Are You Productive?

June 3, 2020

Marcia has worked stoically through our health and economic crisis.  She’s put in lots of hours, pivoting her business to continue to serve her clients and keep money coming in to keep the doors open and staff paid.

She’s feeling kind of whipped right now.

You, too?

I’m sure.  These extraordinary times have really stretched and stressed many of us.

So, I come with some good news today.

You can improve your results while reducing your feeling of fatigue (with scientifically proven steps).

Through our mentoring Marcia discovered her work habit…her nose-down, get everything done, oversee the whole shebang…was actually making her less productive.

With guidance she created new habits you can adopt, too.

First, Marcia reworked her To-Do List.

Every day she had tons on her list, and every evening most remained.  There they were again the next morning!  Instead, we encouraged her to limit the items she placed on her list.  Choose only the one-to-three most critical tasks to execute each day.  That’s it.  One to three.  Choose only the really big issues that must be accomplished today because they move Marcia towards her 2020 goal the fastest.

Then, she agreed to start (hopefully finished) those very few critical few in the morning, first thing, maybe even before she officially enters the office, virtually or actually.

Marcia can start first thing in the morning because she created her 1-to-3 To Do List at the end of the previous day.  Marcia starts each day knowing the critical few…before her emails, text messages and phone calls alter her actions.

This daily list keeps her moving by separating what’s critical from what’s important or nice to do (Marcia still has her “master list,” her Critical Success Factors that guide her daily decisions).

Next, we encouraged Marcia to measure her results not the time she puts in.  As you probably know already, putting in more and more hours doesn’t make you more productive.

Then, Marcia was encouraged to build habits to help her start working.  Her routine could be as simple as scheduling the first thing on her pared-down To Do List at 8am every day or heading to the office when she puts down her coffee cup.

And then there was this one. Build habits to stop working.

Marcia made a commitment to herself to end her day by 5:30pm.  To help her make this extraordinary change, she marked 5pm on her calendar to complete her next day’s To Do List.  She actually turned off her computer at 5pm rather than simply letting it go to sleep.  She set a firm, non-negotiable commitment with herself to have a set quit time. (That last one is there for you Type A’s).

After three weeks dedicated to this new work plan, Marcia found the adjustments actually generated greater results in less time!

She found the “stuff” she was doing didn’t really make a big difference when she stopped doing them.

By seemingly becoming less productive by putting in less time and working with a much shorter To-Do List, Marcia became more productive.

Frankly, the same thing will happen for you, too.

Start small.  At the end of your workday today (be specific) make your To-Do List for tomorrow.  No more than 1-to-3 critical actions.  Do those things first thing the next day.  Then do it again.

After 21 days, measure how much more you’ve accomplished in so much less time.

Then thank Marcia :>)

Go forth and do great things,

Martha and Chris