Productivity Alphabet Soup

By March 9, 2016 Blog

One of my goals for 2016 is to teach what I learn from the dark side of being an entrepreneur, leader and human. I want to share my failures, struggles, fears etc in the hope that others will learn from that – and I will use these learnings to grow as well.

So here is one … I suck at being productive.

I’ve struggled to be productive my entire life. Or more accurately, I struggle to be productive when I don’t FEEL like being productive.  I have learned recently that this particular weakness is rooted in impulse vs initiative. This means that when I lose the power of choice, my “productivity” is only impulsive and not proactive. It permeates other parts of my life: fitness, learning, relationships, content creation, finances. If I feel like it, I do it. If I don’t feel it, I will still do it … eventually. And only after wallowing in shame and self-pity.

Any weakness is an opportunity to improve and the opportunity to use a system to create new habits. Having tried an extensive variety of other people’s productivity systems, I only learned that I’m good at not implementing other people’s productive systems #snark.

So in early 2016, I created my own. I call it the “Alphabet Soup” productivity system. I divide my time (which includes focus and energy) into four categories:

MCW – Mission Critical Work: One of our mantras at root + river is “Strategy first, tactics” second, so I apply that to productivity as well. MCW are action items that are directly tied to a strategy or iniative. I typically map that out in groups of 3 – 5 strategic goals – then decide weekly and daily what action needs to be taken to reach those goals. I never have more than five MCW items per week to keep focused – and to make sure that everything doesn’t become mission critical!

GSD – Get [Stuff] Done. This is a phrase I picked up from my business partner Emily Soccorsy. It’s exactly as it sounds – make a list and get it done. I start each morning with a fresh list of no more than seven GSD items. For me, it almost always follows in this order: 1) client work 2) business development and 3) grow the brand. This order keeps me client-centric – which is good for business development and growing the brand.

MSH – Make Someone Happy. For me this is more spiritual than tactical. If someone crosses my heart, I always reach out with at least a text or an email. I also have a rolling list of 8 – 10 influencer relationships that I apply the “Go Giver”principles to. Which, simply put, is “How can I serve them”?  This extends out to conversations with strangers where I try to engage their hearts with a smile or a conversation.

WOM – Work on Me.  In this area, I am trying to follow the counsel and coaching I give to my Austin Sessions clients. Which is this: self-worth drives everything else. I try to work on something weekly and daily in what I call the 5 Pillars of Self-Worth: 1) Physical output 2) Intellectual input 3) Emotional sensitivity 4) Spiritual intelligence and 5) Passion/energy. Each pillar has a 1 – 5 rating (5 the highest) with an action item for each one to move that rating up. I have found without exception that when my pillar ratings are 3.5 or higher, I’m far more productive.

Keep in mind that these are just a system for productivity. As soon as you become a system worshipper, the system is no longer effective. As such, these are no replacement for deep connections, honest conversations, shared adventures and the unexpected magic of life. But they may help you GSD as long as you remember to do MCW first, don’t forget to MSH – and above all, WOM!

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