It’s a State of Mind

More important than what we do is

So how do you get things done? Getting things done is a productivity 101 lesson that we all have been through many times and in various forms. The internet floats with many articles, tools, even the acclaimed Get Things Done (GTD) 5-Step Method by David Allen to stress-free productivity, but does one-size-fits-all really work? Don’t get me wrong GTD Method is great as it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention, but what I am focusing in this article is how you are spending your timeis it towards work that needs your attention and how do you even identify the gap.

Growth is defined by one’s ability to recalibrate fast to new situations and then getting things done. This is the principle behind why the first 90-days on the job are the most important. Often people forget that everything is Outcome driven; means you may be doing 100 things but if the outcome is not what the objective was, it does not count. Your daily transactions have to contribute to higher goals. Remember, more important than what we do is What We Get Done.

As many before me, I too have gone through this vicious cycle of working relentlessly at tasks but the work-load never seems to drop and somewhere somehow it has impacted the quality of output in the long run. What has helped increase productivity is the “Self Reflection Calendar (SRC)“. It is a simple time-spent vs goals achieved calendar activity that you do for a month and then do a honest self-reflection to determine wasted-energy vs productive-energy.

wasted-energy: time that could have been better utilised; had no contribution to the goals
productive-energy: time that led to effective decision making; resulted in goal realization

Self Reflection Calendar (SRC) is a 7-Step calendar activity:

  1. Set clear daily, weekly and monthly goals. It is ok if they are reshuffled as the week progresses (as is in the real world) as long as you are honest with the reprioritization.
  2. Create calendar tasks for everything, even the 15-mins meetings. The idea is to create a time snapshot depicting how you are spending your time on a daily basis.
  3. Label the tasks with meaningful names so that they are easy to categorise at the end of the month.
  4. DO NOT perform a daily or even a weekly review at this stage. It actually hinders the true objective of the exercise. Simply continue step 2 and step 3 with the aim of recording everything you do on a day-to-day basis.
  5. At the end of the month, look back at the calendar to create a Self Reflection Calendar (SRC) Log. Classify each task under either wasted-energy or productive-energy. Ask yourself these questions:
    • days you met the daily goal and how much was wasted-energy vs productive energy?
    • days you could not meet the daily goal and wasted-energy vs productive energy?
    • weeks you met the goal and the cumulative wasted-energy vs productive energy number?
  6. Determine tasks from the pattern that emerges to identify gaps and then work on them. Reflect on the time you’ve spent on tasks which now you have classified as wasted-energy. What can you do to avoid this going forward. It’s all about minimising this loss.
  7. If your productive-energy numbers are not beyond 80% of your total time spent, then re-caliberate till you reach that percentage. Remember, It’s a State of Mind.

This simple yet effective exercise if done honestly will yield results. Be True and Persevere.