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MYA_FearCoasterYour focus from minute-to-minute every day is what builds your day. The productivity of your every day makes up the productivity of your week. Adopt these simple habits to increase your personal effectiveness and professional presence. Watch your productivity skyrocket and the frenzy plunge.  Working harder and running faster doesn’t lead to higher productivity!

1. Learn to say no and become a good quitter. In the words of Warren Buffet,  “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” You can’t do everything. Well, you can’t do everything and expect to make major strides in any one area of your skills development, career plans, or personal goals. Choose what you will concentrate on and be ready to give up other projects or activities if they are not right in line with your priorities.

2. Let go of perfectionism. It’s just fear in disguise. Author Liz Gilbert put it perfectly when she said, “Perfectionism is just fear in expensive shoes.” If you are a perfectionist, it’s time to take an honest look at why you have fostered this personality trait, and how you can let loose on the reigns. Your perfectionism is most likely based on fear. It makes you difficult to work with and creates unnecessary tension on your team. Do your best in all things, but recognize that not being perfect actually makes you a more secure person.

3. Get everything out of your head and onto a list.  Business leader and author of Getting Things Done, David Allen, advocates a clear head as the default setting on your life. Anything that comes into your system–an email, phone call, new project, etc.–goes onto a list, and you prioritize the list. If you fill your brain with details and try to mentally juggle everything that needs to be addressed, worked on, developed, or managed, you will elbow out the new ideas, strategizing and problem solving that you should be doing.

4. Stop planning, start doing. Plans are fun to make, aren’t they? If we make a project plan or department plan, or personal goals plan, it already feels like you’ve accomplished something. The trouble is that you really haven’t. The solution is to make a plan and an immediate action you can take to get started. This will keep you from resting on your plan, and get you started right away on making progress. The ultimate goal is to get it off your list entirely, right? Get on with it and check it off of your list.

5. Focus on outcomes, not activities. When  you see your coworkers or even check in with family and friends, what do they reply to your initial “How are you?”  How do you typically reply to that same question? You say you’re busy, right? Busy is the new fine. We’re all really busy, and it makes us feel good. We feel productive if we’ve had an insanely busy day. The reality is that to really gain ground you should  find new and efficient ways to accomplish your goals, use that extra time to compose yourself and plan your next activity. The next time someone asks you, “How are you?” you can reply, “Outstanding!” and really mean it.

6. Embrace personal accountability. It will set you free. Really! People who feel personally accountable for their jobs (and lives) also are taking the power back from the many influences around them that vie for attention and energy. You decide what your priorities are, and you’ll find that it’s easier to commit and follow through on them. If you allow others to take charge or set your priorities, you may find that you’ve lost your way. We all need to do our jobs as outlined by our organization. But do it with your own initiative, not depending on what others tell you to do. Control your day in a way that keeps you in the driver’s seat.

*This is a partial repost. See the full post at www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com, where you can learn about performance management, productivity, personal effectiveness, and other practical keys to successful leadership.

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