I’ve labeled May as Productivity Month, so it’s time to get focused on being productive and getting more done in less time. This is one of the most requested topics I’m asked to speak on, and something that almost all of my coaching clients ask for as well.
In honor of productivity month, the next 4 weeks are going to be dedicated to what I refer to as the “Four Gems” of productivity. While any one of these strategies could be a game changer for you, applying all of them will absolutely help you feel more productive, get more done in less time and above all give you the sense that you are winning the battle for productivity.
Let’s get started
Productivity Gem #1
Let me ask you a question. How do you start your day? What is the first thing you do?
I would bet many of you would say you check your email on your smart phone.
Here’s the thing, from a productivity standpoint, checking your email first thing is the absolute worst possible thing you could do.
Let’s talk about what email for a minute. E-mail is really a nice neat filing cabinet of EVERYONE ELSE’S problems and agenda. Think about how many times in the past few months you’ve gotten up in the morning feeling energized and ready to take on the world. Then you crack open you email first thing and BOOM the you know what hits the fan, you get completely sucked into the corporate vortex, and finally get spit out the other side around 2 or 3pm feeling completely spent, exhausted and accomplished nothing you needed to that day.
At this point in your somewhat defeated state, it’s hard to get on track so you spend the rest of your day on menial tasks basically feeling unproductive. At the end of this day you go home to your significant other or those you care for and tell me how good are you for them in that moment?
Look, I’m not saying don’t check your email in the morning. I’m sure some of you might lose your job if you did that. What I’m saying is do not check your email first thing. Why would you allow some outside force to determine how your day starts. Makes no sense right? Yet many do this over and over again.
All I’m suggesting is that before you open up your email, take 10 minutes and set you intention for the day. This means getting a pen and paper and writing out the 5 or 10 items you plan to accomplish that day. What loops do you need to close, whom do you need to connect with, what projects will you spend some time and energy focusing your attention. That’s it, set YOUR agenda first.
Now that you have your intentions for the day, go ahead and crack open your email. All those problems and situations haven’t changed, your focus before you tackle them has completely changed.
Here’s the best part of all this. Even if you get sucked into firefighting for most of the day with the daily grind of your business, your brain is so amazing at moving you subconsciously towards your goals that somehow you will get a few things knocked off your agenda.
Here’s the best part of this. At the end of the day, when you feel as though you’ve accomplished nothing, you get to look at your list and cross something off. Studies tell us that the mere act of crossing something off your to-do list releases a small shot of dopamine into our system. That’s the feel-good hormone in case you were wondering that gives us that sense of excitement and achievement.
Now that you’ve had your feel good moment and actually know you’ve accomplished something of value, think about going home to those same significant others, or those you care for. What state might you be in now?
That’s it. Productivity Gem #1
Set Your Agenda First
Look next week for Gem #2
Cheers to you and your productivity, and crossing something off your list,
One Quarter Turn at a Time