Productivity

The End of Procrastination!

I am getting a lot more of my to do list competed these days and it has surprised me to the point that I had to stop and examine why.  I did listen to a book which taught me how to leverage procrastination to my advantage, however, I believe the real tipping point was when a coaching client shared something he had told his teenage son.

It was the simple statement: a 90 is still an 'A'. The light bulb finally clicked on with respect to not having to get things perfect from the start.  The weight lifted, birds sang and I flew through the air.  Well not really but I did start applying the same iterative process to my tasks, especially creative ones, that I use when doing computer programming.  The process goes like this:

  1. Start with something even if it is just a rough outline or minor effort.
  2. Turn that into a rough draft or prototype.
  3. Work out the major kicks and polish it up just enough to release it to the world. 
  4. Then as it lives and breathes generating feedback, improve it. 
  5. Repeat. 
  6. Repeat again.
  7. Continue until I am perfectly satisfied with it.

Nothing is ever perfect but we do all have a point where we are proud of our effort because we know that it has our best in it.

 

Time Eaters

Early in my career I had problems saving enough money for the deposit on my first home and I could not figure out why.  Meticulously tracking my expenses for a few weeks clearly identified the problem.  Between buying grocery and eating out I was literally eating my money. 

Within a year of identifying the problem I closed on a house.  How did I do it and the what does this have to do with productivity?  As it turns out I unknowingly used the same process as financial planners and it works equally well for any goal including improving time management:

  1. Gather the Data:  Figure out what is eating your time by keeping of log of what you are doing at 15 intervals for a few days.
  2. Analyze the Data:  Review your logs and look for patterns and trends that show where you can improve.
  3. Develop a Plan:  Create an action plan for the steps you need to take to be more productive.
  4. Implement the Plan:  Execute the plan, testing and adjusting each step until it works for you before moving on to the next step
  5. Monitor the Plan:  Periodically review the plan adjusting for changes and adding improvements.