Whether you’re a small business owner or an executive at a multinational company, whether you work in sales or operations, whether you’re based in Singapore or San Francisco, you have the same 24 hours in a day as the person next to you. Time is the great equaliser.
But how is it that some people are able to maximise their time to get more done in a day, while others struggle to eke out a few minutes each month to reach their goals? It’s as if some people have cracked the code to achieving more in less time.
Here’s a system I started using that has yielded some amazing results.
The KISS principle says that most systems work best if they’re kept simple rather than made complicated; simplicity, in other words, should trump unnecessary complexity whenever possible.
Simple Yet Effective
I spoke with Neen recently and she shared with me the super simple, yet highly effective system she uses to double her output in half the time.
“I write three things [that need to get done that day] on a Post-It note and carry it with me all day,” she says with a laugh.
Though she giggles at her “super fancy” method — as she calls it — the system is nothing to laugh at. Its effectiveness lies in its simplicity because it forces busy people to prioritise their daily tasks and focus on the things that are important.
“It’s a decision filtering system,” she says. “Each time I want to waste time, or when I get distracted, I have three things, and I get a choice around whether I’m going to move those particular things forward or [whether] I’m going to waste time.”
Productivity is no longer about tracking time, Neen says, it’s about tracking what you focus on.
“What we have to get clever about is about the resources we have, and how we are going to invest those resources so that we have the ability to do the best work we can,” she says.
Neen starts off by chunking her day into 15-minute increments. It is, she contends, the key to productivity.
She recommends creating a 15-minute appointment with yourself every single day. At the top of the day, identify your three non-negotiable activities for the day. That means, identify the top three things that are going to drive your business or performance at work that day.
“They are the things that need to be done before your head hits the pillow at night,” she says.
Doing The Things That Matter Most
The reason why a Post-It note is so effective is because it’s compact and portable. I can carry it everywhere with me and mark off the three most important tasks when I’m done.
Here’s the thing, though: they aren’t just any old tasks. They are the high-level tasks that I’ve taken the time to identify at the beginning of the day that will move the needle in my business — because, after all, isn’t that what being productive is all about? Doing the things that matter most?
“It’s about creating significant moments that matter,” Neen says.“And that’s the thing with time: once you spend it, you never get it back.”
Ian Altman is the bestselling author of Same Side Selling and Host of the Grow My Revenue Business Cast.
(All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent MentorYes’s viewpoint or recommendations. Readers are advised to consider and evaluate the views presented here before implementing them in their preparation or otherwise.)