Are You More Effective Than You Think You Are?

Productivity is a Mindset, Not a Feeling

Do you feel you are consistently behind? You check a to-do off, only to discover your list is longer. You end days feeling discouraged. Me too, however, I've realized my feelings are not accurate.

I review and refine my schedule for the week every Sunday evening. Each weekday evening, I prioritize what to accomplish the next day.

Hamster-Wheel Rick CoplinTime blocks are one way to I organize tasks and projects. I track projects, tasks and deadlines with Nozbe, which syncs with Evernote, DropBox and Google Calendar.

So, with all that organization, you would think I get everything done and am happy with my progress.

Not really.


Productivity: Feelings vs. Reality

I regularly feel less than productive and am discouraged with my ability to get things done.

That’s going to sound really odd when you read what I accomplished last week:

  • Wrote the intro and outro for my Success to Significance podcast, which is releasing soon.
  • Utilized Fiverr for to acquire great voice overs for the intro & outro.
  • Recorded interview #7 for Success to Significance.
  • Mastered a previous interview.
  • Enhanced my podcasting workflow as I document systems and processes to build the foundation of a scalable business.
  • To Do List Rick CoplinWrote a post on Masterminds celebrating the guys with whom I am fortunate to be in one.
  • Accompanied my sister to an art museum for most of Monday.
  • Communicated the agenda & parameters for a potential consulting client.
  • Took my daughter shopping for new soccer cleats & equipment, then shopped more as she chose a beautiful new dress & matching shoes.
  • Helped my son, who is working on a school project with an architect, as he meticulously built a model of a possible new garage/guest house on our property.
  • Participated in a coaching session.
  • Met with our accountant to review taxes and to plan for the rest of this year.
  • Made introductions between people who need to know each other.
  • …and dozens of additional items, both planned and unplanned


And yet…

I feel unproductive.

Even though I got things done in line with my plans for the week! You might be feeling the same way.

My attention has been on the several planned items that remain not started or ‘just' in-process. This list helped me to see the data and the evidence indicate productive with a capital P.


4 Simple Steps to Changing Your Productivity Mindset

Your internal voices might be screaming “You are not enough”; “You don’t have enough”; “You haven’t gotten as much done as you need to…”. Don't believe them! Those voices are lying to you every day.

“Your mindset
impacts your

The negative internal conversations make it impossible to enjoy the moment and be grateful for the things you do accomplish.

The internal narrative clouds your reasoning and leaves you exhausted, feeling you can never do enough.


You can learn to change your mindset around productivity and progress.

  1. Recognize and admit you have an internal conversation going that says you are not productive.
  2. Plan in advance how you will shut the inner conversation off. Plan to stop your thoughts and refocus on the data. As soon as you think “I am not productive,“; think instead: “I am productive. Here's what I am getting done today in line with my plans.”
  3. Hand-write a list of today's accomplishments to reinforce your actual productivity.
  4. Evaluate yourself. Ask “Why did I start thinking discouraging thoughts?” and “Is there higher priority I need to focus on right now?

Improvement will come slowly at first. After a while, you won’t even notice the negative thoughts. Shutting off the negative internal voice becomes natural.


Your Key to Knowing You Are Productive

Focus on the positives in relation to your to-do list, action plan, set of goals or whatever you call it. You are, at a minimum, ahead of where you were last week. Celebrate and build on that.

Nozbe Logo IIThe tool I use to plan and track my goals, projects and tasks is Nozbe. I have used it in conjunction with my virtual assistant and with my family as we moved to a new home last year.

Check it out, and if you like it, use it.

There are dozens of similar applications, so if Nozbe doesn't fit you, another will. Nozbe works best for me.

Please email me a PDF of
“Are You More Effective Than You Think You Are?”


Look at your data. If the data says “not productive” then you really do have to change what you are doing. If the data says “productive“, then you have good reason to feel confident and to celebrate your accomplishments.


Rick Coplin






Photo Sources: Hamster Wheel: Pexels; Blog Brainstorming via Hey Paul Studios on Flikr; Nozbe logo from Nozbe .



I work alongside emerging companies on business formation, commercialization strategies, and capital planning. My passion is to find, support, mentor, coach, incubate, & fund start-ups engaged in innovative technology businesses.

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