3.5 Steps to Increased Productivity

Here you are, one month into 2012. Getting as much accomplished as you planned? I made my theme for this year IMPLEMENTATION. If you’re wondering why you’re not seeing the results you think you “should” be seeing, based on the amount of work you’re doing, perhaps these 3.5 tips will help you.

1. Think of all the things you do in your life, out of habit, that do not get you the results you want. Some people spend an hour a day on the phone with friends, talking about last night’s episode of American Idol or who said what to whom and at the end of the day, they’re frustrated that there’s still a pile of work to do. I examined how I start my day and decided that I need to NOT open my email until somewhere around noon. What’s been happening is I turn on my computer and immediately check email every morning. That can take over an hour, reading and answering. And when it comes down to it, that activity is A) not making me any money, and B) distracting me from getting to the more important tasks. Honestly, it’s been a challenge to keep the email program closed, but I think it’s really going to help me focus on more important things – like writing – that will benefit from the alertness of a “morning mind.”

2. Get into the right environment. Do you want to fly with the eagles or scratch around with the chickens? How many times have you heard this and when are you going to actually do it? Who you’re hanging out with has a direct correlation with what your results are. If you want to be wealthy, you need to associate with wealthy people. Athletes know that if they want to improve their performance, they play against or run with people who are better at the sport than they are.
Take a look at the networking or professional groups you belong to. Are the people there earning what you want to be earning? Are they delivering the kind of service you want to deliver to your customers? Are they talking about big ideas and exciting plans? If not, you may want to reconsider your association. Find groups with members who are more in tune with what you aspire to.

3. Instill a sense of urgency in yourself and the people with whom you work. Mañana is a fine word if you’re vacationing in Mexico. However, when you’re working toward a goal, today is almost always a better time to do something than tomorrow. Maybe you know someone who is always “meaning” to get to something. A while back I’d been talking to a potential business partner for almost six months. She was a good person and well intentioned. But, every time I called her to see when I could expect samples, pricing, etc., I heard “I’ve been meaning to do that. I had it scheduled for Tuesday and then this happened and then that happened and blah blah blah.” As much as I needed to partner with someone who had the capabilities and equipment she had, I finally decided that this relationship was never going to work for me. Amazingly, as soon as I made that decision, another, better, potential partner came into the picture.

When it really matters to you that the marketing letter gets written and mailed today vs. next week or whether you make the phone calls or finish the project when you said you would, you automatically get more done. A sense of urgency makes you more productive.

3.5. As a follow up to the previous tip, it’s important to know what not to do today as well. Many of you are like I am and have a long list of things to do; things that will take much more time than is available in one day. You aspire to excellence and it’s frustrating to leave things undone. But realize and accept that there will always be tasks that you cannot get to. It’s a matter of prioritization. Get done the projects that are most important – the ones that bring you the most benefit, the ones that are worthy of the value of your time.

Put these ideas to work today and start seeing improvement in your productivity, your results and your income.