We all have the same number of hours in a day. 24. No more. No less. So, why do some people accomplish so much more than others? What’s their secret? You know those people. The ones who appear to be productivity geniuses, who seem to have been gifted the “get shit done” gene from a higher power? Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, they are not really that special. Which means, what they do, you can do too. No excuses.
Where these people have pulled away from the pack, though, is by learning to look at their work with a critical eye. They aren’t spending hours making a laundry list of tasks that need to be checked off one by one in no real order. They know what the most important things are that need to be done and they have no qualms about slashing anything that doesn’t help them hit their goals or assigning a task to someone who is better equipped to handle it. No ego. Only results.
At the end of the day, it’s not really about productivity, it’s about effectiveness and impact.
Productivity is defined by Dictionary.com as “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”
“Productivity” means nothing unless the goods and services are the right ones with the most amount of impact. Who cares who gets the job done or how long it takes? It’s about how much impact and value is created through the completion of an action item.
So, how do you harness this power? These “productivity geniuses” ask themselves a series of important questions that help them manage their time and manage their work. There are two great tools to use to maximize your impact.
The first, is from the book Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz, called the Trash, Transfer, & Trim Method.
- TRASH – Do you have something on your to-do list that just doesn’t need to be there? Maybe it’s a project that no longer fulfills the mission of your organization or an obligatory phone call or email that is three months overdue. Perhaps it is yet another birthday party for a second cousin’s third nephew. It’s choosing what to say not to, so you can say yes to the most important items. Saying no to drinks after work is probably going to through off your morning routine, so don’t do it. If it’s not necessary for the goals of the business, your life, or your family, trash it.
- TRANSFER – The first question I ask myself when a new idea or project crosses my desk, is, “Who can do it?” I do not immediately assign the project or task to myself. In fact, that’s my last resort. If there is someone better equipped to handle a task (and there probably is), transfer it.
- TRIM – If the project or task is something that you absolutely must be involved it. Limit your time. Do you have to be in a content brainstorming meeting? Keep it at 20 minutes max. Do you have to attend a speaker series? Request to speak first, pack a punch with your 15 minute presentation, and slip out the back door. If you must be involved, trim it.
The Trash, Transfer, Trim Method is an effective way to focus your efforts on only the most important tasks to maximize your time, while continuing to impact your organization and your overall life goals. A similar model can be seen in The One Thing Focus Chart.
- DELETE – This goes for emails, relationships, and social obligations. Delete from your calendar and life anything that is not serving your greater purpose in life or business. Just delete it.
- DELEGATE – This is the same concept as Transfer. If the project or task is important to the business, it doesn’t mean it needs to be done by you. Delegate the project to the appropriate member of your team and then hold them accountable to the result. Just delegate it.
- DO – If you determine the task needs to be done by you, first ask yourself if it needs to be done right now or if it can wait. If it is going to take longer than five minutes and isn’t a fire that needs to be put out, make sure you block time to complete the project. If it must be done by you, delay until your one thing (top 20% of your job) is done. And then just do it.
These methods of organizing work is not just for busines owners or leaders. Everyone in your organization needs to master these methods in order to achieve more individually and to achieve more together. Teach these methods to your team, help them implement these habits, encourage them to execute, and watch your company grow.
What can you delete or trash from your business and life? What do you need to delegate or transfer? What does that leave you with to do? Can you trim that down even more? Time block what’s left and focus on the impact on your organization.