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A Different Way to Look at Productivity

High Performance Habit #4: Increase Your Productivity 

Click here to listen to this as a podcast! 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing facets of the 6 high performance habits. They are the result of surveys and research done on the most successful people in the world by Brendon Burchard and the High Performance Academy. Even if your goal isn’t to be the head of a Fortune 500 company, these habits still hold immense value for all of us. The fourth habit, increasing productivity, is a favorite of my coaching clients and the one I’m talking about today. After all, who doesn’t want to get more done? 

Being Productive Shouldn’t Add More to Your Plate

Today, I want to invite you to look at the definition of productivity differently; it isn’t about doing more, but doing more to reach your goals. I’m sure most people would prefer to start here, but you really do need to be working on the first three habits (Finding Clarity, Generating Energy, and Raising Necessity). Because if you aren’t, you’ll just end up with more on your calendar and more to do. The type of productivity I’m sharing here is about doing the things that matter the most, and skipping the rest where you can. 

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? So why are most people feeling like they aren’t productive enough, and feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting it all done? A big one is that we simply feel like we have too much to do, and don’t know how to prioritize our tasks. This is because we are focusing on the tasks themselves, rather than the goals we have and the steps needed to get us there. 

Using Your Goals to Increase Your Productivity

You need to use your energy and time efficiently in order to be productive, and your goals are the roadmap. I usually have only one major goal that I’m working on, which is a short term goal that supports one of my ten ten-year dreams. Any more than that, and I start to feel scattered. 

To make this work for you, I want you to choose one major goal you have, and then write down three projects that you’re working on that support it. Be tough on yourself, and choose only two or three. This allows you to focus your energy in these areas, rather than all over the place, making half-steps towards vague results. Then, once you complete a project, you can celebrate your success and add a new project in. 

Next, figure out what the five major moves are to complete each project. Finally, list out the tasks required for each move. I’m not a fan of never-ending to-do lists that keep growing, which is why this is different. You have a list of a finite number of tasks, and you get to cross them off as you accomplish them. You’ll feel like you’re gaining momentum (because you are), and when the list is complete you’ll have achieved something much bigger. 

The final step is to schedule time in your calendar to work on your projects. On Sunday, you choose three tasks to finish by Friday, and write them in your planner. You even get bonus points for having an accountability partner to keep you on track. Like I shared in last week’s blog, being accountable to someone else is a great way to raise the necessity of your goals. This is why a mastermind group like my Extraordinary Life Tribe can be so helpful, and is why productivity is considered a social habit at the High Performance Academy. 

How I’m Being Productive in My Business

To help you envision how this might work for you, I’m going to share an example from my own goals. 

My Three Major Projects

The three major projects that I've been working on over the past six months are in support of my goal to inspire more women to work towards their goals and dreams. Specifically, I want to enroll more women in my group coaching program so that I can work with them more personally, and they get to be part of a super-supportive community. 

  1. The first of the three projects is to redo my website. I want it to more accurately reflect what I do, how I help people, and showcase the programs I offer. I also wanted to reformat my blog. 
  2. The second project was to turn my live Design Your Decade workshop into a mini-program that people could do on their own. This eliminated the worry of conflicting time zones or participants fitting the workshop into their calendar. 
  3. The third project was to create a podcast. It was on my “someday” list, but it became a “now” project when the platform I’m hosting my soon-to-be website and programs on offered a new feature of hosting podcasts. I was already updating my blog and doing videos, so it seemed like a no-brainer. I’m happy to say, I’ve achieved this project now, too. 

Those were my three projects, and I wrote down the five big moves to accomplish them, along with the specific tasks for each. I’m not going to go into excruciating detail with you, but I will share the five moves I chose to get my podcast going, since I’ve happily crossed it off the list. 

The 5 Moves To Finish One Project

Here are the five major moves I chose to create The Extraordinary Life Podcast

  1. Get clear on the theme for the podcast, and decide on how often to publish the episodes.
  2. Each week, decide what I’d talk about, write the outline, and record the episode. 
  3. Get an intro and outro made for the podcast. I decided to get a professional to do this, because they add the music and everything. 
  4. Get the cover art made.
  5. Put the intro, episode, and outro together for the first episode, so I could publish it and get it accepted to iTunes, Spotify, and Google podcasts. 

When choosing which tasks to do first for each “move”, I prioritized the things I thought would take longest, especially if I had to rely on others to accomplish them. For example, I had to schedule a photoshoot to take new pictures of myself for the website and podcast cover art. It didn’t take a lot of effort on my part, but it did take about two months from when I made the photo appointment to when I received the pictures. 

Why This Process Increases Productivity

When you are reading through these steps, it probably sounds like a lot to do. In reality, you only make the lists once, and maybe tweak them along the way. Then you are freed up from deciding what to do every day. If you’re clear on your goals, your major moves, and your tasks, you can schedule the time and just get it done. 

This also helps your productivity for the times when something else comes up that isn’t in support of one of your projects. Then you can have a long look at whether it’s really necessary for you to do it, if someone else could do it just as easily, or even if it's important for it to be done at all. There’s no need to be overwhelmed with options when you have a focus in mind. 

Fitting New Projects Into Your Life

This exact situation happened to me recently, when I was asked to coach my son’s mountain bike team. Before I said “yes”, I had to consider if it supports any of my ten dreams for ten years. Spending time with my son definitely fits in there, and I want to be a role model for women and young women in the sport of cycling. It also would support my goal to be fit and healthy. So, the answer was a “yes”, and making the commitment fit into my schedule because the first of my five big moves to make this project happen. The others were:

  • Sign up for the coaching clinics to become a certified mountain biking coach.
  • Schedule time to ride my bike more often, so I have a reasonable amount of fitness when the season starts.
  • Schedule the team rides into my calendar.
  • Schedule bike maintenance (or pass it to my husband!) so I don’t get stuck on a mountain somewhere.  

This step-by-step approach made integrating the potentially overwhelming task of mountain bike coaching simple. It aligns with what I want for my life, I created a plan, and scheduled the action steps. 

Now that you can see productivity from a different point of view, you can see how it is such an important habit. This has been just a start, and in further posts I’ll be sharing how to increase your productivity and how to avoid distractions. Until then, I’d love for you to try this method and let me know how it works for you and your goals.

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