Productivity is not about how much you do but what you do that takes your effectiveness to an unprecedented level. Mastering effective productivity makes you a crucial asset to your team, an invaluable leader and might even help you achieve your goals faster.
It can be easy to get pulled in multiple directions causing unnecessary stress and frustration. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, says, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” This has transformed my productivity from being stuck on a productivity treadmill to actually making ground important tasks and goals.
Transform your productivity like I did with these three actions from the book Essentialism.
1. Find a purpose and set your goals.
Stop trying to do it all and instead focus on the top problems you need to solve to move your goals forward. Answering these questions help set a role and a purpose in what you are doing. What strengths do you offer at your workplace? What are you passionate about? What problem do you want to solve?
Once you’ve focused your goals, then it’s time to set your role and purpose. You must then ask, “What’s the one thing I can do that makes the highest contribution to my goals?” For example, a CEO shouldn’t be spending their time handling small support questions, they should be focused on running the company. When there is role clarity you thrive versus experiencing frustration and stress with your attempts at productivity. Knowing your role will help you filter priorities to make the wisest investments of your time and energy.
Below is a visual from the book that shows the difference between those who diversify their energy versus those who focus their energy towards focused goals. There is greater traction when your energy is focused.
2. Know and accept the trade-offs.
Knowing your purpose will act as a filter when sorting and prioritizing your tasks. Doing one task takes time from another. When you spend time doing the non-essential tasks that do not contribute to your role and goals, time is stolen from more important things.
You may be saying, “But these things that come up are urgent!” And they may be. But there is a difference between the things that are urgent and the things that are important. If we aren’t careful, our time will be eaten away doing only things that are urgent and we never get to the things that are important. We can’t do everything, and we have to know that each task and decision we make has a trade-off.
3. Find and remove obstacles.
Because we can’t do everything, we need to empower others to take on the tasks that don’t contribute to our role and goals. Delegation is hard. You either don’t want to put the task on another’s plates or you aren’t sure if they can handle the task. But by trying to do everything, you actually do your team a disservice. You want to empower them in their roles and trust them with responsibility.
As we take inventory of our lives, it is necessary to do an intentional editing of our time and energy. Consider what obstacles or distractions are currently keeping you away from making the highest contribution you can in your life?
The best asset you have for making a contribution is yourself, protect that asset! Set a purpose, know and accept trade-offs, and remove obstacles. You will feel more fulfilled with your productivity.