Productivity has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember.
Probably when it really began to matter the most was when I was on active duty in the military many years ago, and responsible for a lot of other people.
Over time I was also in charge of scheduling and writing watch bills (schedules), training people on all kinds of various things from fire fighting, to egress, technical skills training, lookout procedures, and other things. So I needed a way to keep all that information and all the different people and time frames straight.
After my time in the military I went into real estate fulltime (and had been in real estate part-time for years already) and I needed ways to keep properties, ads, prospects, clients, and all other information straight. So I used the tools and the skills I had already developed over the years.
Eventually, I chose to work in property management as a focus.
That involved dealing with hundreds of owners, tenants, prospects, maintenance, inspections, and related tasks. So again I had massive amounts of information to keep track of and important schedules to stay on track with. All my previous experiences and training made it all relatively easy for me.
Next, I entered the trucking industry as an over the road driver, and with the goal from day one of learning as much as I could about trucking as a career and trucking business success requirements so I could someday own my own trucking-related business of some kind.
I worked in many capacities within trucking over the next couple of decades including being a dispatcher, recruiter, personnel director, safety director, and driver training specialist. I set up and ran independent contractor programs (Owner Operator), driver training programs, and a separate licensed truck driver training school – and all of these things required keeping track of a lot of different people and ever-changing moving information and other moving parts.
That’s NOT something you are ever going to be able to do effectively by just winging it or trying to do it without SYSTEMS in place to help you track, manage, and control all that information and all the related tasks.
So I know what works and what doesn’t. I can also tell you that having the right systems, resources, and tools in place and using them daily makes life not only a whole lot more productive – but also a whole lot more enjoyable and less stressful too!
Today, I run my own specialized information products business – Transport Resource Solutions – and as part of that I create content and products across multiple platforms and in multiple formats (written, audio, video, graphic) and other related information products to help people do better in their work, in their businesses, and in their lives. Much of my work involves creating online courses and training, tutorials, eBooks, books, training manuals other products – all of which I have to track, manage, and control.
I also continue to drive and deliver a few loads every week, which I enjoy – and it keeps me in a truck enough to keep me happy, as well as keeps my quals current.
You Need a Daily Planner
This is the first key piece of your productivity toolbox.
Get a planner. Learn how to use it. Then use it each and every day of your life like a religious experience.
That alone will dramatically help you start doing better almost immediately, and keep improving as you get better at using it too over time.
But as important as a planner is – there are many other things you can use in conjunction with your planner as part of an overall productivity improvement system of your own. That includes things like marker boards (status boards as I like to call them), digital tools like Evernote, and many others.
It is also good to have specific project management systems which can be journals, folders, or binders of some kind. These will be project-specific – and yet scheduled to be used in your daily planner.
What planner should you use?
Whatever planner that you will actually use every day, is your best choice. Of course, I recommend our own Success Driven Systems Planner which is what I use every day – but Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner and many others that you can find on Amazon and other places will work well too.
A Quick Note on Perfectionism
Nothing humans do is ever perfect – nor will it ever be.
Yet so many people expend so much time and energy seeking perfection – that they get next to nothing at all ever done!
Perfection is elusive but better is always attainable.
So with that in mind – IF you want to achieve more in your work, in your business, and in your life – forget about trying to make it perfect!
Just focus on making progress and on doing better consistently on a day to day basis. Get what matters done well enough that it functions and move on to the next thing on your task list.
Design Your Own System
Once you have chosen your planner and gotten it, and decided on what other tools you want to use for now the key is to begin using them. Keep in mind it will seem like a chore and that it may be messy and less than efficient when you first begin doing this.
It takes time to get used to it and to learn how to best use all your tools and resources together.
Just keep at it.
If you do in just a few weeks to a few months it will all become much more natural and almost automatic as it becomes an ingrained habit and just part of your daily routine and your daily life.
Be careful to add things selectively and one at a time, otherwise you may just confuse yourself and become discouraged and quit. That would be a shame.
Give it a try and then come back here and share your experiences.
Don’t forget to start with a PLANNER!