Performance Success Factor: Schedule Time To Focus on the Big Picture
Pareto’s Principle and Stephen Covey’s Quadrant II principle, as recorded in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, dictate that the most highly valuable and important use of our time comes in the form of 20% of our activities. And part of that most important 20% comes from doing what is important, but not necessarily urgent. Here are some questions to ask yourself about this tip:
- Am I taking time to focus on my relationships with the most important people in my life, including my business, my customers, my family, my best friends?
- Am I taking time to clarify my personal mission statement and my personal goals?
Performance Success Factor: Get Rid of Multi-Tasking
I am as guilty of this as the rest of you. But, as Douglas Merrill, former CIO for Google states,
“Clowns can ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls. These are role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases, multitasking=lesstasking. When you make those shifts from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, maximize brain power!”
Here are some suggestions to reduce multi-tasking and increase focus:
- Think of all the time that you want to spend relaxing, being on vacation, or spending time with your loved ones. Let that motivate you to work the whole time you are at work. The more you get done by focusing with single-minded purpose, the more time you will have to relax away from work.
- If you are weaning yourself off of multi-tasking, try the following exercise: set your timer (I use the free one from e.ggtimer.com) for 25 minutes and work on the most important task on your to-do list. At the end of 25 minutes, take a 5 minute stretch break. Work for another 25 minutes straight, followed by another 5 minute break. Then again. Then, on after the third set of segmented shorter cycles, reward yourself with 10-15 minutes’ break.
- Promise yourself a reward such as a bite of a cookie, or a sip of your cup of coffee. I think you get the picture 🙂 But remember: you need to finish one of your 25 minute stretches first.
Performance Success Factor: Always Save Time to Exercise
Working out clears the mind of mental stress build up that occurs throughout the day. Mike Cassidy, CEO of travel and tour site Ruba, makes it a point to work out almost every single day. When colleagues or employees approach him for a non work-related meeting, he suggests that they work out with him. He then eats lunch at his desk.
Performance Success Factor: Review Your Productivity at the End of the Day
This quote is from Bob Compton, CEO at Vontoo.
“The most difficult aspect of being a CEO is you driving your day, and not letting the day drive you. By looking through tasks each morning and resolving to allocate the time to concentrate on the CEO priorities, the actions only the CEO can take to move the company forward, you can keep your eye on moving the company forward. At the end of the day, I always checked whether I had taken action on my top three priorities. If the answer was “no,” I stayed in the office until I made progress on them.”
How can you apply this to your life as an employee or as a small business owner?
- Do you know what your own company or department’s mission and vision is for the year? What is the operational plan? If you don’t know it, you better find out! Schedule a 15 minute meeting with your boss to find out.
- After this, work on your performance plan, figure out your how you can formulate goals that will help you improve your performance and at the same time help your department meet it’s goals for the operational plan.
How can you apply this to your personal life?
- Do you know what your personal mission in life is? If not, take the time to figure it out!
- Do you know what your top 10 goals for the year are? If not, take the time to figure them out!
- Once you have figured out your personal mission and your goals, review them at the end of the day to see whether you have taken steps toward any one of them.
- Better yet, review your mission and goals at the beginning of the day, and take at least 3 actions toward those goals during the day. Work on action #1. Keep working at it. If you don’t get done, at least you will know that you got a very significant activity going. The next day, keep working at #1 until you finish. Then go to #2. And so on. By being this purposeful about your day, you will be sure to stay on target, just as a sea captain of old stayed the course by keeping his navigation system fixed on the North Star.
What have you found helpful in your quest to be more productive in a meaningful way? I hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know your thoughts!
photo credit: com2us