Prioritizing For Greater ProductivityJun 28, 2021
Activity does not always equal productivity. In all honesty, technology has afforded us the opportunity to do more faster, whether it's through texting, e-mailing, instant-messaging or on-line banking. The issue though, is whether or not you are getting the right things done. Are you doing the things that will give you the best result? If not, prioritizing for greater productivity may need to be your next step.
What it means to be productive
What's your definition of productive? Is it the speed of cranking out tasks listed on your to-do list? The common notion of productivity is to get more done in a shorter span of time. Though that may be true, it's not complete. Productivity in its truest sense is to complete high impact tasks within a short period of time. It is completing the tasks that will create the greatest impact in your life or business on a day-to-day basis.
According to the Pareto principle, if you give your attention to the tasks that rank in the top 20 percent in terms of importance, you will have an 80 percent return on your effort. In other words, if you have 10 tasks to be completed, you should identify and give 80 percent of your attention to the two that will bring you the greatest result. The Pareto principle when followed, will lead to greater productivity, leading us to get much more from much less.
The three Rs of prioritizing
With a myriad of activities to be completed every day, it is important to developed a strategy to evaluate what gets on the agenda for the day and what doesn't. Here are the three Rs of priority recommended by John Maxwell, that I have found useful in my life and daily activities:
The first R asks the question, "what is required?" It is an accountability question? Accountability to family, employer, the government and so forth. It speaks to the tasks that no one else can do but me. This is a task that is both required and necessary.
The second R asks the question, "what gives the greatest return?" Of the ten items on my list, which ones will create the greatest impact if completed? If something I'm doing can be done 80 percent as well by someone else, the task should be delegated so that you can give your attention to other tasks and particularly those that will bring you the greatest return.
The third R asks the question "what brings the greatest reward?" This question relates to ones personal satisfaction. This involves engaging in activities that also brings you fulfillment and satisfaction. It is doing the things that you love. Why? Because passion provides the fuel in your life that will keep you going.
Priority setting technique
A successful life can be traced back to a successful day, where the individual was careful in choosing the right tasks that created the greatest impact. Speaker and author Robert Ringer, in his book Million Dollar Habits, says, "life is nothing more than the sum total of many successful years; a successful year is nothing more than the sum total of many successful months; a successful month is nothing more than the sum total of many successful weeks; a successful week is nothing more than the sum total of many successful days." To have this kind of success and productivity, follow this ABCDE priority setting technique from Brian Tracy.
Step 1 - Start out by listing all the things you have to do for the upcoming day.
Step 2 - Go down the list and place an ABCD or E beside each item before you begin each task. If you have several "A" tasks list them as A1, A2 and A3.
Step 3 - Take actions on your A items first and then move on to the other items in priority order.
The bottom line is this: an "A" item is game-changing and must be done first, because it carries tremendous consequences. "B" item is a task you should do and has mild consequence, like checking your Facebook page. Make sure you never do a "B" task when there is an "A" task to be done. A "C" task is something you could do and has no consequences whether you do it or not, while a "D" task is something you can delegate to someone else. Finally the "E" task is something you can eliminate because it just won't make any difference in your day whether or not it is done.
As you move towards prioritizing for greater productivity in your life or business, be mindful that plans don't work, people do. So my challenge for you, is to take a look at your to-do list for tomorrow, identify the top two tasks that will give you the greatest result and complete them before the day is done.