Increase your Productivity by Saying Goodbye to Drains and Incompletions

99u.adobe.com 99u.adobe.com3 years ago in #Business Love101

“It’s the end of the day and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.” “My to-do list is constantly growing and I feel overwhelmed.”  “I want to feel more productive and accomplished at work.” “I’m spread so thin that I’m not successful at anything.” Sound familiar? You’re not the only one. Over the past two years since beginning my coaching practice, I’ve worked with nearly 100 creatives. Many of my clients come to me feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and unable to find time in the day to do their most important work. One of the first places we start is to take a comprehensive look at how they are spending their days. More specifically, we examine the drains and incompletions that often leave them with little to no energy to complete the work that is their actual priority. We have a finite amount of attention to devote to daily tasks. Research shows that, on average, in an 8-hour day, employees are only productive for 3 hours. According to the study referenced, the other five hours are littered with unproductive activities, like reading news websites, checking social media, discussing non-work-related things with co-workers, searching for new jobs, texting, smoke breaks, making coffee, and so on.  *** Defining Drains and Incompletions  What about the tasks, which may be categorized as productive, that drain the time and energy we want to spend on priority work? These drains actually include things we may have to do: commuting, personal admin, email correspondence, meetings, calls. It might not be an option to remove these items from our to-do list, but perhaps we can rethink how we do them.  If drains take away our time and energy from important tasks, then incompletions take a toll on our mental bandwidth. How many to-do items are rolling around in your head at any given minute? I forgot to call so-and-so. I need to reply to that email from my boss. I promised my co-worker I’d get that report to them last week. And the list goes on.  Incompletions are any items on our to-do lists that we have yet to complete. They can be related to work, but they can also be personal. Regardless, they take up room in our minds. Incompletions can be negligible, like responding to a simple email, or they can be acute, like dreams we have put off, conversations to be had, projects we need to wrap up, or promises we’ve yet to deliver on.  List of drains and incompletions. Identify What is Stealing Your Time, Energy, and Attention Addressing both drains and incompletions can help you free up bandwidth and be more present and productive in your day-to-day. In his book, Deep Work, author Cal Newport reminds us that, “Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.” If you are spending your time, energy, and attention on tasks that don’t support your overall mission or key priorities for your work, it’s time to re-evaluate where your energy is going. Here’s how you can start:  Step 1: Identify your drains and incompletions  Set aside 15-20 minutes on your calendar and minimize distractions for this check-in with yourself. Spend five minutes listing down all of your drains and incompletions. There’s no need to categorize them. Write every last item you can think of, from the light bulb that needs to be replaced in your bathroom to that conversation you need to have with your colleague, until you there is nothing left swirling around in your mind.  Step 2: Understand what you can and cannot control Before you begin to decide how to address the items on…

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