Increase Personal Productivity by Doing Less

Recent studies have shown multi-tasking is not effective. Yes you can walk and chew gum, however, there are limits to balancing multiple tasks, texting while driving, answering cell calls in meetings… I question how this furious activity impacts productivity. Concentration is the key. Could it be that it is not only what we do but what we choose NOT TO DO, that delivers results.

How is it that doing less can increase your productivity? Here are several ideas.

1. Take time to plan. If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there. A plan saves time you focus on what should be done and eliminate the time wasters. “There is no point in doing well, that which you should not be doing at all.” Thomas Connellan

2. Stop and reflect. Step away from your desk, phone and computer when you are feeling “out of control”. If you are in an office take a walk outside, I take my dog for a walk. Ask your dog what time is it? She will tell you NOW! Be in the now.

3. Consult your “dashboard”. When I created my strategic plan I developed a dashboard. This is a list of the critical items I need to do on a regular basis, some daily, weekly or monthly. The dashboard enables me to stay focused on these result-producing activities and not get pulled off track by the tyranny of the urgent.

4. Take a break. Change things up, sometimes we keep pushing in a direction with diminishing results. Go to the gym, do something different to recharge your battery. By changing direction you create energy and refresh yourself.

5. Call a meeting with yourself. Often I say “How do I know what I think until I hear what I say.” If a project becomes all consuming, step away and review your priorities and then renew action.

6. Eliminate items from your “to do list”. Go down the list and cross items off that you are NOT going to do. It is totally liberating and empowering. Yes, you decide, you are in charge of your life.

7. Eliminate distractions. Don’t answer the phone. Stop checking your emails all the time; develop specific times to open emails. Stay focused on the one thing you want to accomplish TODAY!

The above are simple steps to focus your energy, feel good about what you are doing and accomplish the things that matter most to you.