Are you as productive as you could be?
In today’s uber fast world, the ability to define and do a multitude of tasks quickly is more important than ever. Not just to drive our company forward, but also to make it home for dinner with our family or partner.
Here’s our best business coaching checklist for super productivity – review it and compare it to your own performance and see how you score.
1. YOU ALWAYS PLAN YOUR ENTIRE DAY BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
According to the world’s bestselling author on time management, Brian Tracy, every minute of planning saves ten minutes of work.
2. YOU DO THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS FIRST. EVEN IF THEY’RE DIFFICULT.
As Mark Twain put it, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
3. YOU WORK WITH AN ATTITUDE OF URGENCY.
Professor John Kotter’s research has shown that a sense of urgency is the number one personality trait of successful CEO. This demanding pro activity is vital to cut through the inertia and complexity of most commercial enterprises.
4. YOU SET TIGHT TIME FRAMES FOR ALL TASKS.
When we have less time to do something we usually manage to do it quicker. Therefore, we should always set limited amounts of time to get jobs done. Parkinson’s Law is important here: ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.’
5. YOU TAKE A BREAK AT LEAST EVERY 90 MINUTES.
Tony Schwartz’s work at The Energy Project conclusively proves that people perform much better when they have frequent short breaks. He has found resting every hour and a half is optimum.
6. YOU READ EMAIL ONLY IN ORGANIZED BLOCKS OF TIME.
The most effective executives do not respond to email as it comes in. That will quickly break concentration and greatly increase the chances that your attention will be captured by the new and urgent, at the expense of the important.
7. YOU REVIEW YOUR PERFORMANCE DAILY.
In what ways did you perform well? How could you have worked better? As the U.S Air Force has shown, performance gets better when each and every mission is reviewed.
So how did you score?
Each of us is more than capable of implementing all seven of these productivity methods. None are complex to fulfill, but they demand intense focus and daily self discipline. Keep this Magnificent Seven in mind each day and watch your productivity (and ultimately life achievement) soar.
1. SIMPLIFY YOUR KEY TASKS DOWN TO three VITAL ACTIVITIES.
If you have not had the kind of year you’d hoped for, part of the reason will be that you spread yourself too thin. Don’t make this mistake in this final month. Sit with a pad and pen and brainstorm just three tasks you could do that would really help your business. Just three. Then, block out several hours in your diary each and every weekday allocated purely to getting those done. There’s no time to waste. Get simple and serious about what really matters and your progress will be greatly enhanced.
2. REACH OUT TO YOUR BEST SALES LEADS. IN PERSON OR DIGITALLY.
At the end of every year there are always some people that are close to signing up and buying what you have to offer. Rather than use the final weeks of the year for just cleaning up and festivities, immediately reach out to these potential sales several times, working hard to get them across the line.
Maybe give them a last minute discount, or some added value for the same price. Perhaps cogitate on the possible unsaid reasons they have not bought already and address them. These sales are close; don’t let them slip away in these final days of 2014. If it’s not appropriate to call them, send them a couple of emails asking for at least a further chat it’s these small actions that often yield big December revenue.
3. SINCERELY THANK YOUR CUSTOMERS.
I’m not talking about the usual cards they are flooded with at this time of year; I’m talking about something much more meaningful or memorable. Call them if possible, and let them know exactly why you value them. Send them a carefully considered gift. Invite them to a lunch, dinner or interesting event. Do something, anything that lets them know that they are more than income to you they are important and precious. It may take a bit of effort, but these are the type of gestures that if done with sincerity and panache will be remembered by your customers for years.
4. GET TOGETHER WITH YOUR STAFF (AND THEIR PARTNERS) FOR BREAKFAST.
Put on a fun and high quality breakfast that lets them know how valued they are. But be sure to invite their partners as well. The typical worker’s partner is never thanked or appreciated by the boss and that’s a big mistake. If you can make them feel that you’re grateful that they have put up with the late nights and weekends their partner has done throughout the year, your company will have a loyal supporter for years. Remember, staff retention is one of the hidden keys to profitability. And one of the best ways to retain somebody good is to win over their spouse to the company cause.
5. THROW OUT 50 % OF YOUR PAPERS AND FILES.
Be honest: you’ve been hoarding unnecessary files and documents for years. Don’t go into the New Year with this clutter still in your life.
Read the current New York Times bestseller ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and you’ll appreciate that generally the less stuff and mess around you, the better your psychological state. Now is the time to purge! Not a few papers, but at least 50% of them.
The key question to ask when doing this is not “‘Will I need it again?”, as that usually leads to keeping mountains of stuff just in case. But rather “Will I be able to get it again if I need it?” That small change in words makes all the difference in results.
Each of these 5 tasks is easy to do- but also easy not to do. But if you want to finish the year feeling happy and confident in a strong start to 2015, they are a must. Pick one right now and get working on it, the days left in 2014 are dwindling fast.