As a growing business leader, you've learned just how much every minute counts. All too often we get caught up in our busyness and before you know it we're off track, behind on our work & we've lost our early energy and enthusiasm to get things done. Has this happened to you recently?
Did you have to rush to finish that key proposal?
Do you catch yourself wasting a lot of time and energy answering to other people's agendas (e-mails)?
Let's take a deeper look into how you can increase productivity, build momentum and make every month meaningful.
What's your destination?
What happens to the direction of your life and business when you are head down working towards key milestones, creating new tools & good content, servicing your clients, and running the day to day operations?
What happens to your priorities when new opportunities arise, new learning strikes a creative cord and new connections ignite whole new possibilities?
What happens to your focus & attention when the family is demanding your time, friends are tugging at your tail for a weekend getaway or a local charity organization is asking for your assistance?
Are you still on the initial path you chose at the beginning of it all or even last week? How do you know if you’re still headed down the right path?
That’s where your calendar is so important. It's easy to load your schedule with things to do so you stay busy and feel productive (feeling not behavior). We all can find a laundry list of items to fill time. But, are you really progressing in a meaningful direction?
I'm talking about a purposeful perspective of your year, quarter, month, week and day. Being mindful of your direction, clearing the clutter, building upon your progress and consistently reflecting & re-evaluating your path can lead to massive productivity and progress.
Mapping it out
High focus, enthusiastic energy, and productivity come down to clearing your calendar of doing extra work you shouldn't be doing, minimizing time on less important things and avoiding being pulled in the wrong direction, away from priorities.
In fact, this is monumental for minimizing procrastination, distraction and ultimately failure. Believe me, I've pretty much become an expert at learning this the hard way. Here's a quick checklist to help keep you from being "busy" and instead of staying focused on and achieving meaningful milestones:
- Final Destination- you hear it all too often, but it's true...if you don't know where you're going you will have a long & tough road getting there. It is worth taking your time to chisel away any excess and define with explicit clarity what your dream job, home and life look like. A clear vision, mission, purpose, and goals allow you to better recognize resourceful opportunities and avoid the wrong ones along your journey.
- Mind Dump- get all of your ideas, possibilities, obstacles, and responsibilities out of your head. Spend a few minutes each day or every few days to clear your mind clutter. Instead of holding on to thoughts write them down. This improves awareness, focus & concentration on your most important tasks instead of juggling all these thoughts in your mind.
- Classify Clutter- once it's all on paper it's time to define what's resourceful, what's not right now and what's trash. Begin to segment your list into categories such as creative ideas, important items, out of my control, delegation, and others. This transforms your thoughts, ideas, and responsibilities in your head into tangible or doable tasks so you can better manage them.
- Build Momentum- instantly schedule the most important & resourceful items from your list. You may have heard other experts call it putting the "big rocks" on your calendar first. I call it "time mapping". When you set the most meaningful "destinations" into your calendar first, you are literally creating the yellow brick road to success. The completion of each one of these helps get you another step closer, creates confidence (if consistent) and you'll be blazing your own path to peace of mind, profits and purpose without wasted time, money & energy.
- Monthly Maintenance- at minimum do a periodic monthly check up on yourself. Is your mind, body, and planning up to par? Ask yourself what's working and what is not in these areas & others. Keep what's working and continue to streamline it and either categorize what's not or trash it. We're quick to throw away what's not working. Instead, think would this be better in another context or maybe in the future. This can be very valuable because you won't completely waste work you've already done by using it in future projects.
It's easy to get caught up in things, your business becomes a mess of half finished projects, home seems to run together with work and at the end of the week, month or quarter you find yourself thoroughly disappointed starting from point A all over again.
Don't get caught stalled on the side of the path YOU were supposed to blaze.
What methods or resources do you use to organize your calendar, build momentum and stay on track? (Please share in the comments below.)
Until next time. Be bold,