a Year to Celebrate Peak Productivity
My client and I were working in his office, addressing his paper and files, building his Task list in Outlook, and prioritizing along the way. As we conquered each new pile on his desk we freed up new space that he could enjoy every day thereafter.
As we worked through an older pile of papers and files, what should appear, but a two-year-old check he’d lost for over $51,000.
FIFTY-ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!
You can imagine his glee.
And although he had to get the check re-issued anyway due to the passage of time, it was HUGE to even find this check because of how long it had been missing and how many times he corresponded with the issuer of the check about where it was.
Oh, the lost time and energy over this check… The relief it gave him and the closure it created for everyone involved was BIG.
This is not unlike a story I read in 2010 about the fellow who almost missed a chance to sell his company to another company for $1.3 M because the offer was lost in his e-mail Inbox… for about TWO WEEKS .
Are you wondering now what might be hidden, lost or forgotten on your desk? Or perhaps in your paper piles, your Inbox or your office? If I had accumulated a bunch of papers, files or e-mails, I’d be wondering too.
And this is where you get to make a choice.
You get to choose how to organize your information. You get to choose how your systems will support you. You get to choose how your processes will work. Instead of letting things vanish – like papers, to-do-lists and time – track them in systems you can really trust and rely on all the time.
I want you to focus on putting more C (like the Vitamin C!) in your workday:
- Control – See everything that enters your office and your inboxes. Make decisions quickly and get everything one-step closer to done – or let it go.
- Clarity – Get a better, more crystal-clear view of what you’ve committed to and where you’re going. Narrow the task list down to your most important, revenue- generating, business-building tasks and projects where possible.
- Concentration – Practice more focus, reduce distractions and prevent interruptions. Stop starting and start finishing. Tasks and projects won’t finish themselves.
- Certainty – Be more certain you can find what you need when you need it and certain you’re hitting your priorities every day.
- Confidence – Have more confidence that you’re spending each day reaching your goals and using your time wisely and productively.
How to get more Cs in your day? Here are 5 Simple Steps to improve them ALL:
- Simplify your surroundings: be selective about what you keep, accept or commit to.
The less you have, the less you have to manage. Having fewer things around you will help you fight distractions that can take you off course. And everyone can use fewer distractions these days.
- Organize what you keep and save time.
Lost time and energy spent searching for things or information really add up and take hours out of your work week that could otherwise be productive. Make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
- Focus on the power of ONE: one system for each category of information.
Your systems, if complete and working properly and efficiently, will direct you to your key information and hottest priorities right away. You want to avoid confusion by having only ONE trusted system for each category, preferably one you can synchronize with your smart phone or tablet. For instance…
- Tasks – one Task list on your computer
- Contacts – one address book or contact system on your computer
- Appointments – one calendar on your computer
- E-Files: One system in your hard drive, shared drive or the cloud
- Physical files: One system each category of files in file drawers or cabinets
- Set up routines and save more time.
Using routines for processing new mail, voice mail, e-mail, tasks, appointments, contacts and other information will save you time. When you process each type of information, one group at a time , you’ll be more efficient, keep your focus, and make fewer errors instead of bouncing from one thing to the next as soon as a tiny new bit of information shows up.
- Use blocks of time and mix up your thinking.
Check e-mail and other inboxes after completing a task or portion of a project. Mix up heavy-duty thinking with lighter tasks. Don’t bounce. Focus for 30-45 minutes, then do something different.