I am always impressed with people who have dreams or goals and manage to make everything happen the way they envision things, or just have a “to do” list and get things done. They have ambition, self-initiative, and usually good time management skills. I can never seem to be as productive as I would like to be, so I guess I’m partly just envious. I know people who get more done by 9 am than I do all day long sometimes, but then again, I’m not a morning person. They wake up on full throttle. I have no clue what that feels like, and sometimes I spend more time thinking about what needs to get done rather than actually doing things. I get great satisfaction out of checking things of my “to do” list and want to get things done, but I can’t always make things happen in the timeframe I would like to and should be able to, but it’s sometimes due to things out of my control. Other times it is not. I can be very focused and productive though with the right motivation.
What really impresses me is when other people are willing to tackle projects or do anything that is out of their comfort zone, which seems to be a key factor sometimes. They’re not afraid to try something they’ve never done before or figure things out as they go. They just take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and run with it. More often than not, I need to have a pretty good understanding of what I am getting into before I am willing to dive in. I guess I just don’t want to get in over my head or feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I need to remind myself that when I do just “go for it” and take on a new challenge, it usually works out OK in the end.
I have noticed a pattern that people who are clearly morning people seem to be more driven to get things done, are more willing to just dive into projects and take on more than other people might, and they usually have a full schedule a good part of the time. Many seem to need to be doing something all the time and may have a hard time sitting still for too long. On the other hand, people who are night owls tend to procrastinate and need plenty of down time where they aren’t really doing anything. They also tend to underestimate how long it will take them to do something and will wait until they only have that amount of time left before getting started. So they are constantly running late or not getting things done. I’d say people who are more ambitious like to plan things out and are good at sticking to their plan, while people who are less ambitious tend to do things on a whim, have a harder time sticking to a plan, and work better when they are under a time crunch to get things done. I know that fairly recently a gene was discovered that determines whether or not you will be more of a morning person or night owl, which is hereditary. Perhaps a person’s ambition and some of the other things I have mentioned are all tied into that gene as well.
It’s not all hereditary though. It seems to me that there are way more distractions these days, especially our cell phones and other devices, which allow us to have access to limitless amounts of information, social media, and so on, and that enables us to occupy our time with all sorts of things that are enjoyable or entertaining but unproductive. We’ve become accustomed to the instant gratification that those things provide, and consequently many people have less motivation, interest, drive, focus, and/or mental endurance to get things done. If they did a study on the subject, my guess would be that people who are already less ambitious to begin with are the most easily distracted by electronics and unwilling to put them down for very long in order to be productive. My kids would definitely fit into that category. I worry about their generation for that reason. It’s all they know.
How ambitious we are may or may not be completely a choice, but we do have some control and can make a conscious effort to be more productive. We can decide to “unplug” from the distractions, make lists, set goals, reward ourselves for our accomplishments, and so on. It’s a matter of finding the right balance between getting things done and enjoying the time in between, without there being too much of either. That’s always been a work in progress for me.