Don’t confuse activity with achievement, said legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. As soon as your alarm goes off in the morning and as soon as you lay your head down at night, are you making any meaningful progress toward your goals? Or are you merely running in place?
Instead of wasting time or spending it, decide today to learn how to be more productive in the areas of your life that matter most to you.
For office, home, and on-the-go productivity, our SUCCESS team has gathered tips and strategies from experts and readers alike. Share your own best practices with us on Facebook or Twitter by commenting on our favorites.
Make a List Of Your Personal Goals
Hopes and dreams are nothing more than fantasies until they are identified, written down, and a plan is created to achieve them.
It Is Important To Have a Plan For Your Day
A day planner or journal forces you to spend a few minutes a day setting short-term goals and prioritizing tasks, despite the fact that many people use their computer’s calendar.
90-Day Success Planner user Simon Ponce. The Franklin Covey planner is, of course, a classic that is cherished by many. Allyson Lewis, in her book The 7-Minute Life Daily Planner (also available from Amazon), recommends making a “5-before-11” list of five things you want to get done before 11 am.
Decide On The Best Time Of Day For You
Do you like to stay up late at night? Are you an early bird? You may already be aware of the times of day when you are at your most energetic and creative. Chart your energy and attention levels every day for a week if you haven’t already. Do you work quickly or creatively when the situation demands it? At what time of day do you make the most mistakes? Remember that everyone experiences highs and lows throughout the day; it’s what you do with them that matters.
In addition to being a diary, a journal contains thoughts, ideas, discussions, phone numbers, and other important information. A journal allows you to keep track of previous ideas, thoughts, and plans in one place. “My journal is my productivity tool,” says SUCCESS reader Jim McMonagle. What I do every day is centered around what’s most important.
Dedicate Yourself To a High-Performing Partner
Meet with another high-achieving peer once a week for a 30-minute accountability call to keep you on track. Then challenge each other to achieve better results the following week..
Revisit and Re-evaluate Your Strategy
Stephen R. Covey recommends taking time to rethink. “We have to examine our paradigms (our view of things), our tools, our skills to determine if we’re approaching the problem in the right way. As a first step, we may even step back and make sure we’ve correctly defined the problem. Then we need to see if, based on the evidence of results or lack of results, we need a new approach.”
If you find you need some new tools or skills, don’t be discouraged. “This can be an exciting proposition because you will most likely find new growth and development in the process—this is a success!”
In his book, Stephen R. Covey recommends taking the time to rethink your decisions. In order to determine if we’re approaching the problem in the right way, we must examine our paradigms (our way of looking at things), our tools, and our skills.
To begin, we may even take a moment to reassess the problem and confirm that it is properly defined. Based on the evidence of results or lack thereof, we need to determine if a new approach is required.”
Avoid becoming discouraged when new tools or skills are required. When it comes to new growth and development, this can be a very exciting proposition. This is a success!
Focus On a Specific Issue
The biggest and most important goal you have set for yourself can be achieved by completing three projects, tasks, or priorities. Then, spend 90 percent of your day completing those tasks. Work on delegation, reassignment, or rapid response with the remaining 10%.
Technology Should Be Used
In addition to being distracting, smartphones are also useful productivity tools for last-minute research and file downloads in an emergency as well as for calendar management and social networking as well as grocery lists. Look at what your phone can do.
Your To-Do List Needs To Be More Detailed
The SUCCESS reader Eva Pauline Scott says, “I make a to-do list every week.” So I have everything at my fingertips and can choose what to do when it fits my schedule.” The Getting Things Done principle of doing something in less than two minutes (in my case, ten) appeals to me.
Take Personal Responsibility For Your Actions And Decisions
In SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Performing at Your Productive Best, Laura Stack writes that time and productivity are solely your responsibility. As she advises, “Never place blame on anyone else.” In the absence of totalitarianism or indentured servitude (unlikely), it’s all up to you when it comes to productivity.” “It’s your duty to go around if someone or something gets in your way.”
Spend your time wisely by calculating the value of your time and focusing on what you do best. Then, hire others to clean the house, pick up the dry cleaning, complete mailouts, or respond to routine e-mails while you’re on vacation or otherwise occupied. The majority of the work is outsourced to other people. Shelly Larson Lisoskie, a SUCCESS reader, says that delegation to well-trained and talented staff is key.
Keep In Mind Your Why
Remember what you’re working for: time with the people you love most, whether it’s your toddler at home, your spouse on the beach, or a group of lifelong friends who are more like family. Joan Graham, a SUCCESS reader, says, “I stay focused. My desk is adorned with photos of my family, which serve as a source of inspiration and focus.”