With our busy lives, we’re all looking for the silver bullet to increase productivity and personal effectiveness. However, beware of spinning your wheels with “busyness.” Legendary coach John Wooden said, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” Are you achieving or just lining up busy days with activities? Maybe you don’t need a new organizational system or a way to get more work time out of each day. Instead, enlist the few most powerful habits that will make the biggest impact on your life. Get them to work for you, and get your sanity back.
The days of boasting that you have mastered multitasking and that spending every day frantically running from meeting to meeting are over. Research has proven over and over again that our brains are unable to effectively multitask. Instead, we do rapid task switching, which, contrary to popular belief, is not effective at all. By embracing the habits here, you can get your life back, take a breath, and use that time to remember what you are trying to accomplish. When you refocus on your true values and priorities, all of the “busyness” will fall by the wayside.
1. Pick the Top 3
What are your three most important projects (MIPs)? Write them down. Now tape them to the wall above your desk. What percentage of your time do you typically spend on your MIPs? Starting tomorrow morning. Plan on spending 90% of your day working on tasks related to those 3 most important projects. You can spend the other 10% of your time outsourcing the activities you have been spending your time on until now. Productivity is not an accident. It’s a decision.
Make a decision today to stop wasting time—or just spending time—and, instead, invest some time in learning how you can be more productive in the areas of your life that really matter
2. List Your Goals
Hopes and dreams remain fantasies until you identify them, write them down and create a plan for achieving them. Do your dreams and goals match the culture of your organization? Does your organization value teamwork or maverick leaders? Are you being included in development programs at your workplace? If not, is it because your values don’t match the culture? Find ways you can match up with your organization.
3. Maximize Your Capacity
We all have a limited amount of executive function to use any way we want, every day. Think of Steve Jobs’ wardrobe. He stripped away much of life’s extraneous decisions, so he could maximize his executive function for his life’s work. What are you spending your energy on that should be stripped away, so you can focus on your core values and goals?
Set up systems and processes for the tasks and challenges in life that get in the way of your main goal, so you can spend less time and energy thinking about it. Many people spend excessive time and energy either finding things on their disorganized workspace, or spending too much time keeping it tidy. Set up systems that maintain a clean desk, and you won’t be spending time on either task. Calculate how much your time is worth, and spend it doing what you are best at. This may mean outsourcing the things you are not good at, and are taking energy away from your personal and professional effectiveness.
At EDSI, we have found that these core skills are assumed to be regular practice, but most people don’t use them, and therefore aren’t able to leverage the effective communication of their colleagues who have embraced these essential skills. Communicating to Manage Performance, Increasing Personal Effectiveness and Professional Presence in a Casual World are all programs that integrate learning these (and many more) important workplace productivity and effectiveness practices.
Watch this quick video to learn the top 10 Competency areas you need!