Getting more things done, in a shorter period of time, is something we all strive for.
I am sure you hate when you need to stay late at work, only because you couldn´t finish a certain task on time.
I believe you would rather be relaxing or spending time with your family.
But, you can´t. Nowadays, with all distractions, it´s rare for people to do productive work.
Today, you are gonna discover what to do to become super productive, so you achieve much more, in less period of time.
In other words, your overtimes are over! Let´s get to it.
This is something I need to start with. The biggest misconception that is around productivity:
Being busy does NOT equal to being productive.
In the past, I thought, if I am busy, I work as efficient as I could. Now, I know, I was wrong.
You can be busy, you can do something in every minute of your day, but, when at the end of the day you feel like you didn´t do anything at all, you were not productive.
I know that from my own experience. I did something, then I immediately switch to another task and another.
Then, at the end of the day, I couldn´t name one thing that I was finished the way I could be proud of.
So, don´t try to be busy all the time. It´s the way that only exhausts you and leaves you with mediocre or even bad results.
What helped me to stop aiming for business and start focusing on productivity was following strategy.
This is the strategy I discovered in Steven Covey´s book – First Things First.
This strategy shows you what is important, and what is not. What you should focus on, and what you should not.
The strategy says you should write down all your tasks and to-do´s in a paper. Then, you assign all your tasks into one of the following groups:
After you finished assigning, I want to ask you, on which tasks numbers should you focus on? Is it 1,2,3 or 4? – Leave a comment below.
Let´s go through some examples. Which kind of tasks belongs to specific groups?
Quadrant 1 represents activities that are urgent and also important. It contains things like answering an angry client, helping a crying baby or having transplantation of your heart.
In this quadrant, you have to spend time. It is the quadrant when you control and produce results.
A problem is, that many activities and tasks become urgent, only because you were ignoring them before. Which leads me to the second quadrant.
This quadrant represents very important activities, yet not so urgent in the time. It is also called – quadrant of quality.
In this sphere, you plan, you anticipate a problem, you learn something new, you acquire skills, build habits and many other very important and useful things.
The truth is that more time you spend in quadrant 2, fewer things move into quadrant 1.
Quadrant 3 is the opposite of quadrant 1. It contains urgent, but not important things. That´s why it´s also called quadrant of illusion.
In this quadrant, you need to be careful. A pressure of urgency evokes in you the feeling of importance. But, it´s not true.
That´s why you need to be aware, what is urgent and important (and put it into quadrant 1) and what is just urgent.
In this quadrant, you find activities like phone calls, unexpected meetings that distract you from things, that are important.
So, pay attention and try to spend as little as possible time in this quadrant.
And the final quadrant is quadrant of wasted time.
Here you can find watching TV for 5 hours a day, scrolling social media for another 3 hours and many more „wasting time“ activities.
It would be great if you do not spend any time in this quadrant. But, I know it´s not even possible. And it´s okay.
If you spend the majority of your time in quadrants 1 and 2 you probably gonna be exhausted. And that´s the time you should spend some time relaxing, see a movie or take a look at your social media.
The key is to always use it as a reward for your productive work, not just a procrastination tool.
You, me, your friends, my friends and all the people around the globe have the same time in a day – 24 hours.
You are not able to increase these hours. That means you have to achieve more in the same time.
And that can be only done by aiming your energy and focus on things, that are moving you forward. Things, that are truly important for you and the quality of your life.
The strategy of 4 Quadrants I shared with you today, shows you specifically which activities you should focus on, and which not.
So, don´t procrastinate and do this exercise right now. It takes you a few minutes and it has the power to make you super productive.
You have 2 limited resources in a day. Time and energy.
If you want to achieve more, you have to know how to spend these 2 precious resources.
The 4 Quadrants strategy is the best way how to determine what you should be focusing on through the day.
Try to spend as much time in Quadrant 1 and (especially) quadrant 2.
More time you spend planning, learning, anticipating problems and overcoming them (Quadrant 2), the less time you spend by fixing them (Quadrant 1 and 3).
Find a few minutes and do this exercise right now. Assign all your (daily, weekly,…) activities into one of 4 quadrants.
Then, you know what should you focus on, what should you delegate and what should you stop doing at all.
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