Trying to get more done? Not enough time in the day to get everything finished? If you’re like me (and everyone else in this world), you’re trying to squeeze every last second out of the day to cross “one last thing” off your to-do list.

Productivity is the new “buzz word.”  Headlines scream “Try these 5 productivity hacks,” and “Top 10 ways to be more productive now!”

But what does it mean to be more productive?

Too often we confuse being productive with being busy. With the fast-paced life we live, we feel guilty if we have even a few extra minutes in our day. “I should use this time to do something productive,” we say to ourselves.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to slow down. Take a deep breath. Stop and think for a minute what productivity means to you.

Are you doing things that matter? Or are you filling up your time to stay busy?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there isn’t some magical cure for your never-ending list of things to do. Although with all the apps and programs and systems available, we’re led to believe if we just find the right one, all our problems will be solved.

But that’s not how it works.

So what’s a time-starved business professional like you to do?

The key to being more productive isn’t adding another system to your already overflowing schedule. The key is focused prioritization that leads to increased efficiency.

What does that mean?

It’s quite simple, actually. Which is probably why we keep getting it wrong.

productivity (1)

Every thought that comes into our minds, every task we’re asked to do, and every stage of every project must pass through a carefully crafted filter in our minds. This filter will prioritize that information, letting us know if it needs our immediate attention or if it can wait until a later time.

And that is the key to efficiency.

With each task on your to-do list, and with each new interruption – either by your own wandering thoughts or by someone else’s requests – you must determine how important it is.

Often we try to cram too many things into our day. And we might get a lot of tasks done, but how many of them matter in the long run?

Stop being “busy” and start getting things done with this one simple question.

At the start of each new day ask yourself:

  • If I could only get three things done today, what are the three most important tasks I need to focus on?

Try that for a week and let me know how it goes. Did it help you focus and be more productive?

productivity worksheet

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