‘Focus on being productive instead of being busy’-Tim Ferris
One of the worst feelings in the world is being really busy but feel like you’re not making any progress.
You are fighting everyday to get ahead, but your approach is killing your health or compromising your well being.
Projects seem to take longer, and you absorb everyone’s problems in the process.
Progress on anything you feel is important, is slow and unenjoyable.
Productivity (sometimes called time management) is a topic of concern for many of my clients and peers. It is a discussion point that is identified when exhaustion, unhappiness, stress or a lack of control over one’s emotions sets in.
Coaching conversations about this topic usually starts like this:
- I am trying hard just to maintain what is on my desk at work and on my plate at home – just holding on.
- My work life balance is a mess.
- I feel like I am pushing myself and juggling too many things and everything is a priority.
- I am always reinventing the wheel with every project or fighting fires and scrambling.
- I never feel like I am ahead. Always trying to catch up.
- I finish the day with more to do’s on my list than when I started.
- I don’t feel as though I am making progress, even though I am ticking off one thing after another from my list.
As a coach, these conversations can become difficult and emotional as my clients recognize the signs of unproductive behaviours in their lives.
These big red flags are related to tiredness, being constantly busy and not feeling like they are getting ahead because of lack of motivation and energy.
Having minimal energy levels will certainly impact your productivity. The habits we install to take good care of ourselves and protect our energy levels MATTERS, if you want to be highly productive.
For more information on raising your energy levels, refer to my blog on victorypivot.com called
’10 Habits to Boost Your Energy Now’
When I think about highly effective people like Steve Jobs, Arianna Huffington, or Mark Zuckerberg. They have a very deliberate approach to planning their days, projects and tasks compared to those who struggle in this area.
They set priorities and work on only what’s important to taking themselves to the next level, in areas of their life that matter most.
A question many highly productive people ask themselves when planning there day is…
What’s my OUTCOME?
Productivity means working on the things that matter most in a day, a week and month. These things are connected and moving the needle to your ultimate goal.
Before we get to habits of highly productive people, there are some behaviors that are SABOTAGING your growth in this area that we need to address.
- Start to record the answers to these questions in your journal.
- Track over a one-month period.
How much time do you spend a day/week watching TV or mindlessly scrolling through social media sites? What about gossiping or being a part of a toxic environment? Write a list of the continuous noise and distractions around you.
- AM Routine:
What is your morning routine? Do you pick up your smartphone or laptop and start reading the news or checking e-mail as soon as you wake up? Are you in a rush to get things done when you wake up in the morning (shower, make lunches etc.)?
- Setting Goals and Priorities:
Do you write down your goals/plans for the year, month, or week? If yes, how many of those tasks/projects are accomplished?
How often are you interrupted by others in a day or week?
- Saying NO
Do you have a hard time saying ‘no’ to family members or work colleagues? Do you put wants from others ahead of your own projects, emotional needs, or tasks?
The truth is more productive people are happier, less stressed and are more rewarded in the long term.
Somehow productive people, despite having the same number of hours in a week or month as everyone else, have found a way to produce more.
They are more productive because they do not compromise their health, energy levels, relationships, and zest for life.
Productive people find a way to deliver more with excellence and have the momentum to take on new and exciting challenges than their peers. They have more harmony in their lives.
Highly productive people have deliberate habits that give them the power to master this area of their life.
Let’s examine and dig deep on 2 of the most critical habits:
- THEY HAVE MASTERED THEIR MORNING ROUTINE
‘The day is always his who works with serenity and great aims’
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I like to call it the Victory Hour.
Rigging your morning routine in your favour will properly prepare you for a great and productive day.
The key is to wake up early. Wake up before everyone else to allow you the space, peace, clarity, and time to follow a mindful routine.
My Morning Routine:
Before I check in with the world, my routine has been adjusted over the years, but includes the following habits:
5:30am – Self Care: Drink a glass of water with Vitamins and stretch and meditate. Make a smoothie.
5:45am – Learn: Read a chapter of my book or listen to a video or podcast
6:15am – Journal: Topics include:
- One thing that is exciting about the day.
- Who needs me on my A game?
- A situation that could frustrate me and how I can minimize it?
- One bold action I could take today would be?
- Who am I grateful for today and how can acknowledge this person?
6:30am – PLAN: Questions such as:
- What am I committed to making happen today?
- 3 simple things I need to do to advance 2-3 projects or tasks forward.
- Priorities: these items need to be done today.
During my morning routine I try to manage my agenda first because I do not want my day to be dictated by someone else’s.
Good sleep habits will definitely boost the efficiency of your morning routine.
For excellent information and tools on how to better your sleep quality, read the following article called ‘How to Harness the Life Changing Power of Sleep’ from Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global website:
There is a ‘movement’ that believes in the power of having a morning routine to raise productivity levels throughout your day.
One of these champions is leadership expert and author Robin Sharma who practices and promotes the 5:00am Club Methodology. His book called ‘The 5:00am Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life’ can purchase on Amazon:
2. CREATE CLEAR LIFE GOALS
The fundamentals of becoming more productive are setting goals and maintaining energy and focus. Without goals, you lose focus and become distracted and interrupted easily.
For example, you can be interrupted at work several times a day during any given task, activity, or meeting. It is difficult to gain your focus back and reoriented yourself with the original task or assignment when you are interrupted.
This contributes to your lack of productivity.
Without goals you are inviting other people to steal your energy and power in the form of interruptions and distraction.
This is one reason I have recommended that you never check your e-mails or social media feeds first thing in the morning.
The big flood of emails will cause overwhelm and reactivity. In addition to controlling your day, emotions, and mindset.
When I discuss the topic of life goals with my clients, I always start with the bigger picture.
I find that we are often doing busy work, instead of your life’s work.
Most of my clients have life experience, are mature and perhaps more independent, which allows them to dig deeper into their lives as it relates to self, relationships, and career. I ask them to perform this activity to understand the big picture.
Journal the answer to these questions in the categories of
- My Relationships
- My Career
- What do you really want to achieve in life?
- What do you really want from life now?
- Who do you want to become as a person?
- What are your relationship goals?
- How do you want to show up for your family & friends?
- What is the energy like in your interactions?
- Where do you want them to be?
- What are your growth goals?
- What would make you exceptional at what you do?
- What would bring a level of mastery into your life?
- What would make you happier and calmer in life?
- How do I want to show up for those that I lead and serve?
- What is needed from me to be effective in my work and for my team?
These questions are important to discover the big picture or your purpose.
For more information and tools on discovering your Purpose, please read our blog on victorypivot.com called ‘5 Important questions to ask yourself to reveal your life’s purpose’
Once you understand your big picture goals, then you can work backwards to creating goals that are more focused to your immediate work and tasks.
To improve your productivity, create the following goals based on the 3 categories (myself, relationships, and career).
- YEALY GOALS
- MONTHLY GOALS
- WEEKLY GOALS
Use a yearly and monthly cycle to create your weekly goals.
In your Journal, write down the following:
- What 3 goals do I need to work on this year to move the needle on myself, my relationships, my career and my contributions?
- Use the question prompts above under ‘me’.
Based on your larger yearly goals, create smaller, bite sized objectives based on the 3 areas that were identified above.
Identify any large project, professional development assignments or tasks that need to be accomplished.
Your monthly goals should be examined and critiqued daily. You can perform this exercise during your new morning routine or choose a quiet time of day to review (no more than 5 minutes).
Creating 30-day goals will support your productivity efforts because you will know where to focus and be disciplined during your daily activities.
30-day goals can now be broken down into weekly tasks, projects, assignments, and milestones.
These should be your areas of focus for the week.
You will now have control over others concerning their wants and asks.
You have the power to decide whether you have the time to work on their requests without compromising your goals for that week.
You should also build time into your week for family, workouts, free time, creative periods, and catch-up time. These things need to be blocked into your calendar for the week.
Be kind to yourself with this process.
You may ‘trip up’ several times during a month due to distraction or interruptions or your morning routine being sabotaged by things out of your control.
But you are equipped to get back on track because of awareness, intentionality and tracking your progress.
You now have the tools to be disciplined and focused to CRUSH your year, month and week!
A great resource to record and track your goal setting progress is ‘The High-Performance Planner’ by Brendon Burchard:
In summary, you can achieve high levels of productivity by:
- Eliminating distractions and interruptions
- Creating a solid morning routine
- Start recording your life goals and connect to monthly and weekly goals. This will help with focus and managing other people’s needs and agenda’s.
Our VictoryPivot team is dedicated to providing quality content that will enhance your online knowledge and skillsets and improve your mindset to become a better version of you!
PS- Make sure to also join us on Facebook & Instagram community: @VictoryPivot to get your daily dose of positivity!
PSS- Once you subscribe to www.victorypivot.com every Friday, VictoryPivot will provide FREE resources such as:
- Life Hacks
These tools will help you grow, reach higher heights so you can become the best version of you!
I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder