Many people believe they can be more productive by striving to do more.
Most people will achieve more by doing less rather than by doing more. The key is to do more of what’s important by doing fewer things.
Most of the many things on a typical day’s to-do list mean very little in the day’s results. They may be enjoyable interludes but not very productive. They can be done in leisure time or not at all with no effect on results.
Such things as checking social media posts or messages, texts, emails, etc. are all unproductive, unless you need information from one of those messages to do something important. Many people get consumed by these tasks during what should be the most productive part of their day. Other pressures can also draw us away from what’s most important. In today’s world, early-morning message-checking is probably the most prevalent.
You can scan your list of messages in a few seconds to see if there’s anything important and urgent in them. Do not open any other messages during your productive day.
Max Phillips posted this article on Medium.com several months ago. It discusses 7 time-wasters low-productivity people engage in. Avoid them!
Prioritize ruthlessly. Determine what two or three (no more than three) items will “move the needle” each day. Do those few things first every day. When they’re done, you can work on second-, then third-priority items with whatever time is left.
Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! and a quote from Jim Collins emphasize these concepts elegantly.
Brian’s book focuses on the idea of doing the most difficult, least enjoyable task (such as eating a live frog!) first. When you have that done, you can be pretty sure the rest of the day will go easier.
Jim’s quote, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any” needs no explanation.
If you so choose, continue working after the first two to four hours working on high-priority items – just recognize you’ll probably get less done per hour.
Eric Lofholm (see below) promotes the idea of measuring time in results per hour rather than minutes per hour. What you accomplish is much more important than the time you devote to it.
Another of Eric’s important concepts is an idea called “last productive day”. Decide what is the last date you commit to being productive. For him, it’s the day before his 75th birthday. He has an app on his phone that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until that date. Having already passed that time in my life, I’ve settled on the day before my 90th birthday.
The idea behind this concept is that we always have certain knowledge of how long we have to accomplish our life goals. Of course, we can continue working after that date if we so choose. It’s not a prediction of retirement or death. We’re just committing to be optimally productive at least to that date.
A Positive Mindset Makes all the Difference!
My friend, mentor and sales coach, Eric Lofholm, hosts a 15-minute motivational call every business day, and sometimes even on holidays. The call is at 7:45 AM Pacific time. Register for the call here. You’ll find instructions on how to join the call on Facebook, by phone or soon, Eric says, on LinkedIn.
Eric is unique in that his free programs offer solid value rather than just sales hype. This short conversation is serious training, and serious motivation, and it’s completely free of charge. Though there’s sometimes an offer to sign onto a paid program, that’s separate from the training and inspiration.
This call is a great way to get yourself started with a positive mindset every day.