Everyone has the same amount of time. No matter what position you hold, your title, or even your level of influence, no one gets to demand or dictate more than 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and 12 months in a year. It is a constraint that governs every person on the planet.
So, if everyone has the same number of minutes, hours, days, months, and years, why do some people seem to be able to accomplish so much more than others? That’s a question I’ve asked myself for years. Even when I think back on the times when I felt the most momentum, I always seemed to run across someone who was able to get more done in less time than I could. That just motivated me to keep pushing myself to become better, faster, and agiler.
The good news is there are more tools and services available to you today than ever before. From smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even smart watches, technology has democratized processes that would have required an entire support team to accomplish just a decade ago. Add to that a variety of services from virtual receptionists, travel agents, and assistants along with automated services to schedule appointments, handle transactions, and even manage inventory, one person can operate like a multi-million-dollar enterprise with the right mix.
BUT HOW DO YOU NOT GET LOST IN ALL THE OPTIONS AND START BEING PRODUCTIVE?
I believe it begins and ends with the commitments you make to yourself and others. A commitment is something you shouldn’t take lightly. It’s a decision you make about how you’ll use your time, energy, and ingenuity to accomplish an initiative that is key to your success.
The commitments you make will ultimately drive your time. And if you don’t intentionally make commitments, life will provide those commitments for you. If you’ve ever felt like life was dictating your schedule rather than you, you know exactly what I mean. Sometimes that’s unavoidable because life is full of surprises. But often you find yourself flapping in the wind and at the mercy of everyone else when you aren’t clear on the commitments you are making to yourself.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A COMMITMENT? LET ME EXPLAIN:
- A commitment is clear, precise, actionable, and measurable.
- A commitment is a promise to yourself and others about the outcome you intend to deliver.
- A commitment is something you will either complete or not.
- A commitment is how you derive the power to decide what is important and what is urgent.
You can't dive into the productivity conversion until you know your commitments. Productivity is based on efficiently and effectively accomplishing your mission, project, or goal. Efficiency doesn't matter if you aren't clear or committed to delivering on your commitments. But when you are clear on your commitments, it becomes much easier to drive your daily experience rather than let your day (and the commitments of others) drive you.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You were created to solve a specific problem in the world. But it’s up to you to develop that talent and gift and apply it in ways that ensure you live to your full potential. That means you need to align your commitments with your definition of success. Now that you have your commitments in order, you’re ready to utilize productivity as it was intended.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY TODAY:
1. Predetermine what success means for you. Pull out a sheet of paper, open a new document on your laptop, start a new note on your phone and document success. Until you have clarity around your destination, you won’t be able to fully appreciate how productivity can move you forward.
2. Identify what needs to happen to make your success true. Once you identify your intended destination, work backward. Clearly, outline every milestone you need to accomplish. This will remove the guesswork from your day to day decisions.
3. Evaluate available tools and services. This is important. Don’t evaluate tools because you think they are cool. Choose tools and services that will help you achieve your milestones more efficiently and effectively. Otherwise, you’ll get sidelined by the shiny objective syndrome.
4. Measure everything. One of the things I appreciate the most about technology is how easy it is to measure just about everything I do in a day. From my work out to the amount of time I sit or stand in a day, it can be easily measured. This means I have better data that tells me how I’m using my time which will ultimately help me make better decisions. Warning: Once you start doing this, you’ll never be able to stop. Information is power, and your time is your most valuable asset as a leader.
5. Adjust at regular intervals. Don’t adjust every day. That’s not enough time to collect feedback and make an informed decision. Take one day a way and evaluate the week that just happened and the week is that is coming. Determine how what you did and will do will ensure you meet your milestones and ensure you reach what you’ve already defined as success.
Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated. It should start with a framework that helps you build and utilize a process that will ensure you consistently identify and deliver on your commitments. Productivity should fuel your journey and ensure you stop “running out of time” and start “creating time” for the more important things in life.
This is your life. How you choose to spend it will determine the life you live and the legacy you leave behind. A leader who never has enough time hasn’t done the work necessary to define success, outline commitments, and measure and adjust over time. Don’t let that be you. Do the things that light you up inside and set the world on fire.
CHALLENGE: Make three to five commitments you can deliver on by the end of the following week. Do everything possible to accomplish every one on your list. Decide on a day where you can reflect on your progress, and determine how you’ll repeat that process again for the coming week. Do this until it becomes a habit.