Personal ProductivityHow productive are you?

Over the years I have been working with many personal productivity systems. From paper based systems to digital tools; I have explored them all.

It was only until I discovered Getting Things Done (GTD), that I started to understand that it is not the shiny new tools that will help you to be more productive, but it is the system you adhere to that will help you to stay on top of things. What counts is not what you use, but how you use it!

In a couple of recent coaching engagements my clients were struggling with staying on top of the alliances tasks that needed to be done. Despite their good will and alliance focus, they were loosing overview and things started to fall through the cracks.

These alliance managers were all using the same system to stay on track: they tried to remember everything. This is a system that many people use. Others use their email inbox as a task manager and some use a combination of both.

Unfortunately this leads to no real overview nor control!

Both your inbox and your mind are ugly task managers: your head is for creative ideas and it can only be really creative when it is not swamped by things to remember. Your inbox is to receive mail and it will perform even faster when the inbox is not polluted with hundreds of stalled emails.

Do you recognize this? If so, here are 3 tips for you that are easy to implement and will give you a quick start towards more productivity*:

  1. Choose a systematic way of working (i.e. follow GTD or another methodology), combine it with a favorite list manager and stick to it.
  2. Empty both your inbox and your mind into your favorite list manager! Then, whenever you handle email or become aware of a task that needs to be done: make a choice. Either do the task, defer the task to a later moment and add it to your list manager, or delegate the task if it is not for you.
  3. Keep your goals and focus in mind when choosing to delegate. Ask yourself two questions: “Will this task bring me closer to my goal?” and “Am I the best person to perform this task?”. These questions will help you to increase your productivity by separating the wheat from the chaff. If you decide that delegation is indeed required, do it and make a note in your list manager that will remember you to follow up with the person you delegated the task to, in order to keep track of progress.

There are many more tips that will help you to increase productivity, but these 3 are a good start. In fact, these tips are not just for alliance managers, everyone can benefit from them! Try it and be amazed.

Enjoy a productive week!
*More productivity does not necessarily mean you will need to do more work. It can also mean you will gain more personal quality time!

Some additional reading: