Productively speaking, there is one question to ask to get more done this year: “What will I focus on?”
By Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA - Workplace Performance Expert
Have you ever heard a co-worker say something like:
“This is going to be difficult.”
“We’re definitely going to run out of time.”
“The people we have to deal with make this challenging.”
A teacher once told me, “Jason, you’re always right...in your own mind.” What he meant was that everything from my perspective seemed to make sense. I was doing the right things, working on the right projects and going to the right meetings because, well...I was!
Take a moment to think about your productivity and workplace performance. How will this next year play out for you? For your team? What will you put your attention on? Answer these types of questions, and you’ll get a clearer picture of your “Performance Perspective.”
There is one question to ask to be more productive this year: “What will I focus on?” This is a great question to ask yourself in the morning, during a long meeting, and when you’re leaving the office in the afternoon.
The advice to “be here, now” is good; you’ve probably heard it before. But this advice works only if you have systems and processes in place to manage what you need to do when you “are there, later.”
And here is a productivity touchpoint: What you get done “there” will depend on what you think about and plan “here.”
Here’s an exercise you can practice over the next month. Each Wednesday, take out a blank piece of paper and draw a line, top to bottom, down the middle of the page. On the top of the left column, write: DONE. On the top of the right column, write: NEEDS FOCUS.
Under the DONE column, make sure you write a minimum of 10 things before you head on over to the NEEDS FOCUS side. This process gets you to practice focusing on completion, recognizing just how much DOES get done in a week of work. When you have come up with your list of completions, then ask yourself this question, and write the answers on the right hand side:
“What needs longer blocks of focus time?”
Ideally, you’ll come up with three to five of these items. Schedule 25- 45-minute blocks on your calendar for the next week and write in these topics as “meetings.” Remember, start gradually and be consistent. You might be surprised at how easy something is if you work on it, and only it, three times for 35 minutes at a time this week.
For more information, visit www.womackcompany.com or