The Tools to Championship Productivity
Happy Hump Day everyone! We’re on the eve of Thanksgiving and many of us will be traveling out of town to visit friends and family. Others of us might just be on a stay-cation, but whatever your plans are, be safe.
We know it can get especially trying at the end of the calendar year to finish projects and marketing campaigns. You’re pushing to meet deadlines and head into the new year with a clean slate. However, we’re also taking time to enjoy the holiday festivities while experiencing a greater frequency of days off.
Factor in the good eating and the 10 pounds you stand to gain in the span of a month, and now closing out the year on a solid note becomes a trying task. Don’t worry, we got your back.
While we gather round to give thanks, let’s take a page out of the playbooks of the NFL (and Entrepreneur) and see how we can adopt a winning strategy to march into 2016 triumphantly.
- Understand planning vs. execution
“I was taught early on that I should plan my work and then work my plan. The best strategy in the world won’t be effective if it isn’t backed up with muscle and sweat.”- Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame
You couldn’t have made it through the entire year without having a plan of action. Embrace this good habit and remember to set attainable end of the year goals. Lateral movement is an important aspect to being flexible, but you should always be driving downfield with purposeful intent.
2. You can’t improve what you don’t measure
“Numbers don’t lie; every incremental improvement you make can be measured and compared to previous productivity. A graph of your achievements, with the line going up, is just as good as a pat on the back from the boss.” Cameron MacMillan, C0-Founder of Daily Fantasy Sports
It’s an age old adage that numbers provide a blog of record. They allow you to post a benchmark and then set a goal in which to strive for consistently. Playing on a advanced level over time increases your skill set aptitude, therein positively affecting your productivity. In layman’s terms, raise the bar for yourself.
3. Stay away from time wasters
“I can either play golf or play on the internet — guess which one I chose?”- Tiger Woods
It’s easy to become distracted with YouTube, sports updates, and online shopping deals as you go about your workday. Remind yourself that you’ll never get your work done if you’re giving up valuable time to distractions like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
If you feel the need to take a break, try a short meditation or stretching routine to keep your mind clear and your blood flowing.
4. Make room for down time
“I not only plan to win, but also plan for player down time — it’s a given that has to be factored in. Instead of pulling out my hair in frustration, I just leave some wiggle room in the schedule, so that when it happens I already have a way of dealing with it. That’s why so many coaches go crazy — they never plan for player down time.”- Vince Lombardi
Although this may seemingly contradict our last tip, down time doesn’t necessarily refer to intermittent productivity breaks. Instead, we mean taking time out in the event of unforeseen circumstances or just to indulge in yourself. If you work hard, remember to play hard.
5. Compete against yourself, not against others
“I only try to beat my own record. That way I never waste any time getting mad at anyone else or being discouraged.” Sasha Trubnikov, former Olympian.
This goes back to measuring your own performance and setting benchmarks of achievement. We each have our own learning styles, areas of strength, and weak points. Therefore, seek to be inspired by your own achievements and set goals in accordance with your measured performance– define clearly thought out goals.
“What’s a calendar for if it don’t keep my head empty for other things?” Yogi Berra, New York Yankees Catcher/Coach
Use a calendar to keep your head clear for the work that’s in front of you. If you try to remember it all, you can become stressed by the increase in seasonal events. Ultimately, it will lead to items or projects left in an unfinished state. So remember, whether it’s a physical calendar or on Google Drive, use these productivity tools to lighten your mental load.
7. Don’t be afraid to try
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”- Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Fame
Don’t be afraid to take a different approach or do what’s never been done. There will be setbacks and more importantly, you’ll have to make it up as you go along. Remember, there’s no road map of uncharted territory, but if you don’t give it a try, you’ve already failed. Don’t was time time worrying that your project will fail, otherwise you’ll never get started.
Productivity should be more than just busy work. It should be purposeful and actionable. If you perform your due diligence in the planning phase, all that’s left to do is execute. And when you execute your plan you’ve, do so with confidence because you’ve done your homework. Using all of these steps in conjunction with the aid of a little caffeine, you can help cap of 2015 on a high note.