Purpose, Priority and Productivity

COVID-19 has changed our schedules. Now working at home without a commute, many of us may find ourselves with some extra time that we use to either do additional work or aimlessly sift through the endless Netflix or Prime menus.

Where is someplace between the two that is more productive and better for you?

There are so many ideas worth sharing, learning and using that just 10 minutes a day with a book can change your life – and improve the lives of others. In fact, books have introduced me to how to be present to my world, own who I am, think big, encourage others and manage my emotions, just to name a few.

One of the books I read that I have been recommending to my clients is Gary Keller’s, The One Thing (The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results). The focus of this book is to get clear about your purpose because it helps you identify your priorities. Your priorities, once they are intentionally created, drive your productivity.

It made me realize that one of the unintended consequences of COVID-19 is that it gave us a rare opportunity to reset our lives. It gave us the chance to stop and notice what was working and what wasn’t working in both personal and professional lives. It gave us the chance to ask ourselves What could I do to make this better?

And in his book, Keller shares his guidance on how you can make [anything] better: with purpose, priority and productivity.

Purpose. When you stop all the noise of the world spinning around you, what is it you are trying to do? What matters to you? What is the one thing you want to do or achieve today, this week, or even this year? Getting clear about this will help you rule in – or out – other things as they start to show up. I like to think of it in two buckets: the things that support my direction and goal, and the things that don’t. This way, I have the ability to wisely and intentionally respond to my world instead of reacting to it. I know my road and my path. Though you need to be adaptable and flexible to respond to a changing world, ask yourself what is important enough for you to focus on. What is the one thing you want to achieve, do or be? Take a moment and define it.

Priorities. With clarity of purpose, you can more successfully create your priorities. I like to think of these as daily, weekly and monthly. What do I want to achieve this month that will help me achieve my purpose or my one thing? When you intentionally identify your priorities for the month, you can break them down by week and by day. Following this approach allows me to direct my best attention to the things that will help me achieve what I want for me, my family, my work and my life. So, with the additional time that many of us have because of quarantine, no commuting and limited leisure activities, clearly define what your A, B and C priorities are. A priorities get the most attention and, ideally, they are connected to your purpose. The Bs and Cs come along with life in general.  My daily to-do list helps me stay focused on doing the things that matter to achieve the things that matter. What are your priorities for today? This week? This month?

Productivity. Focusing on priorities increases your ability to be productive. You don’t waste time on things that don’t support your goals. You do things that fit your talents, strengths and passions. The result is that you feel more energized and more engaged, able and interested to do more, be more, achieve more. Confidence increases because you are clearer about what you want and that what you want really matters.

Take Action
As we march toward yet another change as we adjust to the back-to-school season and many organizations with remote or hybrid remote workplaces, stay focused on purpose, priorities and productivity. Don’t let the minutes, hours, days and weeks get away from you, locked on to season after season of Netflix or Prime shows. Sure, build in some leisure time, but stay productive by getting clear of your purpose and defining your priorities. Then revel in the difference you make for yourself and others.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading To React or Respond, That is the Question

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