Productivity isn’t a measurement of the quantity of work done. That isn’t productivity. It’s efficiency at best, and busyness at worst. Productivity is measured by the value and quality of the outcome you produce. If you want to be more productive now, this is how:
Do What Is Most Important:
You undoubtedly have hundreds of tasks you could be completing. Some of them are important; many of them may be urgent. Most of them are not important enough that you have to do something about them right now, and even less are so urgent that they can’t wait 90 minutes for your attention.
Being productive means doing what is most important. This means that being productive requires you to make a values-based decision: “What is the most important outcome I need to generate?” By moving from tasks to a higher value, most of what shows up on your to-do list can put in perspective. If you forgot to buy dog food, you can still feed your dog. If you didn’t write the client proposal for the client whose business could change your results and those of your company, you have made a mistake.
Do One Thing to Completion:
Productivity will elude you if you can’t give yourself over to some task for longer periods of time. You have to give what is most important your time and your focused attention.
Most of the most important and meaningful work you need to do will not be completed in a single day or a single 90-minute block of work. But if you don’t string together a number of 90-minute blocks to knock out big chunks of your major projects, you will take longer to complete that work, and the work will not be your very best.
Three 90-minute blocks a day can transform your results and your productive output. Taking the time to do one thing to completion allows you to be productive—even if the rest of the day is consumed with work that requires you to be responsive to the needs of others.
Make Time to Make Decisions:
There is one other thing you have to do to be productive. You have to make choices about the work you are going to do and when you are going to do it. This isn’t about time management. These decisions are value-based decisions, and they take more time and area greater cognitive load. This is because you are making trade-offs.
You have to decide that “this” is more important than “that.” You are not only deciding what gets done, you are also deciding what doesn’t get done. You are not only choosing when something gets done, you are also choosing when something else doesn’t get done. It takes time and thoughtful preparation to be able to be productive in a world that increasingly interrupts you.
Not everything can be the most important thing you have to do, and not everything you can do should be done at all, let alone right now.
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