Guest Blog Post: Written by Machen P. MacDonald
Are you caught in the busy trap? Do you wonder, at the end of the day, what you actually got accomplished? You know you were mega busy and worked harder than those around you. You may have even checked off a couple of items from your to do list; even the ones you wrote down after you completed the task. Those count too. However, were you productive?
If you are like most people, you have either forgotten or never realized that things like voicemail, email, skype, PDAs (Personal digital assistant) , even facebook, linkedin and twitter are tools for your convenience and efficiency; not the other way around. Somehow they have crept in to your life without you even being aware of how to really leverage them for your productivity and efficiency. Each of those is a tool in the physical environment within which you work or operate. The trick is to learn how to set up your physical environment as well as the tools themselves to serve you.
You want to learn how to respond to the alerts and information contained in those tools rather than react to them.
I use the following formula: Set Intentions – Pay Attention – Feel Less Tension.
First – Create a Ta-Da List. (Set your Intentions) Become very clear on what your goals or key objectives are for the day. Determine what 3-6 action items you want to make sure you get accomplished by the end of the day in order to feel productive. These are usually tied to a larger goal , project or mission. Get clear on what you can affect today toward the achievement of the bigger objective. Visualize what your experience will be at the end of the day having accomplished those action items successfully.
Second – Create a Not-To-Do List. (Pay Attention) It is just as important to recognize what the distractions or obstacles to achieving those action items will look like when they show up. They are usually cleverly disguised as emergencies or ultra urgent items. Here is the news flash – they come in the form of email, voicemail, and flawed or outdated to do lists in PDAs. Essentially a distraction or obstacle is any interruption to our productive work flow. Typically these could have easily been avoided with some prior planning. Take a few minutes each morning to identify what the potential distractions may look like before they come hurling at you. This will enable you to be able to limit, eliminate or at least recognize them when they show up and not experience such an emotional charge around them. You’ll see them as distractions and step aside and let them go by you versus making the mistake of trying to square up and tackle it on the spot. This will free up your bandwidth to stay focused on what must be done to move toward success.
Third – Notice Your Wins. (Feel Less Tension) Somewhere between diapers and getting our business cards printed we forgot the art of celebrating our wins. We became too cool for school and conditioned ourselves to notice all the stuff we don’t do well or could have done better instead of all the stuff we are doing well. I am here to challenge you to start noticing and yes, even celebrating your wins throughout your day. You will feel better about yourself and what you are doing. When you feel better you act better and when you act better you get better results. It’s an upward spiral. The better it gets, the better it gets. This is experiencing less tension. Imagine what you could actually accomplish if you experienced no stress. It’s a lot better than the downward spiral most people operate within that winds them so tight they eventually snap or blow a tube. So, to start with, just notice then when you are ready celebrate.
Make it up, make it fun, make it happen!
About Machen MacDonald: