Have you ever wondered why some people achieve much and others not so much? Even in similar fields of endeavor, you will always find two groups of people, those at the bottom and those at the top. When I was reading the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy, I learned that the key to being the most productive every day is to create a list of activities the day before and order the list from the most important to the least important. When you then wake up in the morning, start with the first item on your list.
Have I practiced that methodology to increase productivity? Yes I have. Do I still practice it? No I don’t. Should I be practicing it again? Probably yes, because it works. Top achievers work with lists and plans all the time. The key to achieving more is doing less. The less you engage in activities that distract you from the most important activity on your to do list, the more productive you become. The problem with most people is that they are easily distracted. I see too many people who speak about being ADHD as if it is not normal not to be. There are a hundred different things any single human being can start doing ever single day. The problem is with finishing. Most of the time, we are distracted by people and things that (ironically) are supposed to help us produce more.
Are you ready for the single most important word you can use in 2014 to increase your productivity? The word is: NO. It is a very simple two letter word formula for keeping yourself at your most important daily task until you are done. To help you practice this immediately, you can follow NO with a sentence similar to: I will not ____________ until I finish ___________. For example, you are in the middle of the morning working on your most important task for the day and one of your colleagues (without a sense of urgency) asks for your attention at his desk. Leaving your workstation will mean interrupting your flow and loosing time to a distraction. Your simple reply will be NO. To sound more polite, add: I will not be able to assist you until I finish writing this document. This formula will work every time.
Remember, you can only use this formula when you are engaged in working on your single most important task for the day. The Pareto Principle states that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of the results. Once you identify those activities that will produce 80% of your results in a day, say NO to any possible distraction until you are done with those activities. A productive year is made up of productive days. And a productive day is only accomplished by focusing on your most important tasks until they are completed. It is not going to be easy, especially at the beginning. But it is possible!
What are some words, expressions or methods you use to guard your time and stay focused on your most important tasks?
Day 17 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 518 words.