Bill Cole, MS, MA Founder and CEO William B. Cole Consultants Silicon Valley, California
What rating would you give yourself on personal productivity? Do you have a systematic plan for improving your effectiveness in your daily work? Super achieving business people and athletes know what it takes to motivate themselves, maintain focus in the face of obstacles and drive forward to the completion of their vision and dreams. They take charge of their work by being aware of their personal patterns of behavior and by then adjusting and experimenting with new ways of being.
Imagine if you could quickly recover from fatigue, mental setbacks, surprise problems, overloaded task lists, not enough time and all else that can stand in your way from working near optimum levels. Top achievers begin the process by carefully noting what is and what is not in their control. They then ONLY focus on those things over which they have control and let go of those things which are out of their control. If you list all the things you must do in a day and all the roadblocks that might fall in your way, you will quickly realize that the only thing you have true control over is...yourself.
So to improve productivity and effectiveness, begin by focusing on yourself. Focus on your attitude, your thoughts, how you feel, how you react to problems, how you prepare to succeed, how you review your performance and how you set and go after realizing your goals. Let's look at the superachiever's tips for improving personal effectiveness.
1. Review your major values and life goals daily. Use this as a springboard for heightening motivation and for building focus that can carry you through your day.
2. Plan your work and then work your plan. This is an old bromide, but it contains simple wisdom. You have to know where you want to go before you get there. Be clear about what you want to accomplish the night before or in the morning and then execute your plan.
3. Remember, "Mile by mile it's a trial, but inch by inch, it's a cinch". If you look at everything you must do it can seem overwhelming, but if you break down each project into tasks and objectives and just focus on these bite-size portions, you will be amazed at how quickly the little things combine to complete major tasks. Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.
4. Ask yourself, "A month or a year from now, will this matter?" If you get mired in trivia, get distracted by surprises or get sidetracked by things that "feel good to complete, but that are "off-task", then ask if what you are doing now will have any impact on your future goals. This will keep you focused on what is truly important.
5. Set deadlines and make timetables for executing each objective that takes you closer to your goal. It is amazing how a future due date drives current behavior. Keeping records of tasks completed gives you proof that you are making progress. Having a deadline creates some urgency to complete the task.
6. Post and consult your priority list multiple times every day. This will keep you on track through those crazy, unpredictable days. It is SO easy to lose site of what is important and to begin putting out fires when you should remain focused.
7. Review your day and ask yourself "What were the top 3 things I accomplished today?". This makes you accountable to yourself and helps you measure how well you stayed focused on your priorities. It will also help you set-up the next day.
8. Clean up the tasks and projects that annoy and frustrate you the most. This might be office clutter, not being able to find things, paper piles and messes, a sloppy hard-drive on your computer or anything else that bothers you every time you look at it or think about it. Conquer it and free your energy.
9. Celebrate your successes. We go through our days and weeks barely congratulating ourselves for our good deeds and accomplishments. We tend to only focus on what we lack or on what we still have yet to complete. Give yourself credit for jobs well-done and for wading through the many tasks you finish each day.
10. Continually reset new goals once you reach each goal. This is one of the true secrets of the super achievers. They continually readjust strategically as each goal is met. They endlessly create new goals to fuel the fires of motivation and to take themselves closer to their potential.
Maintain self awareness, make adjustments and execute like top business and sports performers and you also can become a super achiever at personal effectiveness.