It’s important to stay focused in a season of growth. One way to successfully do so is by staying productive. Here are three hacks that I have adopted from other individuals that have helped me tremendously.
The first is the Power 5 List from Andy Frisella, who has the MFCEO Project Podcast that I learn a great deal from. The podcast is a bit profane, however, the episodes are very focused and very motivational. The Power 5 List is a list of five things that, no matter what your day looks like, you do no matter what. Here is my Power 5:
- Work out.
- Bible study and a 10-minute meditation. I have found both to be extremely helpful.
- Thank you notes. I write one to at least one person a day.
- Twenty contacts with clients or prospects about partnership opportunities.
- Tell my family that I love them.
If I do those five things, it’s been a good day. I also write these things in my journal. Did I finish them or not? And, if I did, that day was a win.
The second productivity hack is picking a theme for the new year. I got this from our Communications Director, Kseniya Martin. I found it to be so helpful that immediately developed my theme for 2020. Here is a little context on what this all means. Pick one word that will be your theme, your North Star, or a specific focus for the select time frame ahead. Some sample words are: focus, motivate, sober, pray, health, action, lead, etc. Make it an action word if possible. One-word themes that will become the filter and stay at the top of your mind and dictate your activity, your program, your priorities, and your actions. This theme, or word, can and will change from year to year.
My theme for this year is on business.
Over the last ten years I’ve spent much of my time in the business: selling, doing client work, working on things inside of the business instead of on the business. And now, as The Moery Company goes into its next decade, it’s really important for me to work on the business. That means working on our pricing structure, looking at new services, considering collaboration or partnerships, looking at possibly acquiring new companies, dropping or renewing new clients, communicating the culture to our team, and making sure that we have the right people on the bus and in the right seats. Much of my focus in 2020 is going to be on business. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t still be doing some of our client work, working on proposals, or working with my colleague Mike Thomas on some of those things. What’s your theme?
The third, and final item, is conducting a calendar audit. I learned this from Tim Ferriss from his Tools of Titan’s book. First, look at your calendar for the entire previous year to conduct an audit of the things that you spent most of your time on. For me it’s very easy because my colleague Amanda McMahon and I work on my calendar, and frankly, every minute of the day is allocated to something. What you’ll want to do is grab a piece of paper and list on one side all of the positive things that you’ve scheduled and that you like doing, things that give you energy. And then, on the other side, list negative things that sap your energy, people that you don’t want to meet with, and activities that you don’t want to do.
On the positive side, I have listed the following: podcasts and video. I love doing both and I want to double down on providing you content, insights, and reflections on what I see happening and trends that might be helpful to you. We’re going to put out more content than ever before this year. Another item that is on my positive list are one-on-one meetings with my team. Thirty minutes on their job, their growth, and challenges that they may be facing. Conversations with my advisory board. Oh my goodness, if you haven’t looked at The Moery Company advisory board, you should. We’ve got some of the best people in the country in terms of business and nonprofit excellence. I probably don’t talk to them enough, but when I do, I certainly enjoy it so I need to have more time structured into my calendar. And lastly, I still love doing sales calls. I want to schedule time to make sure that I’m reaching out to associations and talking to them about opportunities to work together.
On the negative side, I have listed items that do not focus on the end goals in mind and time that can be spent on more strategic projects. I love working with people and I love interacting with them but after-hour receptions and activities that don’t have a specific focus, or don’t turn into extended conversations or partnerships, have to go. Frankly, some of the project work that I’ve been involved in needs to be secondary or not be included at all. The fact of the matter is, I’ve intentionally hired some of the best people in the association space to do the project work and to with our clients. I need to let them do that and stay out of it.
Once I have identified the positive and the negative things in my calendar, Amanda and I proactively schedule in advance as much as we can for the entire year. We allocate time for all of those positive things that give me energy and move the ball forward. We focus on things that have a return on investment. On the other side, we’re eliminating and being very diligent about the negative items showing up on my calendar at all.
That’s how I’m fine tuning my productivity this year to ensure growth in 2020.
What productivity hacks have you adopted that you find helpful? What helps you stay focused?