Productivity Techniques + Habits = Achievement
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about 3 productivity techniques – the Pomodoro Technique, Getting Things Done, and the Storyline Productivity Schedule . Each technique involved the use of working on a project in chunks. Working on a project till it is done, without interruption or interference. This dedication to a project, be it large or small, is key to each of these techniques.
I have been using the Storyline technique now for some time, and am enjoying the apparent increase in my own productivity. I do hope you took the time to download it and read over the procedure. In 15 minutes you’ll have the technique down.
Start using it tomorrow. Don’t skimp on the steps and don’t fudge on the sequence. Donald Miller has thought this out very carefully. Skip the 20 books he read to get to this point, and accept that possibly – just maybe – this might help you reach your goals.
So what has stood in your way so far? Why aren’t you reaching your goals? Why do you procrastinate? Do you self-sabotage your dreams? Maybe you are inconsistent. Maybe you can’t stick to any method for long. What do you need, besides a great productivity method, to reach your goals?
Before I answer that, let’s look at what is now a classic demonstration that was made famous by Stephen Covey who wrote, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. He calls this “The Big Rocks of Life”.
For those of you who haven’t heard this, here it is. There are two large buckets. Beside them you have two equal pails of sand, two equal pails of pebbles, and two equal pails of big rocks. In the first bucket he pours one pail of sand, then he pours the pebbles from a pail onto the sand, then begins to place the big rocks on the pebbles. He is only able to fit half the big rocks from the pail into the bucket.
In the second bucket he begins with the big rocks, placing all the big rocks from one pail, then the pebbles from one pail which fill some of the spaces between the big rocks, then he pours the sand over the pebbles and big rocks. The sand sifts around the rocks and pebbles filling any remaining space. Everything fits with room to spare.
The bucket represents your life and the contents of the pails are filled with tasks/projects you need to do. The point of the analogy is made perfectly clear – perform your big tasks first, then those of lesser importance, then the tasks that are least important. The idea is that you should perform your ‘heavy lifting’ first while your mind and body are alert and fresh. In this way, he says, you can get everything done during your day, week, or month.
This concept has worked well for most people. Donald Miller of Storyline certainly uses this method in his Productivity Schedule. And for the most part, I agree that this is the best path to take to get more done. However, don’t start to think that this method will guarantee that you will accomplish everything on your list. In using Donald’s technique I find that I am still not getting all the tasks done that I expect to finish each day. As you take a deeper look into these techniques, I think you’ll become aware that even though you are working on large priorities first, and then items that are not so important, you may not be getting everything done.
When that happens, step back and analyze the situation. The issue may be that you simply have more rocks, pebbles, and stones than you could ever fit in the bucket in the first place, no matter how hard you try. If that’s the case, then it’s time to give some of the aggregate to others to perform.
No matter what method you use to get your tasks done, if you are not consistent, you will eventually fall behind and be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks ahead. And this is where I once again tip my hat to Donald Miller. He makes it very clear that you should use his technique for 30 days. Not fifteen days, not every other day – thirty days in a row. Once you’ve done this he says you probably won’t even need to fill out the forms any more. Because you’ve created a habit. Habits get things done. Habits don’t get things done. Depends on the habit.
Here’s a poem by an unknown author that makes this exceedingly clear:
The Habit Poem
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to
I am completely at your command.
Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them – quickly and
I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am Habit.
If that doesn’t drive the point home, nothing will. What a powerful statement. What will you change in your life as you examine your habits? Does this clarify some of the reasons you are succeeding or failing? Will it help you stop procrastinating and start reaching higher and higher to ever loftier goals?
In closing, I hope you have a wonderful week. Be steadfast, live with intent, and decide which habits you are going to adopt, and which habits you are going to drop.
Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall
Randall S Soules
Remodeling coach, adviser, and educator
My one-on-one coaching will take your remodeling business to new heights!
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