[Published November 4, 2016]
[Editor’s note: This article comes courtesy of guest blogger Andy Scott.]
In recent years, work has become infinitely more complex.
Technological innovations have led to round-the-clock work schedules and mounting expectations. Our assignments have grown more collaborative, requiring more coordination, conference calls, and meetings. We now face an endless barrage of distractions, from the vibrations and alerts on our smartphones to the breaking news stories and viral videos awaiting us at our desks.
When a major product is about to launch or your team is scheduled to make an important presentation, it’s easy to ride the wave of deadline-induced adrenaline spikes and push yourself to work every waking moment. But of course that’s not sustainable, and we inevitably crash. So how can you make productivity habitual and lasting?
Now, more than ever, we need strategies for being productive. But where do we start?
- The first step is to understand that productivity means optimizing your entire life, not just work. A well-designed personal life supports your efforts at work, and being strategic about when and how you work is what lets you have a rich personal life. So figure out ways for them to complement each other.
- Own your time. Our most satisfying work comes about when we’re playing offense, working on projects that we ourselves initiate. Many of us know this intuitively yet continue allowing ourselves to spend the vast majority of our days playing defense, responding to other people’s requests.
- Do things today that make more time tomorrow. A final theme to emerge is that top performers look for ways to automate or delegate activities that are not a good use of their time. Vaden suggests asking yourself, “How can I use my time today in ways that create more time tomorrow?” Evaluating your to-do list through this lens makes it easier to commit to activities that are not immediately enjoyable, like automating bill paying or creating a “how to” guide for other team members to help you delegate repetitive tasks more easily.
- Want to be an outstanding leader? Plan each day in advance! The better you plan, the easier to overcome procrastination, to get started, and to keep going. Every minute you spend planning will save as much as ten minutes in execution. It is higly recommended to use a paper notebook or planner because it’s proven that people who have clear written goals accomplish 5 to 10 times more than people who don’t. We are excited about The StunBear Notebook which was just listed on Kickstarter. It has all neccessary lists and layouts you will need to achieve your goals. You can get one here.
Setting and achieving goals steps:
- Decide exactly what you want
- Write it down
- Set a deadline on your goal
- Make a list of everything you need to do to achieve your goal
- Organize the list into a plan
- Take action on your plan immediately
- Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal
- Always work from a list – if something new comes up, add it to the list. All you need is paper and pen.
- Keep a master list of everything.
- Make a list for different purposes.
- Keep a monthly list, which you make at the end of each month for the following month.
- Keep a weekly list, which you make at the end of the week for the following week.
- Keep a daily list, which you make as the end of the day for the following day.
Whenever yоu make a key decision or take a key actiоn, write dоwn what yоu expect will happen. Six оr 12 mоnths later, cоmpare the actual results with your expectatiоns.
Look fоr patterns in what yоu’re seeing: What results are yоu skilled at generating? What abilities dо yоu need tо enhance in оrder tо get the results yоu want? What unprоductive habits are preventing yоu frоm creating the оutcomes yоu desire?
In identifying оppоrtunities fоr imprоvement, dоn’t waste time cultivating skill areas where yоu have little cоmpetence. Instead, concentrate-оn and build-оn yоur strengths.
Yоu’ll knоw yоurself better and be able tо make better decisions if you recоrd yоur feelings and expectatiоns when things happen.