Time never seems to be enough. But how can we be more efficient and effective with the time we’re given? It really isn’t a question of time management. We’re either over-functioning by being caught up in perfectionism or under-functioning by being caught up in procrastination. Whether we’re procrastinating or we’re in perfectionism, we are in stress. It creates stress for us or it creates stress for other people because we’re not getting into a productive state, and that affects everyone else around us in some shape or form. The book, The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time, talks about the ten core drivers that help us get into and stay in the productivity zone.
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Get Into The Productivity Zone
I want to talk about my unique perspective of time management, and more importantly, how we can be more productive because that’s the end goal. We can talk about specifics around time management, but what are we talking about? We’re talking about wanting to be more efficient and effective in what we do and that isn’t managing time. It has nothing or very little to do with time itself, and so that’s why I want to share my unique perspective. I wrote a book called The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time. It’s a best seller on Amazon in a few categories. I have a perspective that shows you what our productivity looks like in a framework, so that you can better understand where you are and understand what the obstacles and challenges are for you and also what the drivers are to get you back into the zone when you fall out, because we’re human and we do. How do we get back in quicker? How do we stay in longer? Those are the keys to our success.
Imagine a bell curve in front of you. We’re going to use it as a framework. If you imagine those lines that separate the ends, the tails, and the center, those two lines will separate the productivity zone, which is in the center where the ten core drivers are present. When we use any of those ten core drivers, it helps us to get into the zone and helps us to stay into the zone. What’s on the outside is where we’re either over-functioning or under-functioning. When we’re over functioning, we’re caught up in perfectionism. When we’re under functioning, we’re caught up in procrastination. Very simply put, you’re either in one of those states or you’re on your way in the zone. Another distinction that I’d like to give you about that is understanding when we’re not in the zone, then we have a common thing, whether we’re procrastinating or we’re in perfectionism, we are in stress. It creates stress for us and/or it creates stress for other people. Because we’re not getting into a productive state and that affects everyone else around us in some shape or form. Depending on whether you’re working in an office or this is around your family situation, every choice that you make has an impact on those around you as well as yourself.
One of the things I want you to think about is what else is common between procrastinators and people who are in perfectionism? Another common thing is they’re not making decisions. When we’re not making decisions, when we’re in indecision, we’re stressed. Indecision is a state of stress. We want to bring ourselves to be able to better make decisions, keep ourselves in motion, so that we’re getting feedback so that we can shift direction, move forward, and get the result that we’re looking for. We are either procrastinating and staying away from making a decision, avoiding something or we’re overworking something, and therefore also not making a decision to submit it, to complete it and overanalyzing things. Those are both states of indecision.
In a book that I participated in, you got one chapter to decide what you’re going to write about for productivity. I was like, “That is such a big topic. What am I going to do for one chapter?” That chapter I entitled Decision-making is the Heart of Productivity. We can talk about that more in future episodes and we’ll dig more into procrastination and perfectionism of themselves. In this episode, I want you to understand the concept of the framework and to be able to identify when you catch yourself over-functioning or under-functioning. I want to share with you what the ten core drivers are that keep you in the zone or gets you back into the zone when you fall out. They cover three different categories. Those categories are around our mindset, because mindset always comes first, our psychology. The second area is around our strategies and our approach because after we have the right mindset, that’s going to be key in creating the right direction, getting the right things done. Lastly is making it sustainable. We have to have sustainability so that we can continue to move forward and build on top of the great results that we’ve created and get even better results.
Let’s start with those ten drivers in the area of mindset. There are four drivers that fit into the area of mindset. Number one is motivation. You need to be motivated in order to get your best results. Otherwise, that’s where procrastination comes from. It’s understanding how do we tweak our motivation, how do we tap into our motivation, and understanding where we are. One of the key things around motivation is that we’re not always connected to it and tapped into it, so that’s an opportunity to be more consciously aware of where we are and how to tap into it, so that we can stoke the fire. I want to make sure that we understand that with all of these drivers, we’re talking about creating more conscious awareness and creating more conditioning around thinking this way and that is what is going to help us to get in the zone and stay in the zone. If we fall out to be outside for a shorter period of time. Number one is motivation.
Number two is our self-talk. It is understanding and being conscious of the language that we’re using with ourselves and with others and how it might be a limiting the results that we’re getting or how it might be empowering us. We always want to be able to be an empowering self-talk so that we can get the best results. That’s another area to keep in our consciousness. The third area is focus and that’s balancing three areas of focus, which is understanding the strategic element of what you’re focused on, but also mentally where are you focused, and then lastly, our attention of focus.
Number four is our self-care. How well are we taking care of our body that has a direct impact on our mind and vice versa? Are we getting enough sleep? We know that sleep is absolutely critical to being able to be creative and to create clarity. Without enough sleep, you know how it is. If you have kids, especially when they were babies, you felt cloudy and disoriented when you didn’t have enough sleep. You’re not as sharp and your patience goes down. How we take care of ourselves physically makes a big difference. The amount of water that we drink makes a big difference in our hydration. The way that we were meant to move, if we’re not moving, then we’re also slowing down our energy and our ability to create greater focus and greater clarity.
Those are the four areas that make up our psychology or a mindset: motivation, self-talk, focus, and self-care. Then we move into the second area which, is our strategies. That’s going to involve planning. It is understanding what it is that we want to focus on that’s going to get us to our result and then to be able to make sure that we’re planning for what it takes to make that happen. Number two in this area is process. It is understanding that when we create standards, some boundaries, and steps in order to achieve something, we can create leverage. We can delegate it to someone else and have it done at the same quality. We can keep ourselves on track when we have standards in a process. A process is very supportive in us when we want to scale our business, when we want to get something done faster, and when we want to bring others involved in doing it as well. Lastly in that section is priority. Our priority is being clear as what’s the most important thing and being able to balance that urgent, important, and age-old question of how we balance that. That comes into that area on setting priorities. Those are the three areas that make up our strategies: planning, process, and priority.
Lastly, how do we make this all sustainable? In sustainability, we’re talking about progress. How do we recognize our progress, those little wins as well as the big wins so that we can create momentum? From that momentum, then we continue to move forward. “An object in motion stays in motion,” is what we’re told in science. We want to recognize our progress so that we are staying in motion. That includes understanding what we’ve learned from a situation so that we can grow and adapt in the process so that we can stay in motion but also be adapting all the while. That’s progress. Then we have measurement. It is how well are we tracking and measuring those things that are driving our results so that we know where we are and how we’re moving forward. If it’s not something that’s directly measurable, then we can create a measurement for it.
For instance, out of these ten core drivers, I have an assessment that allows you to measure each one by a simple one to ten rating to identify where you are. The first time you take it, that gives you a baseline, and you can do that with anything. Otherwise, you can be measuring actual numbers. You know that salespeople are measuring the number of appointments that they have because the number of appointments are drivers to the number of sales that they’re going to make. If they don’t have an appointment, they’re not going to have sales. That’s why we want to measure those things that are leading up to the result because they are lead and lag indicators. What that means is if we measure the lag indicators, the sales itself, we’re only going to know after the fact. We want to measure the things that are leading the progress. Lastly, in the area of sustainability is proactivity. We’ve got to be proactive. If you want to stay ahead of the game, it’s a matter of taking a look at what risks could be out there and mitigating those risks or identifying where the opportunities are ahead of time and taking action. It’s always being in anticipation and that can come right down to basic time management principles, being proactive at identifying what’s distracting you and eliminate those distractions.
These are the ten core drivers that drive your productivity and you can apply this to any context. You can use this in your health and wellness and say, “I’m going to apply these ten because they’re ten success factors, and productivity is just a byproduct.” When you focus and you condition in these ten areas to be thinking and acting more strategically and focused on these areas, you’re going to see that your overall results are going to increase. You’re going to get more done of the things that are important to you that are driving your results. You’re going to be happier, and you’re going to be more fulfilled as a result because you’re going to spend more time in the productivity zone.
I hope you enjoyed this first session. I’m excited about future episodes where we’re going to go into more detail about procrastination, perfectionism, and the other challenges that you might be having that are keeping you outside of the zone. We’re going to talk about tips, tools, and strategies for you to get the most out of your time and bring your best self to the time that you have. We’re also going to talk to amazing leaders who have achieved great levels of success, great authors who have written fantastic books. They’re going to give us insight into what works for them because success leaves clues and so we want to follow closely to those who have seen great success and what’s working for them.
Part of this exciting series of episodes is that we’re also going to have a book club as part of this process. We’re going to pick a book every month and through that book, we are then going to talk to the author and/or we’re going to discuss it and we’re going to have those discussions directly on Facebook and other types of social media so that we can interact together and we can hear what you’re taking away from the book and also to help to put you into action. It’s not enough that we’re just going to teach you some tips and you’re going to find that interesting. What excites me and lights me up is you getting the results that you want, and the only way you’re going to get that is if you take action. I’m trying to put as much into this podcast and the different broadcasts that we’re going to do so that we can deliver to you the greatest value and that’s also going to help to put you into action that’s going to give you practical tips that you can apply. Then we are able to follow-up and see how are you doing, did you do it, and get the results that you got, celebrate with you, and then get you onto your next step. Thanks for being here. This is Penny Zenker with Take Back Your Time.