Sometimes the answer to getting more things done is to do less.
This isn’t some kind of quick fix to get you lounging in a hammock on the beach while making the most money of your life kind of philosophy. Sometimes half the battle at work is just making sure we are doing the right thing at the right time so that our work has maximum impact. Who doesn’t want that?
The biggest danger to our productivity is the unrealistic ideal that we’ve created in our own head. Part of breaking its power in our lives is examining what our unrealistic expectations look like.
For me, the ideal productive day is to respond to 100 emails, fields calls in between Coaching Sessions, works on a new chapter of my book, delivers eight dynamic Coaching Sessions Client and manages the Coachwell Team well, all within the span of eight hours. Phew, what an exhausting to-do list! Yet I am convinced I can get it all done, and I can’t.
We can face reality honestly when we stop running our lives according to these unrealistic expectations and take time to understand our limitations and what will produce the most impact for us. Here are few tips on increasing your productivity by prioritizing the right things, to double your efforts at work.
Minimize distractions and spend some time away from the hustle for a planning retreat. This might be a weekend away at the beach or some time spent hiking with your peers. Use this time to examine your core values and how those relate to your goals. It’s so easy to become good at things that don’t matter, and this is the productive person’s most fearsome enemy. Update your Professional and Personal Plan in CoachwellPro to stay on top of the priorities in your life or take this as a moment to head in a new direction. Don’t be afraid of switching lanes if you need to. It’s never too late to pursue your passion.
The illusion of busyness robs us from experiencing real productivity. This means we must step away from things that make us feel important that don’t truly advance us toward our goals. Answering emails is a big one for me. While it’s essential to communicate with others, answering emails doesn’t move my BHG (Big Hairy Goal) projects forward. Assign a block of time near the middle or end of your day to deal with emails and reserve mornings for your high priority items. Statistics consistently show that our concentration levels peak early in the day. It’s best that we reserve this time slot for the projects, calls and meetings that deserve our most intense focus.
Time management experts and good leaders both understand how the power of ‘no’ is as impactful as the power of a ‘yes’. What we invest our time in will ultimately explain our success or show others the reason why we haven’t made it yet. Bob Goff Author of Love Does shares his secret to leading the unconventional, extraordinary life he is famous for. He says, “Every Thursday, I quit something.” Bob shows us how simple saying no can really be. Don’t get stuck in a fatalistic mindset. We make all sorts of excuses about how we’re obligated to do things we’ve signed ourselves up for when in reality, we have the power to change it. Don’t opt out of taking control of your life, just quit something! It doesn’t have to be big. You can do it!
It’s important to remember that not all productivity is measured in tasks, but sometimes, in influence. Can you think of someone who has demonstrated this truth to you recently? Maybe they helped carry your groceries up a flight of stairs or wrote a wonderful book that changed your life. Instead of striving to be heard, do something unique that gives your peers a leg up. Release a free eBook, offer to share your advice with someone over coffee, write an article highlighting tips on how you achieved success! Do this out of an authentic heart and it will make a big impact. Those who are striving to be heard will make less of an impact than those who are genuinely motivated by a desire to help others. It might seem like a “waste of time” or resources to do something simply for the sake of helping, but it will actually cement you in other people’s minds as a trustworthy person. And trust is everything!
My last point is that not all progress is measured the same. All leaders have different skill sets. For some of us, helping others manage their time and coaching is our most important priority. For others, fostering creativity and inspiration is our highest goal. Or maybe you’re a craftsman and quality is your main focus. Whatever your calling, do your homework, operate from a close understanding of the “why” behind the “what” and avoid the temptation to succeed at things that don’t really matter. While we all want to appear impressive, people know the difference between real progress and fluff. Work to be productive in the ways that matter most to your business!
To your productivity,