“Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Tony Robbins
It looks like Franklin Covey has a fresh focus on personal productivity.
Franklin Covey identifies The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity to give you the greatest return on your time. They created the 5 Choices by combining timeless principles with the latest neuroscience research.
Here is a quick rundown …
Choice 1: Act on the Important; Don’t React to the Urgent
According to Franklin Covey, this is about how to discern the important from the less and not important. It’s how to “increase your ROM (Return on the Moment) in the midst of fierce distractions.”
In my experience, figuring out what’s important takes practice and preparation. I take a few moments in the morning to figure out what I want to achieve for the day. I simply ask myself, “What three things do I want to achieve for today?” I balance this with all the incoming demands, as well as with what’s already on my plate.
By having a baseline list of three things I want to achieve, this helps me stay focused and centered. It also helps me evaluate priorities and figure out what’s worth spending my time on.
Choice 2: Go for Extraordinary; Don’t Settle for Ordinary
According to Franklin Covey, this is about getting clear on what success looks like in your current most important roles.
In my experience, this comes down to identifying wins that are worth it. It’s looking for opportunities to go above and beyond. It’s figuring out your bold ambitions.
This also means playing to your strengths and doing what you can uniquely do from where you are. It’s exploiting the opportunity, before the window of opportunity closes. It’s leaning in, and giving it all you’ve got, while you have the chance.
Choice 3: Schedule the Big Rocks, Don’t Sort Gravel
According to Franklin Covey, this is about focusing on the big ticket items. These are the ones that will take more energy or more time, but will have a greater impact.
In my experience, this is where you can really make or break your impact. You can fill your day doing “below the line” activities, or you can fight to spend more time doing “above the line” work. The real value is in the change you create each day.
If you don’t make time for the big things, the big things won’t happen. But the other key is splitting the Big Rocks down into smaller chunks that you can tackle. The little things add up, if they accrue to your Big Rocks.
The big problem to avoid is letting little things that don’t really matter get in the way of what does matter. The thing to remember here is that while little things can mean a lot, not all little things do.
Choice 4: Rule Your Technology; Don’t Let it Rule You
According to Franklin Covey, you can make technology work for you, or against you. The goal is to turn your technology into a productivity engine.
In my experience, the most important thing I can do is first identify what I’m trying to accomplish. I can then choose the right tool for the job. Sometimes the answer is pen and paper. Sometimes the answer is a bit more complex, and technical. In any event, once I know what I need to achieve, I can then evaluate and measure the effectiveness of the tool.
Otherwise, it’s all too easy to just start using tools and technology and get lost in shiny objects.
Choice 5: Fuel Your Fire, Don’t Burn Out
According to Franklin Covey, this is about finding ways to increase your energy.
In my experience, there are so many ways to increase your energy. But it takes self-awareness. As a general rule, it helps to think in terms of sprints, not marathons during your day. It helps to take 10-minute breaks every 40-minutes. Not just so you can reboot your prefrontal cortex (the thinking part of your brain), but also for your eyes. Your eyes have muscles and the fatique can hit you in ways you don’t expect.
I find it helpful to draw energy from mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It helps to spend more time in your strengths, and less time in your weaknesses. If you connect the work you do to your value, then you will find more motivation. For example, I like to learn so I find ways to learn something new, each time I perform a task.
It also helps to know which activities and tasks drain you, and which catalyze you. And the same goes for the people you spend time with.
It also helps to prime your mind by filling your head with great examples of role models, success, and quotes that inspire you and help you when you need it most.
If you want to be more productive, try practicing The 5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity.