There’s an old Project Management joke that describes the six phases on any large project
Panic, hysteria and overtime,
Frantic search for the guilty,
Punishment of the innocent and
Praise and honours for the uninvolved.
As with any good humour, there are some elements of truth and exaggeration in there somewhere.
Perhaps you’ve even experienced some of those six phases.
If you’re like me you want to be productive in both your personal and professional life.
That often can seem like a daunting task.
How can we stay motivated and get things done in the face of adversity?
In his recent book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”, author David Allen offers practical advice on how to achieve greater levels of productivity and efficiency while still enjoying life.
His approach, which emphasizes setting manageable goals, breaking tasks down into smaller parts, and staying organized, is one that can help anyone in their quest for success.
At its core, Allen suggests that becoming more productive starts with understanding our goals and deciding what it is that we want to accomplish.
Begin With The End In Mind.
“You need clarity about what your outcomes are supposed to be before you do anything else.” This allows us to focus on the steps that will lead us towards achieving these goals, rather than getting lost in the details.
Once we have our goal defined, Allen suggests breaking it down into smaller, achievable tasks. This makes each step of the goal more manageable and allows us to feel a sense of progress as we complete them.
The actual steps are as follows:
Capture – Collect all the tasks, thoughts and ideas that are buzzing around your head into a centralized system.
Clarify – Take each item in the system and determine what action steps need to be taken in order to move forward with it.
Organize – Sort and prioritize these tasks based on urgency and importance.
Reflect – Regularly take stock of your progress, and see what processes can be improved or streamlined.
Engage – Finally, start taking action! Tackle the highest priority items on your list first.
Staying organized is also key to staying productive. Often times, lack of organization can lead to wasted time and effort that could be better spent getting things done.
Having a cluttered desk or overstuffed file cabinets full of loose papers can really slow you down.
To combat this, Allen recommends creating a system of filing away important documents and notes that simplifies searching tasks quickly and efficiently.
Keep emails and messages handy and organized into folders on your computer.
Finally, remaining productive requires finding ways to stay motivated. This can come from simple practices such as taking breaks throughout the day, rewarding yourself when you reach milestones, and talking positively to yourself when faced with difficult tasks.
As Allen puts it,
“Productivity isn’t just about doing more; it’s about accomplishing meaningful work in less time.”
All in all, becoming a successful and productive person both personally and professionally does not have to be an impossible task.
By following the advice outlined by David Allen in his book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity”, we can learn to organize our minds and set achievable goals that will ultimately lead to success.
To quote Allen “Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.” So take some time away from your work to relax and regroup – it might just be the most productive thing you do all day! And remember –
“Nothing is impossible… except for maybe trying to do two projects at once!”
Productivity. It’s a tricky skill to master, but once you master it, that can be a game-changer!
And if there is one person who knows how to get it done effectively and efficiently, it’s David Allen.
It’s essential to remember that any productivity system is only as effective as you make it. Just going through the motions won’t make you productive—you have to be consistent and put in the hard work in order to see real results.
Another gem from David Allen:
“You can do anything, but not everything.”
Until next time….