We seem to ignore some of the simplest things in life. In our quest to achieve something, we are constantly trying and searching for the most effective way to tackle a problem.
For some reason, we hold the notion that anything priced high is good, anything complicated is better and anything simple is just low on quality or isn’t as effective.This is far from true, and the same rule applies to productivity, as well.
Productivity sprouts from within us. It’s the approach we take that determines how effective we are in letting the productivity inside of us, out.
Reading tons of books, following TV shows and other forms of information on productivity will only do so much, until you realize the three core things that makes your productivity run full blast:
You can read as many books on productivity and as many articles as you want. Productivity isn’t about knowing what to do, but how to do things.
The three key steps to productivity are – Priority, Goals and Actions. One without the others is helpless and of no significance.
First Step – Priorities
The first step to productivity is knowing and setting your priorities straight. What holds the highest priority in your life – the six figure income or your family?
I hope most of you answered family. Without priorities we cannot achieve anything because there are no set guidelines for us to follow in terms of importance.
Priorities set the basis or the foundation for the productive capability in us. We hear the goal setting time after time but we often forget to set priorities.
Goal setting can’t be as effective without this first step, and we will talk more about that as we move along.
Setting priorities in what we do and what we need to do gives us a sense of what’s more important. Think of it like checking our email.
When we check our emails, there are certain emails that need immediate attention and some we save for later. Without taking this necessary action while checking our messages, our productivity declines because we are not prioritizing what’s important.
As a result, we are losing time which in turn is a loss in productivity.
Things in life need to be prioritized. Family, Work, Side Career, everything needs to fall in place in terms of importance. This is when we are ready to move along towards the second step.
Second Step – Goals
Goals Setting (Not ‘Goal Setting’) is the second step to productivity. I say “ Goals Setting” and not “Goal Setting” because we need to have multiple goals to become productive and effective in what we do.
Everything we do has an effect on something else. If we set a “goal” we might be able to achieve that but it might cause an adverse effect on something else.
Before you set a goal to achieve, remember there is an effect once it is achieved on other things. The best strategy to achieve your goals is to see beforehand what the cause and effects are.
Before you make a goal of making a million dollars within a year, you need to realize what you are going to have to sacrifice.
For example: would you be willing to sacrifice your relationship with your spouse, who won’t be spending any time with you during this period?
Remember to prioritize your goals. In this case, the goals would be: “make a million dollars this year and take 2 days off each week to spend with my wife”.
The cause and effect: you made a million dollars with your hard work and determination and your wife is still happy because you made the money and you still gave her the attention she deserved.
Goals setting helps you become productive by allowing you to divide your productivity. Well-divided time and well thought out goals while keeping a realistic view of the future is the key towards success and productivity itself.
Setting a goal will allow you to become productive and effective in one dimension of life while having multiple goals will allow you to take it to the next level.
Third Step – Action
The third and the final step to productivity is taking appropriate action towards your priorities and goals. Each of these 3 steps are of equal importance and one without the other will only cripple the entire process.
It’s like a bicycle without handlebars: you can sit and still ride it but it sure is difficult to steer it in the right direction.
Actions should be well planned out. Once we have set our priorities and goals we need to analyze the implementation in order to make it as effective as possible.
One of the biggest challenge in being productive is never taking the necessary action to get the results. One of the main reasons most of us aren’t as productive as we could be is because we tend to brainstorm, find ideas, set priorities and when it comes to taking action we simply give up!
Our actions might gain us the results that we hope for or it might not. The main thing to do is take action first. Franklin D. Roosevelt put this very well in his quote:
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
In the end, productivity comes down to taking action. So go ahead and make that leap and give it a try. You might get what you hoped for, and if you don’t, you at least know you gave it a shot.
Feel free to add more steps to productivity in your comments or share some with us. The other way to assure productivity is to learn from each other and apply it effectively, why not start it right here in the comment section.