Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

6 Simple Questions to Make You More Productive

May 2, 2013

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In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins talks about the power of questions to shape and direct your attention and focus. Your brain doesn’t like to leave questions unanswered, so whenever you pose yourself a question, your brain quickly goes to work to try to provide you with an answer. To help you to steer away from distractions and accomplish more, you can ask yourself these six questions throughout the day. They will help you to direct your attention, your focus, and your thinking towards your top priorities.1. What is the most valuable use of my time right now?The purpose of this question is to shift your focus to what is most important and valuable at this moment. It is a perfect question to ask whenever you are unsure about what to do next, whenever you face an unexpected interruption, or whenever you feel that you are not making good use of your time. For example, let’s say you find yourself with an extra twenty minutes of unscheduled time. Asking yourself “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” will help you find an important task for the time you have available.2. What am I ultimately trying to accomplish? The purpose of this question is to focus your thinking on your real objectives and goals; the real reasons you are working on your projects and tasks. Asking this question habitually will help you avoid getting sidetracked, drifting into trivia, or falling into perfectionism. You can use this powerful question for all your projects. For example, while preparing a PowerPoint presentation, it is easy to become absorbed in less valuable work such as playing with the formatting, or animations, instead of working on the key content. The work seems important because it is connected to your presentation project, but when you take a closer look, you realize that you may be wasting your time on details that don’t really matter.3. What am I giving up in order to do this?Whenever you choose to do something, you automatically reject everything else you could have done during that time. The purpose of this question is to help you realize what you are giving up in order to take on a task or project. Once you recognize the true cost of an activity, you may decide that it is not how you really want to spend your time. Asking this question before you take on a new task or project will help you stay focused on what really matters. It can also help you to set boundaries and recognize appropriate times to say “no” to a new request. You should also ask this question about activities that you are already doing on a regular basis. For example; volunteering to do some work for your trade association, chairing a committee, or serving on a board, are noble tasks, but you may be sacrificing something even more important, such as time with your family, if you over-commit.4. What are my three most important projects or tasks?This question will help you to plug into the important 80/20 rule. The rule states that 80% of value is contained in only 20% of your tasks. Your two or three highest priority projects or tasks can easily account for up to 80 percent of your day’s value. This awareness will help you to plan your time so you can give these tasks the time and priority they deserve.5. Am I being productive or just busy?This question will shift your focus toward what to stop doing rather than what to start doing. Deciding to stop doing something that is no longer valuable is often more important than actually deciding to start doing something else. This is a perfect question to ask whenever you feel you may be wasting time trying to perfect something that should already be done, or when you feel stuck in a commitment that is no longer serving your long-term objectives.6. Is what I’m doing right now moving me measurably toward my goals?It is essential to identify the most important priorities in your work and in your personal life. This will help you to establish clearly defined goals and actions needed to support your objectives. You can also build in some measurement tools. For example, “My goal for today is to complete 50% of the PowerPoint presentation for Friday’s workshop.”

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