Productivity is a Mindset

Get your priorities straight. There will always be more work than you have time to complete. The key is identifying the tasks that are both urgent and important, and move them up to the top of the to-do list. Keep in mind, pressing work tends to take priority over the important tasks. Don't let that happen–focus on both items with clear thinking.

Focus strictly on what drives growth.Of the dozens of things that crowd the day revolving around the things you need to do, the reality is that over 90% will improve your business— but only incrementally. It’s the 10% that holds the magic for growth.

With that in mind, stay focused on the 10 percent. What are the few principal things that will drive growth? You really have to understand the key drivers of your business and anything that doesn’t move those drivers isn’t a high priority.

Self discipline.

As a business manager/owner you can’t afford to spend time doing things you enjoy at the expense of critical tasks. Make sure you remain focused on your business-related duties.

Always handle the hardest thing first.

We naturally avoid things we don’t want to do. Whatever you don’t want to do–that’s the first thing you should do. Get rid of the negative energy right away. Whatever your list the ten things you need to do today, it’s a sure bet that one item is worth ten times more than the rest. Our natural tendency is to put it off until later. We come up with clever reasons not to get that one thing done.

Identify and remove bottlenecks.

One of the most commonly-assigned readings in business schools is The Goal written by Eli Goldratt. This book explains the “Theory of Constraints” and the summary is “Find and improve the constraining factor — no other work will matter.” If you’re not up for reading the whole book, the basic idea is once you have defined the goal there are really only two questions:

  • What’s the current limit?

  • What’s the obvious way to improve the limit?

The key is to look at the whole system to find the limit. In your company, is the limit delivery, deadlines, production quotas, mistakes, or whatever… Don’t let it wait.

As always, I’m available to discuss your business with you in confidence. Don’t hesitate to contact me.

-Wayne Suchy

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