There are few things more important than productivity these days. It’s really bloody important. Success is one of the few things more important; interestingly, it’s often built on productivity. People have said that.
If you want to successfully be productive, and hopefully productively successful (think about it), then this is the only advice you need to read.
This advice will take your career to places you’re not yet capable of imagining.
1. Build your career on the basics
What even is sushi? Do you even know? I’d guess that you don’t. You probably think it is raw fish, right? False. That’s sashimi.
Google defines sushi as:
“a Japanese dish consisting of small balls or rolls of vinegar-flavoured cold rice served with a garnish of vegetables, egg, or raw seafood.”
It’s rice. It’s ninety per cent rice.
Ninety per cent of your work should be rice; the basics. To be successful, nail the basics and then slap a bit of sass on top. If you don’t nail the rice, nothing else will taste good.
2. Add some flair on top and throw a bit of spice on the side
Sushi would be pretty dull with just the rice. That’s why it has a something plopped on top or rolled inside.
A successful career can’t be built on just rice either. Find out what type of fish you fillet best. Better still. Find out what type of fish your boss likes. Learn to fillet that fish. Slap it on top of your rice. Pow. Pop a splash of soy sauce on it too.
But remember, get the rice right first.
3. Keep it fresh
You don’t want yesterday’s fish. You don’t want last week’s rice. Your boss or the job market don’t want last month’s skills.
Stay fresh. Stay now. Have people fish for you.
Be the catch of the day.
4. Use the right tools for the job
Would you eat sushi in public with a knife and fork? Hopefully not.
Don’t make a budget in Word. Don’t draft a letter in Excel. Don’t send emails by pigeon. Use the right tools for the job and you’ll go far.
5. Cleanse that palette between plates
Do you want your next piece of sushi to taste like your last? No. That would be pointless. Should a sizzling sales pitch have the same tone as that very sombre financial report you just finished? No.
That’s why sushi has ginger as a palate cleanser between bites.
To scream success, your work needs its own palate cleansers. Take a stroll between tasks. Go hang out by the water cooler. Have a coffee. Go talk to Kate and Jason for a minute. Jason and Kate are your ginger. Let them cleanse your palette with their ginger.
But remember, sushi comes with thin slices of ginger. Kate and Jason are a thin slice of fun between your tasks, nothing more.
6. Know the train just keeps flying by
This one is not even about not having too much on your plate; it’s about not having too many plates on your desk.
That sushi train keeps rollin’. How would you feel if you took and tried to eat literally every dish that came past? Not great, huh? Reckon they’d pile up? Probably, huh?
You might even vomit.
Don’t take all the plates. Not every dish is your dish. Say no to a dish or ten.
Don’t accept every task that is offered. Say no to a task or two. To productively be productive you need to say no from time to time.
Don’t try to do more than you can.
No one likes leftover food that someone else could have eaten. No one likes unfinished tasks that someone else could have done.
7. Choose the right plates
Imagine you’ve just arrived at the restaurant. Do you just grab the first plate that comes along? No. You sit down. You assess the scene. You get a feel for the different plates on offer and how often they come around.
Carefully choose your plates. Sequence them elegantly. Give them each the time they deserve. Don’t start with a spicy tuna roll. Where would you go from there? Don’t take an hour on the miso soup at the start. It’ll be home time before you know it.
To successfully be a success you must carefully choose and sequence each of your tasks (and your jobs) and spend the right amount of time on each one.
We could go on. The parallels are endless. They just keep coming. Just like a sushi train.
We won’t go on. We’ll leave it here.