Ever felt exhausted at the completion of a day or week and think – will I ever get ahead of my workload?
If so, I recently facilitated a new offering from FranklinCovey called 5 Choices for Extraordinary Productivity. The 5 Choices program outlines key choices for people living what is affectionately called the ‘Modern Day Life’ . The paradox is the world has never been both easier and harder to achieve extraordinary productivity. The ease is the access to technology i.e. Skype, some email, Google etc. and the harder is the amount of unnecessary emails, pressure to respond instantly to requests and ability to escape work.
I will give you an overview of the program and some tips that I found very useful, to help you make a choice to live a life of extraordinary productivity.
The 5 Choices consist of;
- Act on the important. Don’t react to the urgent
- Go for extraordinary. Don’t settle for ordinary
- Schedule the Big Rocks. Don’t sort the gravel
- Rule your technology. Don’t let it rule you
- Fuel your fire. Don’t burn out
In this blog I will go through each the first two steps in brief with tips.
Choice 1 Act on the important. Don’t react to the urgent
The core principle here is successful people have the skill to discern the important from the not so important. We all have a similar capacity to process information, it’s just that some people better regulate what gets in than others. People once filtered the requests face-to-face, however these days in the digital world people receive on average 130+ emails a day and there are limited filters. We constantly react to all the tasks coming our way and find it hard to act on the important. One way to determine the value of a task is to use the time matrix – quadrant of urgent to non-urgent and important to unimportant. Non urgent and important is where we get maximum return for the time we spend. Looking at your tasks and email inbox as a team and allocating each to one of the four quadrants can be very powerful. It can create a common language and also help you remove tasks that are not important and waste everyone’s time. Ever sat in a meeting and thought – Why am I here and not had the conversation with the team on how to improve it? That is OK and from my experience more the norm. To create a point of difference you can take a different approach. The course also provides skills to PAUSE CLARIFY and DECIDE when you are given an urgent non important task.
Choice 2 Go for extraordinary. Don’t settle for ordinary
This part of the course was confronting in a positive way for many participants, as it helped people reflect on their key roles, generally 5-7 and how they were performing. For many it was difficult to pick only 7 as they realised they had many roles in their live and in some cases had spread themselves too thin. Once the roles were defined, you then had to rate yourself as either extraordinary, ordinary or under-performing in the role. This is subjective and there is no right or wrong, just how you see it. From there, people used a simple structure on how to write their role and goal statements. This was a very powerful moment in the course for me as I came to the realisation that I was an ordinary dad. What do I mean by ordinary – well when I came home at night and walked to the park with my children I was there physically however mentally I was still at the office. I didn’t really connect with them and kept using my blackberry. By defining how I was going to be in this moment and setting a goals of three times a week my connection with my children has changed considerably. Extraordinary is relative to your situation. By defining a few roles and setting higher expectations you can live a more extraordinary life than you thought was possible. Remember we all have a similar capacity to process information and we all get 24/7 – what we do with it is what counts.
Next week we will look at the remaining 3 choices.
I highly recommend taking the course as this is only an executive summary. For those that have completed The 7 habits of Highly Effective People (FranklinCovey), they may know that reading the book and hearing about it from someone else is good, but no substitute to doing the course yourself.