The best definition of productivity that I’ve heard is this: it is a deep alignment between what you do and what matters to you. Put another way, it’s about doing the things that matter and de-prioritizing things that derail you or don’t contribute to your priorities. Surprisingly, de-prioritization is something a lot of leaders struggle with in the corporate world. The result of this is heavy workloads, lack of clarity on priorities for teams, and in dire situations burnout.
I don’t know about you, but that definition of Productivity gives me pause. I think fundamentally this definition is about reclaiming power over how we think about productivity for ourselves. Maybe it’s not about juggling a thousand things without letting anything drop. Maybe it’s not about being a supermom or a superdad. Maybe it’s not about optimizing an impossible list of commitments and somehow delivering results against all odds.
Maybe it is about this: Starting with deeply thinking about what matters to us and focusing on the most important things we need to get done aligned to our priorities in work and life. It’s not just about saying “No” to more things, per se. It’s about saying “No” to things that distract us from our goals and priorities. I think this is actually really empowering!
Last week, you may (or may not) have noticed I skipped my newsletter. I spent a lot of time agonizing about skipping a week and not being accountable to my commitment to you guys. But when I checked-in with myself, I realized I had to de-prioritize this in order to create space for time-sensitive things that were going on last week (purchasing, renovating, painting and moving into my new home).
It was a highly productive week for me and yet I didn’t deliver everything I was hoping to. I’m sorry to those of you who were disappointed, but I’m pretty sure most of you moved on with your lives. (If not, give me a holler.) It is a great reminder that maybe we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be hyper-productive. And maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to be productive on our own terms and people will understand and relate.
📖 A Book That You May Enjoy
I am currently reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, which is all about how cutting through the clutter and doing less (by focusing on the one thing that matters to you) can help us achieve better results in less time. It’s about mastering what matters to you. If you’re in need of some inspiration about productivity and de-prioritization in your work or life, I’d suggest picking up the quick read.
👉🏼 My challenge to you this week: Start your day with your goals and priorities, and write down the 3 things you need to get done that day. Dare to say “No” to non-critical things that pop up. While the importance of de-prioritizing and owning your productivity may not be new to you, most of us are really bad at actually practicing this. I would classify this as a “small step with huge payoff” that’s worth focusing on for you and your teams.
💆🏻♀️ My Self-Care checklist score this week: 80%. Please prioritize your self-care with me this week.