I’ve never met a leader uninterested in learning how to accomplish more results. On the other hand, I’ve met plenty of leaders who lack the discipline it takes to get there.
Let me start with the good news: You can increase your capacity for production. Sure, talent and natural ability are important, but anyone can become more productive regardless of his or her level of giftedness.
Will you let me help you? I’ve observed and applied the following to my life, and I believe they will benefit you as well.
Four Keys to Growing in Productivity
1. Visualize a winning outcome.
Do you have a vision for what you want to accomplish? If not, there’s your first problem because that’s the starting point. Forest Gump was wiser than he realized when he said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably not wind up there.” You have to begin with the end in mind. Once you have a vision of where you are going, imagine the winning outcome with as much detail as you possibly can.
2. Start working.
Don’t wait until you know how to achieve the vision. My friend Paul Martinelli says, “What makes me productive is that I’m willing to do what I know to do and not get hung up on what I don’t know to do.” Leaders have to be willing to take action in the face of uncertainty. Most people will not begin until they are prepared for one bold certain leap. The truth is, there are very few quantum leaps in life so the people waiting for them are far less productive. If you’re willing to take one small step today that leads to ten tomorrow and one hundred the next day, you will have a chance to make a leap later.
3. Focus longer than other people.
Attempting one thing many times is far more productive than attempting many things one time. Yet this seems to be the strongest temptation for many leaders. I have observed leaders who spend all of their energy on many different goals rather than concentrating time, resources and energy on one goal at a time. And the simple truth is these people are less productive. In a world with more distractions than we’ve ever had, you have a great opportunity to rise to the top through discipline and focus.
4. Constantly reevaluate.
The most productive leaders are always working to find better ways of doing things. And in turn, what they do constantly improves. John Maxwell says that for many leaders best can become the enemy of better—just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean that it can’t improve. Think about it this way: what if your most highly successful asset is actually the very thing that is holding you back from exponential growth because you’re ignoring it’s potential to become better?
Let’s get practical. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen. It is really important that you are honest with yourself for this exercise.
- How would you describe your vision for an ideal future? Describe it in as much detail as possible.
- What are the current downhill habits in your life that are robbing you of your ideal future? Take your time and write them down.
- Finally, what uphill habits do you need to cultivate to replace the downhill ones?
I believe if you put these things into practice you will be more productive. Here’s the harsh reality: the longer you wait, the further your competition will be ahead of you.
So, what are you waiting for?