I’ve been doing a lot of speaking and training on the topic of “Maximizing Your Productivity” (for our upcoming webinar click here). To Kraft Your Success, this means starting from a place of identifying what you really want and then creating the time and space to make it happen. I love it when someone approaches me after this session and is inspired to incorporate the session’s work into their lives and I can tell that they are more likely than others to make it happen.
What sets them apart? They have clearly defined what they really want in their work or career and they have a plan – in their calendar – to make it happen. They took the time out of their busy day to learn, step back and reflect, and make new choices that will help them be more productive.
We can’t find time, we need to make time.
What motivates us to be productive? It’s usually something that we really want. Projects that connect passion with challenge. At the core for most of us, we want to make a difference and we hope that someone notices.
What does it feel like when you look at your to-do list and realize you’ve only scratched off a few items? Or you have this big goal that you really want but none of the tasks of the day are connected to it?
We often leave feeling disconnected to our work, unsatisfied, empty or overwhelmed as we think of the uncompleted tasks that now become tomorrow’s projects. This is part of the reason that I believe employee engagement is at an all time low.
But if we get crystal clear on what we really want and our biggest goals, we are better prepared to align our choices throughout the day.
One of the best illustrations that I have a client that I started coaching earlier this year. Read on for how she was transformed from a frazzled, unhealthy, unhappy employee to not only model, but train others in her organization on work-life integration.
One client’s success story:
She was a high potential employee at a mid-sized Management Consultant organization. She was working 70-80 hours per week, stressed, burned out and very unhappy. Luckily she and her company knew that something had to change. When we started working together her main goal was to reduce stress and have more balance. While this was an obvious goal, what become more evident as we moved through our coaching process was that there were larger goals that were more compelling to her – and more intrinsically motivating.
Ah…. this is great “ah ha” moment that agents of change (and most of us) love because something will be different when it comes from a place that intrinsically motivates us.
In our exploration much of the focus was on her leadership development. We explored how she could develop more executive presence and begin to model a “new kind” of leadership for her team. For her that meant connecting with her values of collaboration, integrity etc.
She also wanted to invest time in her career by developing her own intellectual property. Her desire was to have something that she created and owned. For any of you who follow Daniel Pink’s work on motivation in his book, Drive, this is what he refers to as “mastery”.
Lastly, she knew that she had to take back the reigns and start having more control in her own work and schedule vs it being driven by her clients and the organization. How many of us can relate to that situation? But again, to bring in Daniel Pink’s work, this is the desire for “autonomy”. Most of us want to have more control in our work and do it our way.
And how did she do all of this? By experimenting and finding out what worked best for her to create the time and space to achieve her goals. Here are a few processes that she put into place:
1) No email before 9am. Why? Because 8-9 am was the time for her to plan her day, reflect on the big priorities and to begin to shift her to start her day being proactive vs reactive. (Incidentally after a week of this experimented we both agreed that one hour wasn’t possible, but 30 minutes was.)
2) Share her new practices and experiments with her boss and client – or others that would want her time during this time period. Then make agreements for how they can contact her if necessary (she chose text message – and during our coaching process she did not receive one text!). Most people are supportive when they learn that other’s are trying things to become more productive. Create agreements.
3) Develop a consistent and structured process and environment for creative idea generation and writing (IP). She chose 2 lunch hours per week at a cafe to write. She made more progress in those 6 months than she had in years.
What’s one new thing you can try this week? Choose and put it in your calendar.