How To Be More Productive: The Formula

Too much to do, overbooked
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OverBookedThere are so many books, apps, seminars, workshops and types of software on increasing productivity that you’d think we’d have it down by now.

Productivity planning for left brainers, right brainers, creatives, those who are visual, those who prefer to listen, those who prefer storyboarding.

AH! Too much.

When I think back to the thousands and thousands of dollars I’ve invested trying to find *the* productivity gem. The one nugget that will miraculously result in my walking into the office, wiggling my nose and having it all done, well. . .you get the idea.

Truth is, the best process, is the one I learned years ago from my 6th grade math teacher, Mr. Gushee.

He overheard several of us complaining that we wouldn’t be able to get a big English book report done.

30+ years later and I still remember that project. It included the standard 10-page book report plus a diorama, sample quiz for others and a bunch of other stuff.

I digress…

Mr. Gushee sat us down and told us to approach it like a math problem.

  1. How many hours did we have in a week? 168 hours.
  2. How many of those hours were “taken” with school, sleeping, etc. So for purposes of our discussion here, how many hours are taken up with biological necessities (sleeping, eating) plus commitments (dropping kids off at school, meetings)? Let’s average 8 hours of sleep/bathing and 3.5 hours for meal prep/eat/clean-up each day. That’s 80.5 hours, leaving 87.5.
  3. How much time for friends, family, quiet time & fitness? Let’s say 3 hours/day, leaving us with 66.5 hours.
  4. If we average 7 hours/day in the office M-F, we’re left with 31.5 hours to do with as we please.
  5. Amazing. . .when we break things out mathematically, it feels as if we have tons of time.

So why aren’t we getting more done? (More on that here.)

First off, I recommend you track your time for a few days – not in 15 min increments, but in big chunks. How much time in the office (plenty of time to analyze what you’re doing while in there later)? How much time hanging out with family and friends? Sleeping?

Then do the above exercise for yourself.

Once you’ve determined your “Office Allotment” of your weekly hours, it’s time to break that down. How much time on Admin, Fulfillment (serving clients/customers), Marketing and Development?

Office Allotment

Per the graphic above, they are not meant to have equal time (grab a copy of the Overcome Overwhelm report if you don’t yet have).

Schedule these chunks of time into your calendar system. So you may have from 9 – 10am each Monday on Development/Planning, 10:15 – noon on Marketing, 12:30 – 2:30pm on Marketing, 2:45 – 3:30pm on Fulfillment.

Then look at your tasks/projects and slide them into the appropriate slots on your calendar. For example: Writing blog posts, newsletter, direct mails would fall under the Marketing slot. Answering client emails would fall into the Fulfillment slot.

Your turn. . .give it a try and let me know what you think.

What are your best practices for getting things (the “right” things based on your goals) done? Please share in the comments section below.