“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyers
With so many tasks fighting for our attention, it’s no wonder we struggle with feeling productive. For most women, it’s important to us that we feel productive, and we usually measure our productivity by our output – how much do we get done in a given day? If we get a lot done, then we feel happy, but if at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves what we did all day, irritability sinks in.
If you have a business deadline, a family and home that need attention, and a volunteer project that begs to be completed, how will you pull together the resources and energy you need to successfully manage these commitments without compromising yourself? Boosting our personal productivity is possible if we know how to do it. Productivity involves three components: getting things done, the ability to make the right decisions quickly, and being able to create innovative solutions to our perceived challenges.
Getting Things Done
Getting things done requires both external and internal resources. Externally, it involves using people, time and money to achieve the results you want. Utilizing our people resources means we have to give up this idea that we are alone and on our own. We have to look at who in our life may be able to pitch in and help out. Can you involve a babysitter or spouse to help with the kids while you work on your business commitments? What other volunteers can you pull together to help you accomplish your projects?
Managing your time involves your ability to organize yourself, evaluate your priorities and focus on what’s most important to carry out your mission. More often than not, a lot of people have a large ongoing “to do” list that they work from. Everything has equal priority and focus is lost because the list is too overwhelming. Break up your list by order of importance and focus on only 2-3 tasks per day. You will be more successful in getting things done.
Internally, getting things done is all about your motivation behind the task. We come to every task in our lives with a certain level of energy, or attitude about the task. When I asked one woman why she wanted to take care of herself by exercising, her response was because she needed to make sure she was healthy enough to take care of other people. It’s very subtle and hard to see, but her motivation was out of fear. She was afraid if she didn’t take care of herself, she wouldn’t be able to take care of her family and business. When we are motivated by any kind of negative emotion like fear, worry, anger, or guilt, the energy we come to the task with is low. When you associate a task with pain (I hate exercising; it’s so hard), you are less likely to do it.
Complete this sentence: I want to…. Most likely, your answer was some kind of task or activity that you enjoy. Perhaps you said, “I want to read a book” or maybe you said, “I want to take a vacation.” The energy behind wanting to do something is high, and unless you let guilt get in the way, you will very likely complete a task you want to do. Always focus on why you want to get something done, even if you have to seek out the benefits received from doing a task you feel you have to do.
If there is one thing that will bring your productivity to a screeching halt, it is the inability to make decisions. I don’t know how many decisions we make everyday, but I know it’s a lot. Should I get up? What will I have for breakfast today? What should I wear today? What do I want to do first? Should I take a nap? Hey, a short nap can improve your productivity. These are easy decisions, but often we are faced with more difficult decisions. When decisions involve a commitment of our time, energy or money, we might hesitate. If we think a decision might affect our well being or future, our decision making process may slow.
For the last two days, I have been dragging my feet on making a business decision. On Sunday, as I was working on creating some visuals for an upcoming presentation, my husband says, “It’s too bad you can’t find a way to make your visuals more professional looking.” That started the decision-making cycle that I am stuck in. How can I create professional looking visuals on my budget? While I wait for the “perfect” answer to come to me, my project remains undone.
The ability to make fast and accurate decisions can make a world of difference in your personal productivity. What is your perspective on making decisions accurately and quickly? Do you avoid making decisions for fear of making the wrong choices? Do you look at decisions as opportunities to grow and develop as an individual? Wouldn’t it be nice to view decisions as an effortless task? What gets in the way of all your decisions being made accurately and quickly? Leaving decisions pending in your “inner” inbox can deplete your daily energy level, even if you are not consciously thinking about them.
Creating Innovative Solutions
Have you ever had a day or a situation when everything seemed to work out smoothly? You were “in the zone” and you were accomplishing more than you ever could have imagined. Your energy was high, your mood was great, and you were amazed at how easy life was. When we are in this “genius” mode, we have the innate ability to eliminate all obstacles, noise, and clutter, externally and internally. We are able to let go, focus, and let our intuition take over.
Recently, I have been faced with a situation that needs an innovative solution. My teenager hates English and is unmotivated to do what is required of him in this class. He is resistant to reading, but yet he has a 400 page book that he has to read to complete a 14 page research paper. A traditional approach of telling him he better start reading or he’s going to fail won’t work. A slightly different approach of suggesting he read just 20 minutes a day doesn’t work either. In order for me to be successful at coming up with a creative solution, I must be able to see multiple perspectives all at the same time. What is blocking my son mentally? What motivates him? How does he learn? What does he need to accomplish? How can I partner with my son to create an opportunity for success? By keeping an open mind to all the possibilities that are available to me, a solution will be delivered. So far I’ve thought of reading the book together, downloading the book on his iPod so he can listen to it, motivating him with a reward dinner at his favorite restaurant, and renting the book in movie format. As I stay open to my intuition, more solutions will come to me.
By looking at what thoughts and emotional responses might be blocking your intuition, you can more readily tap into your “genius” mind. If you hear yourself saying something like “I am not a creative person” or “I can’t trust my intuition”, then you will be unable to access this higher level of thinking and knowing. Practice a meditation or centering ritual on a daily basis to help you quiet your mind. In addition, listening to classical music or doing yoga exercises can help as well.
While it would certainly be nice to live a life that is truly simplistic, it is not possible or realistic to think life will not have challenges that require innovative solutions. We will always have competing demands that require us to pull together our resources to get things done, make quick and accurate decisions and utilize our creativity and intuition to find solutions to whatever trials life brings us. When you can successfully implement these three keys, you will experience personal productivity every day of your life.
TAKE ACTION ASSIGNMENT:
How would you rate your success on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) on each of the three keys to personal productivity? What impedes your growth in each of these areas? What change are you willing to make to boost your personal productivity?
The Three Keys to Personal Productivity
September 16, 2016