Ruthlessly Prioritize. Should It Even Be Done?
“For many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.” – Vilfredo ParetoA large part of getting things done is having the time to get things done effectively vs. efficiently. Rather than efficiently completing tasks that won’t move the needle, and before adding anything to your to-do list, ask yourself these four questions to manage commitments like Mikaela Kiner’s, CEO of uniquelyHR:
- Is this piece of work urgent, or can it wait (a week, a month, a quarter)?
- If I take it on, do I need to delay something else?
- Am I the best person to do the work, or can I delegate?
- If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?
Ideally, if you can ask them each time before adding a task to your to-do list, you’ll shrink your quantity of tasks while maintaining quality.Once you’ve properly prioritized…
Use Sunday as a Meeting Double-Check
We’ve already discussed how much time is wasted on meetings, and Nathan Latka, CEO of Heyo and Host of #1 ranked business podcast by Inc, The Top, has an interesting solution
Use FRED to Help You Constantly Improve Production
Sarah Tourville, CEO of Media Frenzy Global, has an interesting framework she calls FRED:
- Focus. In the evening [the day before] list 5 key action items for the day. Get the first action completed first thing the next morning.
- Relax. Stress, anxiety and anger show in your body language and will negatively affect your team.
- Entirety. Only do things that help drive you towards the bigger, complete picture. (But we’ve already taken care of this in the earlier steps… right?)
- Double Check. Think about what you could have done differently and what you’ll improve tomorrow.
But getting things done isn’t just about prioritization, sometimes we need motivation and should…
Follow Richard Branson’s Top Productivity Tip: Exercise
During one of the most heralded tips of increasing productivity, it’s also one of the most overlooked. For decades, we’ve been bombarded with people telling us we should work out for health. Recently, however, I’ve found that short, high-weight but low-intensity workouts increase productivity by 30-60 percent. Just pick a few exercises you like, get 3 sets of 3 high-weight reps (about 95 percent of your maximum for one rep), with a 5 minute break in-between and you’ll be good to go – in under 20 minutes.
Overcome the Start of a Working Session With a 5-Minute Promise
When it comes to getting things done, whether it’s writing a blog post (ironically, I had a hard time getting started on this one) or making 48 follow-up emails like Steli Efti of close.io, you need to gain some initial momentum. That’s why I liked the next suggestion from Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands:
Learn to Induce Flow With Neuroscience-Based Music
You know when you get “in the zone,” when work just flows out of you and your productivity soars? Unfortunately, “The average business person spends less than 5 percent of their day in the flow,” says Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance. But inducing a state of flow is easier than you’d think and by far the most valuable trick I’ve learned.
Scare Yourself Motivated With the Fast-Forward
Want to get really motivated? Picture yourself a year from now if you don’t get productive. At least, that’s what Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, suggests:
Gamify Work by Rewarding Positive Productivity
While the term gamification has become a bit trite in the last few years, the premise hasn’t. At its core, gamification is creating a system of rewards to hook people into a structured game. So “why can’t it also work for our minds?” Adam Greenbaum, CEO of Greenbaum Digital, asked.Good question.
Get an Accountability Coach Already
Ok, perhaps not a unique tip. It is, however, one that I waited 30 years to implement.If you’ve never had an accountability coach, it’s amazing how much positive pressure they can impart to help drive success.For instance, do you know how hard it is to get on a weekly call and say “I haven’t accomplished anything”? Gut-wrenching. Thankfully David Scarola, Vice President of The Alternative Board, reminded us of this tip and followed it up with some of The Alternative Board’s data:
If You Can’t Come Up With a Good Idea, Brainstorm a Bad One
When it comes to writer’s block, Jeff Goins, author of the bestselling book The Art of Work, says “You overcome writer’s block by writing.” In a similar vein, you overcome a brainstorming block by brainstorming. So put something down, even if it’s a bad idea. It’s quite common that by trying to come up with a bad idea you’ll quickly come up with good ones.