Most leaders I talk with describe their days as a constant frenzy of meetings, emails, and urgent deliverables. How can we reorganize ourselves so that we are using our time to be as productive as possible?
Here is a Productivity Exercise suggested by Kate Northrup in a recent article* in Harvard Business Review.
First, pick an area of your life where you want to improve productivity – perhaps sales for a company exec or fundraising for a nonprofit leader. Get out a piece of paper and entitle it Sales/Fundraising. Draw a line down the middle of the page longways.
Next, on the left side of the page make a long list of all the activities you do to work on this area of activity. For example: Identifying, researching, prioritizing prospects. Meeting with prospects. Visiting with current customers/donors. Networking on Linked In, etc.
Third, on the right side of the page list all of your Big Wins in Sales/Fundraising, such as big sales/big gifts.
Fourth, draw a line from each Big Win on the right side to the activity on the left side that was most responsible for the Win.
Finally, circle every activity that has a line connecting to a Big Win. Prioritize these activities moving forward and consider not doing the others. Maybe you can delegate them.
You can do this for virtually every area of your life – work and personal.
This exercise can help you become more efficient and more productive. It can also help you cut down your To Do list and focus more on doing quality work with your priorities. Sometimes less can really be more productive.
*Northrup, K., “Want to be more productive? Try doing less.” Harvard Business Review online, May 21, 2020.