I was reading a post on Darren Rowse’s blog just now, that got me thinking about achieving your peak productivity level. Darren was talking about how there are certain skills as a blogger with which he feels himself lacking. I think he does pretty well with the one key skill a blogger needs to succeed; communicating ideas. I don’t really see that him spending time in things like design and coding will really be a good use of his time. It’s easy enough to hire someone to do a great design for your site, as an example. Easier, certainly, than learning how to design, spending hours upon hours, and ending up with an amateurish product. I’m not saying his site is amateurish, it’s very nice looking (far better than mine), but design is in my opinion an art as much as a skill and it could take years for someone to build up the talent they could easily hire at the cost of a few hundred dollars.
I come from an old-fashioned New England family where one of the most highly-valued qualities was being self-sufficient. I’m one generation away from the small farmer who lived off the land and sold excess at the market for spending cash. That may have served my ancestors very well in the 19th century, but it’s not going to serve me or my decendants very well in the 21st.
It’s something I struggle a lot with, and that’s the reason Darren’s post resonated with me. I think a lot of us wrestle with that to some degree.
And, I’m very often guilty of not following my own advice. I get frustrated when trying to explain to an employee or a contractor how I want them to do a job. Time and time again I’ll just jump in and start working on it myself. But, when I do that I distract myself from the higher level things that I should be doing. It’s something that prevents me from reaching my peak productivity level. In fact, the skill I need to continue to develop to avoid this paradox is communication. I need to more effectively communicate with the people I pay to help me, to make them more effective at the skills that they provide. They, and better communication skills, will help me reach peak productivity.