Yes, you have read the title correctly. Busyness does not mean that you are productive. Busyness often distracts us from what truly needs our attention. It is sometimes our way of putting off the tasks that seem daunting, overwhelming, or in some ways bring up a sense of anxiety or fear within us. However, the reality can be far from the truth. What we resist, will PERSIST!
So what does productivity require from us?
It requires us to prioritize, get clearer, become more efficient, spend a little more time on the “front-end”, ask for help, and becoming ok with saying “NO!”.
To get more done in a day most people resort to working longer hours, pushing out deadlines, and juggling more responsibilities. Sure, this can provide some immediate relief, but these aren't sustainable solutions for the long term. Personal productivity is about completing actions that move you closer to accomplishing your goals in a manner that brings balance and ease to your life. It’s not enough to just mark tasks off a list. The tasks you’re completing need to be directly related to achieving meaningful objectives.
Productivity is about how much you accomplish rather than how busy you are. So it's important to learn how to work more efficiently so you have enough time to focus on your regular responsibilities and your future goals too.
Embarking on a goal-setting journey can be overwhelming, which is why it is helpful to plan your actions according to levels of priority. The following goal setting activity is designed to allow you to make the most of your time so that the goals you set get done.
Activity: Little Index Cards
You’ll need these materials:
- A pack of index cards
- Colored pens or pencils
1. Using the matrix below, assign a pen color to each of the four different levels of priority shown.
2. On each index card, write down a task/goal you need to achieve this week. Use as many cards as you need to capture all of your goals.
3. Beginning with the highest priority (High Importance & High Urgency) quadrant, choose five cards (goals) that you know you can accomplish by the end of the week. Place these five cards in the “Do First” quadrant.
4. Distribute the remaining cards into the other three quadrants according to their perceived priority.
5. Get started on accomplishing the five cards from your “Do First” quadrant.
Keep these five cards with you to remind you of what you need to accomplish. When you have completed each task file the index card away, or if you prefer, display it somewhere you can be reminded of your accomplishments.
6. If you don’t complete your week’s five priorities, keep the tasks that haven’t been completed in the “Do First” quadrant. Set your next week’s goals and prioritize them, keeping a total of 5 in the “Do First” quadrant.
7. If you complete all 5 tasks, begin working on the tasks in quadrant 2, and so on.
8. Each week add new goals as appropriate.
The process of assigning your tasks to different priority levels allows you to stay focused, and it keeps you from becoming overwhelmed since you are clear as to where it is most important to spend your time.
Reflect on Your Results:
- How does it feel to have your tasks and goals identified and prioritized?
- How will this process help you to be more productive?
- What supports can you put in place to better manage the distractions that prevent you from completing your most important goals?
Here are some further tips that can help you set and achieve your goals in the most efficient way possible.
Make a firm decision
Before setting any goal, make sure you take a firm stance in your mind that you will not tolerate distractions. In order to do that, it will be necessary to identify what those distractions are for you.
Take a realistic look
Are your goals realistic? Or could you be spreading yourself too thin? Avoid setting goals just for the sake of it. Whatever goals you have, make sure you have the willingness and determination to achieve them.
Make an action plan
Once you have set your goals, make a plan to stay on track. This includes actions, timelines, supports, potential challenges, and even opportunities to celebrate.
Track your progress
If you don’t monitor your progress, you won’t know if you’re on track to achieve your goal within the time frame you set.
It is good to involve others in the process of setting and achieving goals. Having a support system can be valuable for offering different perspectives, encouragement and accountability.
Be okay with failure
If you learn to embrace the failures as opportunities of growth, then you will be teachable. The path to achieving your goals won’t always go smoothly. Failure is an important part of the process.
Don’t give up. It’s okay to encounter obstacles, get stuck, and have to adjust your plan. Multiple paths often lead to the same destination.
Celebrate when you have reached a milestone in your journey.
If you would like to increase your productivity by working more efficiently, click here to schedule a complimentary session to see if coaching would help you to focus on your current responsibilities and future goals.