights.

  • Couldn’t agree more. The current economic times do give people plenty of time to get back to the basics.

  • Tom Dawson

    Great article, the biggest thing that hit me was your take on, “It’s Ok to admit suffering”. It takes suffering and adversity to know your strengths, that then can be passed on to others in their time of need.

    As Cory stated and I agree, a recession does level the playing field giving a person the ability to gain ground. It also allows us as people to give others a hand up and not just a hand out.

    Thanks again, I’ll pass this on.