The secret to getting an amazing amount of work done in a very short period of time is to plan a vacation.
Yep! Most anyone who plans to leave on a vacation on Tuesday has the ability to do about 7 days worth of work on Monday, and they’ll brag about their “Super-productivity.”
In a tight football game with very little time remaining on the clock, the trailing team can muster a “Hurry-up-Offense,” march down the field in RECORD time – and SCORE!
All of this begs the question: “If we have these super-human powers, why don’t we use them more frequently?”
Why not be super-productive 4 hours each day instead of slogging away every day for 8 (or more) hours?
Given the math above, we’d also be able to work 3 days a week instead of 5.
On the flip side of this coin, how many meetings have you attended that were scheduled to be an hour, and the business to be handled was completed in 20 minutes?
Did everyone acknowledge that it was “over” and then move on to other things . . . or did the group continue to hash and rehash the issue to fill the allotted hour?
Our human tendency is to fill the allotted time whether it means that we shift into hyper-productive mode or we flounder.
With great fascination, I see this play out every morning within one segment of my every morning as I take our kids to school.
Both of our children must be at school no later than 8 AM, and they both like to be at least 25 minutes early. The route takes us @ 6 miles into downtown to drop off one, then 3 miles back for the other, then ending at my office.
“Success” is dropping Jessica off at EXACTLY 8:24 . . . Allison at 8:35 . . . and me parking in the garage at work at 8:43.
For this to happen nearly EVERY day, we can leave the house any time between 6:58 and 7:12 AM (Yes – a 14 minute “sweet spot”). Somehow, regardless of where in that 14 minute window we leave, I make these deliveries at precisely the prescribed times an amazing number of times. Traffic doesn’t seem to be relevant . . . It seems to be mostly about my intensity.
For all of the above to “work,” there must be ONE thing known . . . What defines “Success” of this task?
Unless we KNOW the goal, none of the rest is relevant, and we’re just filling time . . . no need for any concerns about “productivity and intensity.”
Without knowing the goal, how will we know when “it” (the task) is over/completed?
Here’s a simple little trick to fool yourself into achieving higher levels of personal and professional productivity:
Prior to the start of ANY meeting or task, spend a few minutes to define the goal. At the point at which ANY participant senses that the goal has been met, that participant has full rights to ask “THE QUESTION”
“Is it OVER?”
Assuming the group consensus is that Yes the Mission has been accomplished, everyone can move along and make themselves useful in other pursuits.
A simple mantra . . . Before starting anything, define the goal and the amount of time allotted.
Do this also for each day, week, month, year . . .
and Enjoy all that extra “free” time you create 🙂