The “5 Choices” to achieving extraordinary productivity

Each day brings us a crushing wave of demands: a barrage of texts, emails, interruptions, meetings, phone calls, tweets, and blogs. Not to mention the high-pressure challenges of running and managing your business, which can be overwhelming and exhausting. These distractions threaten your ability to think clearly, make good decisions, and accomplish what matters most – leaving us worn out and unfulfilled.

The 5 Choices
Everyone has the capability to do extraordinary work. In order to do this, you will need to directly address and increase your capability in three areas:   

  • Decision management,   
  • Attention management, and   
  • Energy management.  

The good news is there are 5 Choices that, when consistently made, will help you do this. They are proven and they work! The 5 Choices are time management on steroids: it increases productivity empowering you to make more selective, high-impact choices about where to invest your valuable time, attention, and energy giving you a renewed sense of engagement and accomplishment.

Decision Management
Choice 1: Act on the important, don’t react on the urgent. In order to be truly productive, cultivate the habit of being conscious and intentional about everything you do. Franklin Covey’s Time Matrix model illustrates that people spend their time, attention, and energy in one of four quadrants, depending on how urgent and important their activities are. Visualise the upper right quadrant, Quadrant 2 (Q2), where planned activities are important, but not urgent resulting in extraordinary productivity. Here is where you take charge of your own life and do things that will make a real difference in terms of accomplishments and results.

Choice 2: Go for extraordinary, don’t set for ordinary. Extraordinary means ending each day feeling satisfied and accomplished. Roles are where life happens. Our brains naturally organise information in categories like roles, so take the time to identify the few most important roles in your life today; evaluate how you think you are doing in each of them; then define what success looks like in each role. This will give your brain the targets it needs to greatly enhance the decisions you make every day.

Attention Management
Choice 3: Schedule the big rocks, don’t sort gravel. There is a big difference between thinking about what is important and actually accomplishing it. Have robust planning disciplines and processes in place to execute what is important (Big Rocks), in contrast to all the little things that fill up our lives (Gravel).

Choice 4: Rule your technology, don’t let it rule you. Our current technologies can provide such immediate responsiveness to our actions that we can be caught up in responding to texts and tweets, thinking we are being productive, when in fact we are only being distracted.

Energy Management
Choice 5: Fuel your fire, don’t burn out. We have targeted the brain as the number-one asset and tool that must be optimised. Our mode of life today leads to what scientists call exhaustion syndrome. The rest of us call it burnout. We continually push through each day, postponing the renewal time our brains and bodies need. By contrast, extraordinarily productive people consistently recharge.   More than anything, extraordinary productivity is a question of being conscious at the moment. It is taking small steps each day to cultivate this habit in our lives. When we live our days this way, we find they are much more rewarding and fulfilling. We feel accomplished at the end of every day. And in the end, we may be surprised to find out that a series of extraordinary days has given us an extraordinary life!

Geoffrey Fairhurst, ActionCOACH Business Coach
geoffreyfairhurst.actioncoach.com | geoffreyfairhurst@actioncoach.com

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash