After years of studying productivity, I came to the realization that productivity boiled down into simple steps that guided the teaching of several authorities in the field. These steps are essentially the principles behind productivity. Utilize the following steps and incorporate the principles into your work life to see your, productivity increase, your stress decrease and the work quality and production speed skyrocket. The Four Steps to Productivity are: 1. Identify 2. Select 3. Plan 4. Execute Keep reading to see a breakdown of each step and tips for applying it to your work life. 1. Identify - This stage is all about figuring out "what". It is IMPOSSIBLE to be productive without having a goal. The first step to doing the RIGHT things is to figuring out what your goal is and what you are trying to accomplish. Tips for utilizing the Identify Step:
Get clear on the goal you are trying to achieve BEFORE you start working.
Write out your workplace goals/KPI's and place them somewhere you can see them everyday
Remember: Productivity without a goal is IMPOSSIBLE
2. Select - This stage is about Selecting and Prioritizing the tasks that will lead to the completion of your goals. A common oversight is that if you work long enough or hard enough you will accomplish your desired outcome. This is false. The only way you will process towards your goals is to work on tasks associated with its completion. Tips for utilizing the Select step:
Break your goals down. Don't allow your goals to be amorphous. Breaking them down into tasks gives you concrete direction.
You don't need to do EVERYTHING! Focus on doing the right (most important) things first!
Get in the habit of asking yourself, "What is ONE small thing I can do right now to move me closer to my goal's completion?"
3. Plan - The stage is about telling your time where to go instead of wondering where it went. Trying to "find time" is sure-fire way to waste it. Select WHAT you need to work on and then Plan a time to work on it. The things that get scheduled are the things that get done. Tips for utilizing the Plan step:
Don't waste your mornings! Get your largest, most difficult task done as early in your workday as possible!
Keep your Time Blocks (time designated to work on tasks) 45min-90min long. This gives you enough time to "settle" into your work while also not working too long without a break.
Make sure you are taking breaks after every work session or when you feel your focus slipping. This will help to keep you mentally fresh and engaged.
4. Execute - The final stage is about HOW you can produce at your peak potential everytime your work. This boils down into two practices: Defeating Distractions and Single Tasking. Both will ensure that you maintain your focus while working which will usher in a "flow state" or state of high performance. Tips for Implementing the Execute step:
The level of attention and focus you can maintain while working on a project is directly proportional to the level of your potential you can express in it. This means the more you can work without distraction, the better you can perform.
Multitasking is the Devil and true multitasking is physically impossible. Work on one thing at a time.
Keep a notepad close so you can capture things that need to remember while working on something else.
Use the above tips next time you work and let me know how it goes!
P.S. If you'd like help integrating the 4 Steps to Productivity into your work life, check out my FREE Scheduling Your Productivity Course!