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Summary:

Among all the productivity tips we’ve discussed here at WWD in the past, there seems to be one element needed to make any of them really work: Passion. I’m not talking about fleeting bursts of motivation, nor the satisfaction of crossing off a to-do item.

Among all the productivity tips we’ve discussed here at WWD in the past, there seems to be one element needed to make any of them really work: Passion. I’m not talking about fleeting bursts of motivation, nor the satisfaction of crossing off an item from a to-do list — though these can be symptoms. I’m referring to passion that fuels action, a state of no contradictions where you never think “I wish I were doing something else right now”. The work you’re doing? It’s the exact same thing you would be doing if money were no object. Maybe you’d do it differently, but you still can’t help feeling that you’re being paid for the things you were going to do anyway. That’s what I mean by passion.

Could it be that simple? In some ways it is, because passion brings with it certain gifts that make productivity a non-issue.

First, it breaks your excuses. Those who say they have no time come to realize that true passion will fuel their efforts to make time. Yes, even with five children in the house and an elderly parent to take care of. Yes, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Those who don’t have enough resources will also make do with what they have, or find ways to acquire what they need.

These resources may include know-how and tools. Passion, when applied wisely, gives you these things at the right time. When you’re passionate, your love is for doing the work, not for the shiny equipment, shortcuts or dental plan that comes with it. You could spend five days looking up the best collaboration tool for writing a group project or you could just pick one now and focus on the creating. Besides, if the tool ends up being the wrong one, you can always change it later. But you cannot get those five days of fiddling back.

The same applies to know-how. You could bookmark dozens of Photoshop tutorials online and subscribe to all the tutorial blogs. Or you can look up a specific tip when you need it. Given the scope of the Internet, there are tips available for almost any imaginable issue, but this doesn’t mean you have to digest all of them in one go. Since passion is fulfilled only in the act of doing something, the scouring of the web for tips you “may need someday” will seem like a waste of time.

Despite these benefits, passion is not an easy thing to come by. Even if you have it, you may not feel it all of the time. After all, few people feel passionate about creating invoices, writing reports or providing support to angry clients. Where’s the passion in that?

But these tasks — the boring, tedious ones — have their place. Those who have felt passion in their work will not settle for anything less, unless it is necessary. If they have the means, they subcontract it. If not, these tasks are automated or done as efficiently as possible so as not to interfere with the real work. In other words, the dull parts of the work are just that, parts. Not the main event.

Because if we have that kind of passion for the things we’re doing — whether it’s accounting, design, or stonemasonry — then we wouldn’t need as many “extras” to help us get through the difficult days. Passion will allow us to work when it’s hard, when it’s boring, and even when effort seems futile. We will show up and do the work because it’s what makes us feel alive.

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  1. This is awesome! So many of us are going through the motions every single day!! Passion is where its at. Its crazy how people around us and society will tell us that we need to be doing this or that, not even knowing who we are or what are our passions. Those negative influences have gotten so many of us away from our true calling/passions.

    I found this organization that helps people fend off the negative influences that divert us off of the path to our passions. Its called http://www.TheResetAgency.com

    I am actually going through their destiny session right now and I will be in their class in August. They are helping me uncover my true calling in life and unleash my passion (because I, like many of you have listened to people tell me what I should be doing and I have wasted so many years going through the motions at jobs that I was not passionate about).

    As you can see I am passionate about passion:)

    Again, check out this company called http://www.theresetagency.com. They help people uncover their passions so that they can take them into the workplace.

  2. Portal Psico » Paixão como a “ferramenta definitiva de produtividade” Monday, July 26, 2010

    [...] Passion as “the Ultimate Productivity Tool” [...]

  3. Guard your passion – you can get lost from it. This is the real danger of taking a mind-numbing, soul-sucking job in order to “pay the bills.” You can end up so far from your passion that you need a guide to find your way back. Lean into your passion and it will end up giving you life and yes, even paying your bills.

    1. very wise comment Don.

  4. I completely agree. Passion isn’t something that can be put away in an 8-5 cubicle. You can’t fake it yet you can hide it – simply because it can scare you. This is simply because it is the “in your face” truth.

    Passion is yours to experience and revel in. And even if it causes you to scrape your knees or fall into that raging river called life, passion is your birthright. It is within you. It is yours to discover and master.

    Thanks for the link Hester. This Reset Agency looks to be on their game. I checked out their site and it is simply awesome! There’s no other agency out there that approaches helping others through their own DNA – revealing their own pathway. Amazing concept.

    They really seem to have a passion for helping people finding the real them. Has anyone else checked out the process? I’m thinking of reaching out and contacting. Sometimes we have to take that leap of faith to reach success and this Reset Agency may be what we all need.

  5. I’ve been trying hard to tell everyone I know to trust one’s heart ( or guts ) and follow the passion to reach your dreams. Sometimes, fear can hold us back. I remember a few years back at school when everybody laughs at the way I write… until my slogan entry won and got published for a fab fashion mag. Then, even in my early years as a writer, I got plenty of people putting me down. If I ever let them got into me, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I’d say when it comes to your passion, fight for it like you would for your very own life. Cheers!

  6. It would have been interesting to add a poll related to this post. I’m curious how many are passionate of what they do and if this is indeed a key to productivity.

  7. I think there’s a twin to passion–persistence. We don’t always feel propelled forward. 95% of what we do is probably glorified donkey work but then the fire starts and we see it come together.

  8. Very inspiring post :-) One of the reasons why I love what I do is the passion I have for helping people. The economy is tough as it is, and there are millions of job seekers out there who are losing hope about finding a good well paying job. If there is anything I can do to alleviate their anxiety, then I will do it. You have to do what you love to stay focused, happy and sane! (But then again, that’s just me.)

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter for questions, comments and violent reactions)

  9. Digital Archives, Productivity, and Having a Good Day « The Waki Librarian Friday, July 30, 2010

    [...] article from WebWorkerDaily is fantastic: Passion as “the Ultimate Productivity Tool”. (Reminds me a lot of the advice that Seth Godin writes in his books and blog about work, [...]

  10. You might also wanna try http://www.TimeOP.com for tracking focus, productivity and involvement of your team across application and web pages – online and offline.

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