Productivity is not what matters most. Making an impact matters. You probably know people, surely not you, who are running from pillar to post. They even complain (or boast) about how busy they are all the time. Busyness does not equate to influence.
For example, checking off items on your long “to do list” keeps you occupied, but really important, impactful work is untouched. And, you are exhausted. At the end of the day have you ever wondered, “I’ve been working steady all day but what have I accomplished that has an effect?”
Since we have all the time available, squandering it on low impact activities is expensive. Valuable resources such as time, money, creativity, and energy are depleted without much to show for it.
Activity has its own rewards for its own sake. Plus, it keeps you from doing something else that’s harder and more involved. Others can conclude you are really important because you are so busy. We even are praised for such hard work. Nobody is asking what difference you made.
How to get out of the productivity trap and in the impact zone?
- At the start of your week, make a list of what you must accomplish to have a high impact week
- Day 1, list what you must accomplish to have a high impact day. These will come for your list for the week.
- Address first the activities that have the most effect with the least effort.
- Next address the activities that have the most effect with more effort.
- Day 2 assess the remaining items on your master list for the week. Repeat the process each day.
- Practice your discipline of saying “no” to requests and activities which have little impact.
- Remember “less is more.” The number of items on your list is not what makes a difference.
For example, consider a firm that pays trained staff to prepare tax returns, or create legal documents, or draft architectural drawings. Until the returns, or the documents or the drawings are reviewed and signed by a certified professional, they cannot be released to the client. The firm has paid the staff to do the work but the firm cannot collect the fee from the client. A high impact activity is to review the work so it can be released to keep the cash flowing in the right direction. Low impact activities such as reading professional journals or shopping for office supplies or surfing the web are resource zappers.
Regardless of their role, when everyone understands they matter in the success of the company, it is easy to determine what activity has an impact. You can make wise choices in how to invest your energy to make a difference. Get into the impact zone. It matters because you make a difference.
© 2016 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved