Only Talking Sense

I had a break-through last week.

I have struggled lately with productivity and personal accountability – feeling stuck on one project, overwhelmed by the amount of other things that needed to be done both at work and at home, and just feeling like I wanted to give up because I didn’t even know where to start.

But last week, I tried 3 things that seem to be getting me “unstuck.”

  1. Personal accountability. I am the only one who can change my situation. Instead of letting my day manage me, I have tried to be more proactive in planning and managing my day. In the book QBQ: The Question Behind the Question, author John Miller promotes asking better questions, such as “what can I do to improve this situation?” instead of “why is this happening to me?” Makes a huge difference in perspective.
  2. Write down priorities. In his GTD methodology, David Allen promotes the idea of getting everything out of your head and on a categorized list with next actions (the next actions are the hardest but most effective  part of this process). In his EntreLeadership book and training, Dave Ramsey recommends that you prioritize your to-do list, and rank the list with “A” for the items that must be done today, “B” for those that should be done soon, and so on. I have combined these two methods with success so far. Seeing my task list helps me reorient after interruptions, and keeps me focused on what is most important, instead of reacting to the latest and loudest. And having next actions listed help me know exactly what needs to be done to move forward on that project.
  3. Communicate. I think this was the key piece of this puzzle. I told a couple of people what I hoped to accomplish and then I felt more obligated to complete it. The first day I tried this and didn’t tell anyone, it was easy to decide I was tired, it was late, and I’d deal with it the next day. Telling someone gave me even more accountability, because I did not want to come back the next day and say I didn’t finish.

I hope to continue refining these activities for another productive week.

I’d love to hear comments on what others are doing to be more productive. What are your tools for productivity and accountability?