Archive for May, 2009

Increasing Productivity – Set Priorities

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

To be productive you have to stay focused on your goal.


Setting priorities is the most productive way to reach your goals. Our real priorities are defined, not by what we “think” they should be but by how we actually act on them. It’s easy to say, For example, family is our priority in life, living healthy and being happy are up there too.
We know these are the most important priorities a person can have but we still “hit the snooze button” on them most of the time.

Like an alarm clock with wheels, unless our priorities roll off to a start and continue on their own so we can’t hit snooze on them, they run into obstacles. We have to overcome those obstacles in order to be productive and keep our priorities straight. “Action expresses priorities” – Mahatma Gandhi. (write that down) Don’t hit the “snooze button” on what’s really important.

Step 1 – Know what your priorities are.

Sit down and physically write down what’s important to you. Figure out what your priorities are and get them on paper… i.e. religion, health, family, marriage/relationships, finances, work, school, hobbies, personal development… get them all on paper.

Step 2 – Prioritize your priorities.

Go one by one and ask yourself what is more important. Make 2 lists. One being what you want your priorities to be and the other being what they actually are. This is a very important step. For example your health is important and should be a priority over work but realistically will you call in sick to work if you don’t have time to eat a healthy breakfast or exercise? If not then Work goes on your list above Health.

Step 3 – Compare

What needs to change for your lists to be the same? Since you’ve decided what your priorities are and where the fall on your list examine how different the lists are and what priorities fall in different order on the list.

Step 4 – Stay focused

Stay focused on what’s important. Whatever is number one on your list is most important. Focus on that. When you make decisions base them on how they will affect your priorities in the order that you have them listed.

Step 5 – Live

Live your priorities. Think of the small picture when making decisions and you will be successful. Shape your decisions to fit your life AND your priorities. If you main priority is health and you want to lose weight go out to eat where you always eat. Order what you always order but since you have you priorities straight and your health is number one only eat half of that super burrito. Looking at the small picture is a lot easier for most people than a drastic, life changing decision.

Most importantly NO EXCUSES. You must keep your number one priority number one. If family is your first priority and you’re offered a new job that will take away time from your family you must decide to either change your list and put work first, or turn down the job. Nobody likes to admit that they put work over family but that’s exactly what most people do. You can make up excuses and tell yourself that in the “big picture” having a better job and working more will allow you to better provide for your family so family is still your number one priority. That’s just an excuse and you’re lying to yourself.

Once you have your priorities straight, you can measure your productivity based on what priorities are affected and in what order they are affected. Using the family as a top priority again. If you turn down that high paying job to spend more time with your family you’d be living an exceptionally more productive life than someone who didn’t. You must think of productivity in all aspects of life not just the ones that offer an immediate return.