In honor of the beginning of spring, for the next two weeks Step Up Tips will offer information to help you increase your leadership productivity—using effective tools to change habits.
Take my new client Linda. She recently came to me with two big goals for our work together; one is helping her create a productivity system, because without that, the second goal just can’t happen. We discussed what she had already tried, including reading several books on the subject, list-making, etc., with little sustained result. I suggested we begin with the Covey 4-quadrant system (Urgent and Important, Important but not Urgent, Urgent but not Important, and Not Important/Not Urgent). Although she was familiar with it, she felt it wasn’t enough.
As with many of my highly creative clients who are visionary leaders, she struggled with the ability to maintain a system to manage her multiple projects and daily tasks in a systematic kind of way. I find that every system is good for someone, but perhaps not for any one individual. What’s most important is creating a system that works for how your brain works. That’s just what we did.
Linda and I co-created a productivity system that is based on what will work for her brain. Here’s what we did:
- She’ll place her projects in 30-60-90 day and 6-month buckets. This should include a bucket for personal/life stuff that needs action.
- Each of these buckets has a project heading with a “brain dump” of activity in them.
- Next step is to create action items, including timing and key contacts under each.
- On the next review, she’ll organize the action items in a chronological way.
- Lastly, she’ll transfer the action buckets onto her calendar and schedule these with two 50-minute “power-hours” daily to begin. Research shows that 50-minute power hours with 10-12 minute breaks in between, is optimal for high-performance concentration.
Linda and I have had only two calls so far. She already reports that she’s well on her way and already feeling lighter, more organized confident about being able to lead her organization much more effectively. What’s more, she’s creating a system that works for her and that’s sustainable.
We invite you to post your comments here. If you want assistance with a system that works for you, or to assess your overall leadership effectiveness, contact me.