It's Tuesday at 2:00pm! (PST Time: I live and work from Los Angeles)
This past week I helped host a Non-Profit Roundtable Workshop that focused an PROBLEM SOLVING and PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY. It got me thinking about how I manage my "leadership life", so I thought we could take some time to learn together and encourage each other with productivity lessons we've learned over time.
I love the answer to this question: Why is personal productivity important?
"Because it allows you to either accomplish more things int he same amount of time, or accomplish the same amount of things in less time (whichever is more important for you). It also gives you the feeling of being in control of your own time and by extension, of your own life."
When I search for help with personal productivity, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of information there is: tips, tools, apps, ideas. It's a little crazy.
So let's make this simple: Think of the ONE Personal Productivity TIP that has made the biggest impact in your life, and share about it in 200 words or less. We'll then learn collectively from each other, but these are proven things that have actually made a difference in our lives.
I'll start today by sharing one of my most significant today to start the conversation: (I'll use about 400 words today!)
Stephen R. Covey asks in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peoplethese 2 questions:
1) What one thing could you do (you aren't doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?
2) What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?
When I first read this years ago, I didn't know what that would be. I then began a journey with Covey's Habit of "Putting First Things First", and it's become one of the most significant things that has helped my leadership and productivity.
Covey talks about QUADRANT II LEADERSHIP. (see the model)
The idea is simple:
- Identify things that are URGENT and IMPORTANT: You HAVE to do those things.
- Identify things that are IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT: This is where your greatest impact comes from
- Identify the things you're doing that are NOT IMPORTANT, and decide what you'll do and won't do.
This is all about time management, about priorities, and about focusing on the things that will make the biggest impact. Covey would teach that Quadrant II has the greatest return in that you're being proactive, you're sharpening the saw and you're focused on relationships. This is where great leaders spend as much time as possible.
When I studied this principle, it changed the way I managed my schedule, and it helped me realize that I have a lot of control over where I spend my time.
Covey also talked about the power of learning to say NO to things. I used to be flattered by new opportunities and I would say yes to everything. Then I learned that when I said NO to "good things", I would then be able to say YES to "great things". (Click HERE for a great post by Git)
Out of this came my calendar planning which includes making appointments with myself each week to focus on priority projects and the most important things. I've been doing that for years and years and if you look at my calendar today, you'll see "blocks" of time that is set aside for things that are priority in my life and leadership. I learned this from Covey.
Bob Shank taught me about TIME LEADERSHIP (I wrote this post 3 years ago).
Shank talks about FOCUS TIME, BUFFER TIME, and SABBATH TIME. Focus Time is my blocks. Buffer Time is when I respond to others and Sabbath is the time I spend feeding my soul.
Learning to manage my TIME and make good choices has made me more productive. I don't always succeed, but it's a work in progress.
What has made the biggest impact on your productivity? Share it with us...
"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically - to say 'NO' to other things." Stephen R Covey