Overwhelmed? Tired? Lacking in the productivity department? Forgetful in your tasks lately? People seem to be avoiding you Mr./Ms. Grumpy Pants?
A little while back, we we touched on the topic of burnout. As much as burnout may be a sign that you’re at the wrong gig or work-life balance means nothing to you, it may simply be the result of terrible time management.
Ever heard the term productivity? How about task management?
It refers to getting things done, which itself is a popular school of thought in the world of productivity. But guess what? That’s one take of about 100 million others. Every guru gives some slant on how to get more done and invent those few extra hours you need each day just to get tasks completed.
The Great Productivity Myth
What if I told you that there is no single system that works best when it comes to being productive? Let me just go ahead and smash that notion for you!
Now I am not saying that those systems don’t work for some. There wouldn’t be entire websites and podcasts devoted to productivity if it wasn’t for a very real need. In fact, some of the systems I have seen can range from simple principles practiced daily to complex systems that gamify life and check off tasks.
I have no shame in declaring that I tried everything – even the life-as-a-game productivity apps.
See, I am one of those people who arrives 10 minutes late to everything. I don’t plan on being late for my funeral, but I probably will unlock that achievement when the time comes. I also don’t plan on being late to appointments or meetings, but typically I am trying the last desperate gasp at accomplishing something before I head out of the office. Once or twice, I even forgot about a few of them…
Your Productivity No Longer Affects Just You
The problem magnified a good bit when I started doing that whole in-charge-of-other-people-thing known as management. Before, if I was late, it was just because I was the goofy coder whose eccentricities were part of the package. That all changed when I started as the team lead of 8+ souls who worked on six and seven figure projects. I briefed important men and women who didn’t have much patience for us late folk.
Like many of you out there – small business owners, side hustlers, or working professionals – I had stakeholders who I had to please. And let’s not mention the effect on co-workers. It’s extremely difficult to have trust amongst team members if tasks aren’t properly managed.
It wasn’t that I needed to mature. It was that I needed to understand how the heck to keep up with it all. Before, I had a deadline given to me and I used all of the necessary and stereotypical caffeinated drinks to get me across the finish line and get the win. Now, I had team members coming to me with their own task problems, my boss telling me deadlines were coming, and briefs that didn’t exactly go as planned.
At that point, I was up against a productivity wall.
Productivity Secret Sauce
Cue the angelic music and LED spot lights…
So what is the secret to being productive and getting all of those tasks done?
Now that sounds like one of those goofy corporate buzzwords (or buzzkills) like synergy or paradigm, but stick with me for just a moment.
When I gained clarity on the priority of my tasks, a light came on in my mind. I mistakenly thought that time management, productivity, and task management simply meant that I could do more things. Once disabused of this huge error, I came to realize that what differentiated me from that billionaire owner or even the successful career professional was not that he or she had discovered some time manipulation device. They likely didn’t even have that much more intelligence than me.
Instead, the really successful people knew how to work on the tasks that mattered most. They knew how to work on the things where they could be most productive and then delegate, automate, or do away with the tasks that didn’t matter. In short, they knew how to prioritize.
There are many tools out there to help you attempt do this. They range from books that classify tasks as urgent and important versus urgent and not important to apps that make you check boxes. They can be a little confusing.
Of Course – A Productivity Course For the Best of Them – Free to Focus™
Enter the Free to Focus Course™ led by Michael Hyatt. Michael has a number of been-there-done-that titles like former CEO, N. Y. Times Bestselling Author, and Entreprenuer. In other words, he’s performed and succeeded at stages requiring intense focus and high levels of functioning.
Free to Focus is his framework for clarifying priorities. In light of teaching high performers how to simply “get more done faster,” it shows them how to prioritize their tasks and then execute them for the best results. Even better than most other choices, the framework adapts to your environment rather than requiring adherence to a strict set of rules.
The news gets even better, too. This course works from any level starting at the solopreneur looking to dive into improving productivity, all the way up to the successful business owner who needs to tweak her task management.