How to be More Productive - at Work or at Home!Sep 15, 2021
One of the first things I saw the other morning as I checked my LinkedIn notifications was a post from a friend who has a whole bunch of children, many of whom he and his wife adopted, showing the clean and organized kitchen he came home to the evening before. Now even if you’re single and have pizza delivered on a daily basis, you know maintaining a clean and organized kitchen is no small task! But for a mom to accomplish that on her own with several kids, that’s nearly an act of God!
After I recovered from the initial shock and was able to read his entire post, I realized the point he was making was tied to how important it is, for kids as well as us adults, to have responsibility for specific tasks. My friend and his wife had been intentional about making sure each child was assigned something to do in the process and they understood what was expected of them. As a family, they had developed a system for breaking what can often be a daunting task down into little bites. (Get it, they were cleaning up after dinner… Little bites…)
As I considered his post, I thought about all the different tools and systems I’ve learned over the years that were geared at how I could be more productive, at work or at home. I also thought about how some worked really well and some just ended up being a struggle to apply.
Nearly twenty years ago, I read a book by Stephen Covey called 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where he taught me about the importance of keeping the main thing the main thing. That’s all I’ll say about that here, but you should consider checking it out if you’ve never read it… Around that same time, I read John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership for the first time and learned about the “3 R’s” in The Law of Priorities.
We’ll circle back to those 3 R’s soon. For now, consider this question from an article I read on Forbes.com called 9 Habits of Productive People; “Why are we all so obsessed with productivity?”
Ilya Pozin, the author of that article, goes on to suggest that this “obsession” could be tied to all the distractions we face in this digital age. To that end, John Maxwell suggested something very similar on the first page of Everyone Communicates, Few Connect when he said that “According to experts, we are bombarded with thirty-five thousand messages a day.” Since that book was printed more than a decade ago, I’d be willing to bet that number has increased significantly!
Regardless of where those messages are coming from, or what we’re engaged in when they’re coming at us, it can certainly take a toll on whether or not we accomplish our task or if we make mistakes in the process. We need to be just as aware of those numbers when we’re attempting to get our message across if we want to have any chance at all of ensuring it makes it through all the other noise…
So back to that question about productivity; why are we so obsessed with it?
For those of us who live and work in private industry, productivity ties directly to revenue and profitability. If we want to do self-absorbed and greedy things like sleep inside and eat food, productivity matters! But even if we’re just considering productivity as it relates to the post my friend shared about coming home to a clean kitchen, wouldn’t we rather knock out tasks like that as quickly and as efficiently as possible than having them looming over us and sucking up time we could be enjoying with our families?
For me, creating systems in various areas of my life has helped me be more productive. Moving forward here, we’ll look at some things we can each consider as we create systems within our routines and how we can make sure those systems serve us long term. Before we do that though, we’ll take a look at how we can begin to prioritize all the things we even need to do. Stay tuned!