Personal productivity is a daily choice. For all of us, there are two sorts of tasks to do: Steve McClatchy calls them ‘move toward gain’ tasks and ‘prevent pain’ tasks. I call them ‘wealth-creators’ and ‘chores.’ Chores are everyday tasks like getting your car serviced or your office cleaned. Of course, they all have to be done, but there are no great gains to be had in accomplishing them only downsides to not getting them done well and on time. Studies show that Chores only account for 10% of our achievements. Wealth-creator tasks are much more meaningful, much harder to accomplish, and they represent 90% of our success. They don’t just need to be on your calendar, they need to be your calendar. So how do we recognize them?
It’s a Wealth-Creator When You Feel 3 things:
- A significant sense of achievement when you strive towards making them real. The outcomes of doing these tasks is always noteworthy and life-enhancing. As, for example, when you learn asecond language or gain an advanced degree.
- A distinct absence of urgency. Too many of us procrastinate when it comes to wealth-creators, because it is the easier thing to do. There is often no deadline to drive our actions and no fear of non-compliance if we do nothing.
- Deep personal satisfaction because wealth creator tasks cannot be delegated. You can’t send someone in your absence to get your MBA. Chores do not do this for you and should be delegated wherever possible! You will never be lauded for keeping your car on the road, but you will be remembered for being bilingual or writing that novel you always discussed.
Focus and Determination Vs Procrastination and Interruption.
Step 1: Make wealth-creator tasks your priority. It requires a different, goal centered, approach to time management. Begin with the end in mind and pencil an end date into your calendar. Then work back to today, putting milestones, events and making time for all of the necessary sub-tasks that add up to the final achievement, into a cohesive plan. E.g. training courses, lessons, examinations, deliveries, installations, etc. etc.
Step 2: Review the critical time path to be sure each successive deadline is stretching but achievable. Then confirm the end date indelibly on your calendar.
Step 3: Protect your wealth-creator tasks. Do not allow chores, and the ‘to-do’ list to replace your plan, not in your mind and not in your actions. Delegate chores where possible and or reschedule them, for after you have completed your wealth-creator tasks. Procrastinate on purpose the Chores. Note the difference of an item on your calendar versus on your to-do list. It is always easier to add an item to the list than it is to block time on your calendar. With the calendar, you first need to check and see if you have the time available and you defend the other items that are on your calendar. With your to-do list people tend to just add the next item, even if that list is already unrealistically long.
Because wealth-creator tasks require learning and doing things differently, they are NOT easy. When faced with what is hard to do, we often fall into the twin traps of procrastination and interruptions. Too often, we feel the threat of a deadline and imminent failure before finding the energy to get working on these tasks. Wealth-creators by their very nature have self-imposed deadlines at best and no deadline at all, at worst. Sharing your goals and plans with others, commits you to them and builds motivation.
Interruptions significantly decrease personal productivity.
They come in 3 varieties: 1) The ‘must be done’ items. These chores crop up all the time but must they be done, NOW? Put them on your ‘to do’ list and get back to being truly productive. 2) People demand your attention. If you can meet their needs in short time, do so. If it requires more, respectfully create a future meeting. 3) People want your time. Make a future appointment with time, agenda, and clearly defined outcome, and get back to your work..
Let’s Get Started!
Take a short timeout to list ALL your goals. Arrange them in order of importance to YOU, and identify what is a “Chore” and what is a ‘Wealth Creating task.’ Then get them on your calendar…
Step 1 above. Then call PBC for a free consultation on whatever is on your mind.