- Do you work late night and weekends, and feel guilty that you’re not spending more time with your family, or simply having some fun?
- Are you frequently overwhelmed or discouraged with your progress?
- Do you find “to do’s” in your office when the time to do them is long gone?
- Are you frequently starting new things, but not finishing them?
- Do you spend the majority of your time doing things you dislike?
I’ve always said that what I teach my clients I’ve learned from experience. What I want to share with you this here certainly comes in that category. I’ve recently gone through a major restructuring of my company – to a large extent because I answered “Yes” to the questions above! Based on my experience, here are five simple (Notice I didn’t say “easy!”) steps to help you significantly increase your productivity and decrease your stress:
- Set aside time to identify what really matters to you in life. As the old saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” Many of us are like ducks swimming across the water – we look calm, but underneath we’re paddling like crazy – and going in circles! It takes real courage to stop long enough to assess your current situation. An important priority in my life is health – but you certainly couldn’t tell it by the way I’ve been living my life. I started exercising several years ago, but now I’ve blocked out time for educating myself about natural healing, and am taking advantage of services offered by natural health providers.
- Figure out what it is you do best and spend the majority of your time doing it. There are a variety of companies that offer services to help you identify your strengths. I’ve taken most of them – and many just left me more confused. One I found particularly helpful can be found at www.kolbe.com or check out the free assessment available at www.GetMotivatedBook.com. With websites, a world economy, and virtual technology, the possibilities for hiring or subcontracting people to do what you don’t do best is limitless. Sure it takes time to train someone else, but if you don’t, you’ll be limiting the time you have for what you want to do. As a child I remember seeing an old Burma Shave sign: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for next 30 miles.”
- Make your home and office a place where you can accomplish your work and enjoy your day. My passion is helping people create and sustain what I can a “productive environment” — an intentional setting in which everything around you supports who you are and who you want to be. Look around your environment. How does it make you feel? If it’s anything negative, you can’t afford it! Here’s my mantra: Have nothing which you do not know to be useful, think to be beautiful, or love. In your office, does everything support serving your customers or increasing your income? If not, you can’t afford it!
- Use technology tools to streamline your life. Growing up on the farm in Nebraska, my daddy always said “Half of any job is having the right tool.” Actually it’s more than having it — it’s using it! Sometimes it can be something quite simple — I recently threw out a can opener that caused me to spill something every time I used it. Other times it’s more major. A few years ago I converted to a MacBook Air. I have admired Apple products for years, but didn’t purchase one because most of my clients were Windows-based. With the advent of cloud-computer and a change in my role in the company, that was no longer an option. My productivity has increased and my stress level has decreased significantly!
- Every time you think “I need (or want) to …” continue on by asking “What is the NEXT action?” and “When?” If it is just one task, make an appointment with yourself to do it. (Isn’t is amazing how great we are at doing what other people ask of us, and keep procrastinating about what we need or want to do for ourselves?) What tool do you use? Your calendar is certainly an option. I like to use my SwiftFile which sits on my desk, and when I travel I carry the individual folders for the days I am on the road with me. It ensures that nothing falls through the cracks because I forgot! If it is a major project, break it down into tasks which you can track. If the project has a deadline, start at the end and work backwards.
And here’s a bonus tip:
Continually ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time right now?” and encourage everyone around you to do the same. If you’re not sure what is the best use of your time, fill out the Productive Environment Scorecard at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com for your free 30-minute phone consultation.
Barbara Hemphill is a Nationally known Productivity Expert, helping people eliminate the physical, digital, and emotional clutter that prevents them for accomplishing their work and enjoying their lives! To book Barbara as your next Keynote Speaker or Seminar/Workshop Presenter: contact Sue Falcone at 1-888-766-3155 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.