Do you know what you do? See what gets done.
Develop a clearer picture of your own personal productivity and professional development. Keep some record of your performance. Best done (at a minimum) weekly, this “review process” gives you significant information you need as you continue making your best better. It’s as easy as writing something down or taking a picture. It does NOT take a lot of time and the cumulative value of this kind of weekly assessment is clear after just 8 weeks of practice. What have I learned by doing this? Two things:
1. I do more than I think I do.
At the end of a 5-10 day cycle (yes, I try to do this weekly but sometimes it just works better to stop “from time to time” and think) of work, I look back and reflect on what I’ve worked on lately. This gives me semi-objective information and allows me the time to assess the balance between what I intended to do and what I actually put my attention on.
2. I do not always work on the Most Important Things (MITs).
More and more these days, the people I meet and work with are focused on the BIG “P” … that is, the question of “Prioritization.” During the day, and even during a week, it’s easy to get sidetracked and work on things that show up by may not have been planned. In some cases even, what we work on conflicts with the priorities and projects we “know” we need to be managing.
Here is a 5-week experiment I encourage you to take on. Total time invested will be LESS THAN 45 minutes (I promise!) and the potential value of this just may change the work you work, lead and execute for the rest of your life. (In the comment area below, please do leave your ideas, experiences and challenges with this activity. I can’t wait to read all about it!
a. Open your (paper or digital) calendar to NEXT Thursday.
b. Around 10:30am, add a “NEW” appointment.
c. Write on your calendar: “5 minute weekly review”
d. Make this a Recurring Appointment just for the following 5 Thursdays
e. Each Thursday, at the appointed time, STOP and write (on a sticky note or 3X5 note card, or in a digital list)
f. Write down what you remember doing, working on, overlooking, and finishing over the past 7 or so days
g. At the end of the 5 weeks, consider sitting down with a friend, colleague or mentor.
h. Discuss that activity: What did you mean to do, what got done, what could you change over the next month?
Ok, your turn. Go for it, and consider coming back in a month or so to comment on this activity!