The strongest productivity words in my life


Sometimes  you feel that you are not going where you want to go in your life. You wanted other things to happen.

Sometimes you are in an extremely difficult situation (financially, professionally, personally, etc.), and you are wondering what did you do wrong.

Sometimes you are not producing as much results as you want to produce.

my story

Although it was Stephen Covey’s 7 habits, the first book that made me understood the meaning of habits in our life, I didn’t realize deeply the power of habits until I heard an interview with Stelios Ramfos.

Stelios Ramfos is a synchronous Greek philosopher who studies the inner life of the Greeks and how they end up in a situation like today with all the economic problems, etc. In one of his interviews a journalist asked him:
“What was the basic reason  for the Greeks to end up in today’s situation?”
And Ramfos  answered
“The basic reason for today’s situation was their cast of mind, their mentality (the Greek word is pronounced [nootropia]).”

“And what is cast of mind? Cast of mind is a set of options, a set of decisions we made in our life, which then become habits, and we do it unconsciously. Habits are extremely powerful because we repeat them again and again without even thinking about them. They become our second nature of us.”

“The good thing about cast of mind is that it can change because it is just a set of decisions we made in the past (probably unconsciously or influenced by the distractions of our lives).”
“The answer to our difficult situation, to every unwanted situation, is to get out of our cast of mind and see our habits in the sphere of our goals.”

These words were a shock for me. They changed the whole cast of my mind. They changed my life. This concept is valid  for all our problems, for all our situations. If you are not happy with what you are today, then this is the concept to change.


Where you are today is a result of your habits

The habits we have today are not necessary, our conscious decisions. Probably these habits are random results of our speedy lives, but this is not so important now. If we want to be something else than we are today we have to change these habits.

Two perfect examples of random habits:

  • Your weight. If you are overweight, then almost certainly you have some bad habits for the goal of "a healthy weight" (I know that I have some of them...). Eating junk food, over-eating, lack of any kind of exercise in your life, an office job with no movement at all, maybe are some of them. You have to do your personal analysis of good and bad habits about your weight.
  • Your teeth health. If you have the habit of brush and floss your teeth after each lunch, then almost certainly you have healthy teeth.


We have to see our habits in the sphere of our goals

We have to see our habits in the sphere of our goals and adjust accordingly. How we will make the changes needed is a different story. First, we have to realize why we are here, today. What habits have led us to the current situation.

It is not easy to change our habits, but this is the only answer to our problems.

The power of habits

The secret power of habits is that when we form a habit, then we do it automatically, mechanically, easily, regularly, almost subconsciously. So if you are forming the right habits for your goals you will achieve them almost automatically.

Productivity and Habits?

You may be thinking: "OK, good eating habits and normal weight are related, but productivity and habits? How these two are bonding? Productivity is about working with good results, is this a habit?".

I will give you a very short list of good productivity habits that I have in mind, to better understand this:

  • You only check and reply on emails twice a day. You are not in the mailbox every five minutes interrupting whatever you're doing.
  • When you are working you have nothing open on your computer desktop except your work. You don't check Facebook, Twitter, Skype, the news, your Inbox, etc.
  • You are working in time chunks achieving the best in time management and focus.
  • For every project your work you have a time and money budget which you always advice.
  • You keep all the data of each project in one place.
  • You take regularly weekly backups of your data.
  • You work 8-10 hours every day, you are not overdoing it and you are not working less.
  • You make a to-do list with the 'important-not urgent' works for the day, early in the morning, and you keep in that list whatever is happening. You write down all the urgent new staff in a to-do inventory list to plan them another time.
  • When you are working you don't interrupt your focus with phones. You have an answering machine to keep the messages.
  •  You don't overeat because you have a lot of work to do (mine bad habit again...).

And the list goes on. I can write for hours on the productivity habits. As you can understand all the above aren't documented in a project management plan or in your job description. All the above are methods to work each day (habits) when you are trying to produce. If you form good productivity habits your work will boost whatever project you are working. You just have to see your habits to the sphere of your goals (be productive in our case). Once again, forming good habits isn't easy, but it is achievable and if you succeed, then the power of habits will be in your everyday program.

Risk #1

There is a big risk. We have a bad ‘habit’ always blaming someone else for our situation. We blame our parents, our government, our environment, the ‘others’, for what we are today, and we are pretty sure that we depend on ‘others’, to what we can become. STOP IT RIGHT THERE! The conversation here isn’t about our relationship with the others, is about ourselves, about our cast of mind, about our habits. When you are 1000% sure that you have applied the needed habits in your life for your goals then you will realize that ‘others’ is only a small percentage of the problem.

Risk #2

Another risk is that you have some ‘good’ habits about achieving your goal, but you don’t have all the necessary to have the wanted results. If you are not changing the whole cast of mind the result can’t come.

In the weight example, you cannot have a healthy weight if you only don't eat junk food. You have to exercise regularly, to walk to your job, to eat healthy, etc. Changing only some habits, is a very good step, but you will achieve your goal, you will achieve your desired state only if you change all the bad habits to good ones.

TAKE ACTION NOW (yes, I am talking to you!)

  1. Make a list of what is bothering you today (financially, personally, professionally). This is the list of the things you want to change in your life. These are your goals.
  2. Pick one goal only. Without thinking about you, what habits do you believe that someone must have to achieve this goal? Ask someone who has achieved this goal what habits did he have for these results. This is your list of ‘must have to achieve goal” habits.
  3. Make another list of the habits you have today about this goal. Be honest with yourself. Be open-minded with yourself and your problems. It’s about YOUR life.
  4. Compare the lists from two and three. You will understand why you have the related problem today. You will understand what you have to change.
  5. Keep the results of this assessment in a special "TAKE ACTION' folder in your computer or in your office desk (if you do it on paper). Create a habit of working on the data of this 'TAKE ACTION' folder at least once a month. Decide what ACTIONS you will take from this work.


The irony of my story for understanding the deeper meaning of the power of habits is that I had been taught in school, years before, the words of Aristoteles “we are what we repeatedly do” but then I did not have the right cast of mind to really listen and understand. It was an unconscious decision not to pay attention...

I cannot really describe the value of these words, the value of the deep understanding of the power of habits in our everyday lives, in all our problems.

Please take a moment and try to better understand this. Your productivity will boost. Your problems will have a better chance to be solved. 

To your productivity!



Resources for the above article


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