• Do you work late nights and weekends, and feel guilty that you’re not spending more time with your family?
  • Are you frequently overwhelmed or discouraged with your progress?
  • Do you find “to do’s” in your office when the time to do them is long gone?
  • Are you frequently starting new things, but not finishing them?
  • Do you spend the majority of your time doing things you dislike?

I’ve always said that what I teach my clients I’ve learned from experience. What I want to share with you here certainly comes in that category. I’ve recently gone through a major restructuring of my life – to a large extent because I answered “Yes” to too many of the questions above! Based on my experience, here are five simple (Notice I didn’t say “easy!”) steps to help you significantly increase your productivity and decrease your stress:

1. Set aside time to identify what really matters to you in life. As the old saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” Many of us are like ducks swimming across the water – we look calm, but underneath we’re paddling like crazy – and going in circles! It takes real courage to stop long enough to assess your current situation. An important priority in my life is music – but you certainly couldn’t tell it by looking at my calendar! Now I make appointments with myself to play the piano.

2. Figure out what it is you do best and spend the majority of your time doing it. Two things prevent us from doing that:

1) Trying to do too many things for too many people. The most profitable businesses focus their products and services for a specific audience.

2) Spending time doing what someone else could do. With a world economy and virtual technology, the possibilities for hiring or subcontracting people to do what you don’t do best are limitless. Sure it takes time to train someone else, but if you don’t, you’ll be limiting the time you have for what you want to do. As a child I remember seeing an old Burma Shave sign: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for next 30 miles.”

3. Make your office a place where you can accomplish your work and enjoy your life. My passion is helping people create and sustain what I can a “productive environment” -- an intentional setting in which everything around you supports who you are and who you want to be. Look around your office. How does it make you feel? If it’s anything negative, you can’t afford it! Eliminate clutter by asking, “Does this help me accomplish my work or enjoy my life?” If not, it’s clutter, and you don’t need it.

4. Use technology tools to streamline your life. Growing up on the farm in Nebraska, my daddy always said “Half of any job is having the right tool.” Actually it’s more than having it -- it’s using it! Sometimes it can be something quite simple -- I recently threw out a can opener that caused me to spill something every time I used it. Other times it’s more major. Several years ago I converted to a MacBook. I admired Apple products for years, but didn’t purchase one because most of my clients were Windows-based. With the advent of the cloud and a change in my role in the company, being a PC user was no longer a necessity. My productivity has increased and my stress level has decreased significantly!

5.Every time you think to yourself, "I need (or want) to ..." continue on by asking "What is the NEXT action?" and "When?" If it is just one task, make an appointment with yourself to actually do it. (Isn’t it amazing how great we are at doing what other people ask of us, and keep procrastinating about what we need or want to do for ourselves?) If it is a major project, break it down into tasks which you can schedule. If the project has a deadline, start at the end and work backwards.

And here’s a bonus tip:

6. Continually ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time right now?” and encourage everyone around you to do the same."

If you answered yes to more than one of the questions above, I recommend our Office Transformation QuickStart as a first step to making changes in your office, your business, and ultimately your life! Get Lifetime or Monthly Access. Click here to learn more.

What's your Productivity Score? Click here to find out!