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How does doubling your productivity sound?
I’m sure that it sounds a bit too good to be true but I have become at least this much more productive after a few months of following the advice of Chet Holmes.
After reading The Ultimate Sales Machine, I implemented his time management system and have at least doubled my productivity. I’m working on important tasks that will build my business, instead of the easy tasks that I can just cross off a list.
With some, in the words of Chet, “pigheaded discipline”, you can make you and your firm much more productive by following his system.
Here are the key points:
1. Touch it once
If you touch it, then make sure that you move it to the next step along the path to being competed. If you don’t do this, you’ve just wasted time.
For example, if you read an email, respond to it. If you can’t respond to it right away, file it so that you can respond to it when you have scheduled time to do so, instead of constantly reading the same emails over and over. The same goes for memos, letters, agendas, etc.
2. Make lists of tasks (but only focus on getting done the most important items)
Every day, pick six items from your to do list that will produce the most value. Those are the only things that you should work on.
3. Plan how long you will work on each of the 6 items
Make a note of how long you will work on each of the 6 items.
4. Plan when you will complete each spefic task
Write out a schedule, which should include the exact times of when you are going to work on each specific task.
Items that are reactive like “got a minute” meetings and reading and responding to email, should also be scheduled into your day.
I like having this on paper, since the physical presence of it forces me to follow it since it is always right next to me. I also like the satisfaction of physically crossing an item off of the list.
5. Check how productive you’re being by checking your results
Most people check how productive they’ve been by checking the amount of items that they have crossed off the list at the end of the day. Attending a useless meeting or responding to 100 emails is not likely to have moved your practice forward.
Make sure that you are getting the important things done like planning strategy or cold calling to book meetings with potential clients.
6. Keep on pushing
This productivity system works extremely well, but it is not easy to follow.
It is always easy to say that you will plan your day tomorrow, or that you just have to reply to this email right now. In order for this system to work, you must have pigheaded discipline to work within your schedule and to schedule your day every day. After about a month it will become a habit and it will be much easier.
If you truly want to improve your practice, then start by increasing your productivity with this system. Once you have mastered it, you can push your staff to follow this system. Just think how much would get done if everyone in your practice was working on the six most important items on their to-do list today. It would likely be the most productive day in your practice’s history.
If you want to read about the system from Chet Holmes himself, you can find an article on his site here: How to Master Time Management.