Recently I tuned into a webinar hosted by Entrepreneur discussing tips and tools surrounding productivity as shared by some top-tier leaders in the industry. Normally, I might turn a blind eye to something like this as I tend to consider myself a pretty productive person working at a lifestyle public relations firm. By that, I mean that I finish my tasks on time and by end of day and feel that I have a good grasp on how to manage my time to be the most productive. However, in attending this seminar my perspective on productivity completely changed and I left with the conclusion that productivity isn’t about weighing how much you get done but more what items you aren’t getting done.
We are all guilty of signing off on a good day by finishing all of your tasks before 6 pm, but, what we forget to heavily analyze is the quality of that work. A key item to note is that productivity can be defined by the marriage of intention and attention. Putting this into perspective brings up the question, what NEEDS to get done, not how MUCH. When you feel that time is not in your favor, the easy way out is to rush through a task just to have the satisfaction of marking it off. However, this creates a time-based mindset in all your activities. In retrospect, to maximize your productivity efforts one needs to embody a task-based mindset based on a sense of urgency. A good step in this direction would be to initially conduct a self-assessment, make a list of your daily tasks and pinpoint those action words that commonly appear. Once noted, recognize that these are your overarching priorities that should be broken down into digestible chunks that can be zoned in a deep work type of setting to really create work of value which in the long run is more beneficial.
Another important note that I took away from the seminar was the importance of really taking note of what you are and aren’t doing on a daily basis. A best practice to set this into motion can be embarking on the habit of journaling your actions on a daily basis vs. drafting your typical task-based list. Aside from your actions, don’t be afraid to also take note of your emotions at play. Did that task stress you out or do you feel accomplished? After a day’s work, you can start to pick up habits on the tasks that empowered you vs. weakened your work mode. Start to note and partake in the actions that will get you closer to your goals instead of stressing over time-sensitive matters. Every 2 weeks, go back and review your entries to see what has worked and how you’ve progressed with specific projects on your list. For example, working at in public relations and digital marketing, your daily tasks can change in a matter of seconds. Ask yourself, what items do have a true sense of urgency (i.e. a crisis, time-sensitive announcement, high priority initiative, etc.) vs. the time-sensitive tasks that cut off your main priorities (i.e. call agenda, monthly meeting, etc.).
Final thought for your own journaling: When you have too many top proprieties you effectively have no priorities.