Dare to live without limits Week of 10/12/20

Bryan Golden

Are you really productive or busy filling time?

Do you feel you are so busy you can’t keep up, yet you don’t feel you are getting anything accomplished? Although both being productive or busy require time and effort, only productivity moves you closer to your goals.
Being busy increases stress because you are exhausted with nothing to show for your efforts. In this mode, working harder or longer doesn’t help. You feel as if you are running on a treadmill which is going faster than you can keep up with.
There are effective strategies for becoming productive. Start with identifying exactly what you want to accomplish, along with your deadline. Having a meaningful deadline enables you to set priorities. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, there’s no way to be productive.
Apply the 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of your accomplishments are achieved by 20 percent of your effort. This principle was based on the study of sales organizations which found that 20 percent of the salespeople were responsible for 80 percent of the sales. So, concentrate on the 20 percent of your efforts which yield 80 percent of your results.
Set your priorities. Focus on what you need to do, rather than what you think you should do. Any activity which moves you toward a goal is something you need to do. Time spent on activities which are not goal oriented, keep you busy with nothing to show for it.
Without clear, meaningful goals, you won’t be productive. Procrastination prevents you from being productive. When you are busy, instead of productive, you are engaging in displacement behavior. You are attempting to avoid the guilt of not doing anything, by doing something.
Eliminate any tasks which accomplish little or nothing. These are displacement behavior traps which pull you away from productivity. It’s common to find a significant portion of your day spent on these tasks.
Remove distractions. Unplug. Silence your phone. Turn off your email. Focus boosts productivity. The greater your concentration, the greater your accomplishments. Interruptions significantly reduce your efficiency. An unbroken flow gets you into high productivity mode.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking impedes productivity. Continually changing gears has the same impact as distractions. Your mind performs at peak efficiency when it is unimpeded by having to switch to different tasks. Dedicate yourself to one important task at a time.
Boost your productivity by breaking goals down into small, manageable steps. Each step can then be readily accomplished without becoming intimidating. When a task is too large it seems overwhelming, allowing procrastination to set in.
Utilize your peak productivity period for your most important tasks. This is the time of day when your energy cycle is at its highest. You are the most alert and least fatigued. Other periods, when you are tired, can be used for handling secondary, non-essential tasks.
Organization boosts productivity. The time you spend looking for stuff is wasted. Highly productive people are highly organized. Get rid of anything you don’t need, especially papers. The less you have to keep track of, the easier it is to organize.
Have a standard of excellence. Productivity is enhanced by completing a task only once. Doing things right the first time means you don’t have to find time to do them over. Continually fixing mistakes wastes time and energy.
Monitor your progress toward each goal. Track productive time versus unproductive time. Always be on the lookout to reduce or eliminate unproductive activities. Living a productive life is infinitely more satisfying than just being busy.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2020 Bryan Golden


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