What’s so magical about a productivity formula? It’s magical because if you follow it, it works!
Day in and day out, you can work your patootie off and not be productive. (I have those days. I just feel dreadful that I haven’t been nearly as productive as I hoped with my time.)
On the other hand, if I’ve got my ducks in a row, my day planned out with an objective in mind, I can speed through my workload.
So what’s my formula? They are my 7 P’s of Productivity. For the formula to work, I have to be incorporating ALL of the seven P’s.
Now this may seem a tall demand, but you don’t have to have all of them going at the same time. One leads to the next. Add up a little bit of each one and you’ll be productive too. Take a look:
You need a yardstick to know what to measure against: planning. Setting and detailing your goals, projects and tasks is essential to be able to determine if you’re making progress against those goals. Think like Lewis and Clark. Goal: Find the other side of the country! Go West, Young Man! (No detours to Mexico!) Then they got it done.
Planning and preparation aren’t the same thing. A chef plans a meal. A sous chef preps the ingredients for the dish by washing and chopping them to meet the specifications of the recipe.
When I’m planning the design of a brochure or a website I’m figuring out what information is most needed by readers or visitors. This can include determining the needed number of pages, possible titles and so forth. The actual preparation includes further steps. (What are the printing costs for X many brochures with X many pages? What are hosting fees for this type of website?) I’m digging into the nitty gritty to determine the edges of the puzzle and what tools I need to complete the tasks.
To be consistently productive, you need to practice the these P’s to get good results! It’s one thing to cram for an exam or a deadline and just barely eack it out. It’s another thing to produce great work on a regular basis. That means if you’ve got bad habits to break (like checking Facebook, Twitter or email every time the audio notification beeps), you’ll need to consciously practice your new, good habits until the old habits are gone.
Work goes faster when you’re consciously working for a purpose and towards a goal. The mind is focused and returns answers to your own questions faster when you know why you’re doing it and what’s to be accomplished.
Stick with it! Stay the course! Eliminate interruptions. Turn off your cell phone, desk phone, radio, TV and what not to stay on target. If you hit an obstacle, take the time to figure out how to eliminate the problem. Don’t give up!
Are you making progress? Surely your inner voice is letting you know if you are making steady steps forward or exhausting yourself furiously treading water.
If you’re not making progress, it’s nearly impossible to be productive.
Which one of the P’s are you missing? If you feel like you’re swimming upriver, take a moment to count up your little victories towards your goal. You may be making progress but not realize it due to the number of obstacles you’ve faced in the process. The bits of progress will add up eventually!
That’s the fun part when you finish! Plan your reward at the beginning. Use it as a carrot to hurry you through your project. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a night out or a movie you’ve been dying to see, dangle it in front to speed you along.
The Other “P”
One piece of being productive is working in a healthy environment. Thus, last week I shared my (healthy) workspace with readers which generated a number of comments.
Did anyone compliment me on how neat and tidy it was? No. Not a soul.
Did anyone comment that my workspace looked well-organized. No.
Every comment I received was about the dachshund picture behind the desk (actually mounted over the right side of the desk).
Perhaps you may have noticed his eyes staring down on me. (Go ahead; scroll to the top. I’ll wait.) I could have added another “P” to my formula–Partner.
This silent, two-dimensional black and tan doxie guards my productivity! He glares down from above to remind me to complete unfinished tasks, to neaten the top of my desk and not forget all my P’s!
Having a partner to whom you are accountable for your productivity goes a long way towards meeting your goals.
Fortunately, with any luck your partner may not glare, may not look down from the wall above in judgment, and probably doesn’t have four feet!