The 5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity

October 31st, 2011 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

On Wednesday 12th October 2011 Dr Amanda Potter and Ruth Sweetman from Zircon went to an introductory talk about The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity defined by Franklin Covey who already have 10 million people using their 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 5 Choices are on a worldwide tour and they believe that by following these 5 choices consistently people can produce extraordinary productivity.

Today at work many people feel they are working under a pile of “gravel”, digging through trying to complete work. Franklin Covey researched 350,000 employees and they found that only 60% of their work is productive and 40% of their work is unproductive or “gravel”.

Gravel includes emails, social media and chaos that can greatly affect ones productivity. The paradox is the two truths, that technology (emails and social media) are making it both easier and harder to achieve extraordinary productivity. It is easier due to Blackberry and the internet making information accessible; however it is also harder as we cannot seem to clear the clutter.

Franklin Covey recognise that we have increasing complexity and difficulty at work including:

• More Decisions – There are more decisions coming at us than ever before and consequences can be sizeable.

• Attention Under Attack – We work on one thing and emails pop up, your brain works to sort through them to see if it is urgent, at the same time as trying to concentrate on work.

• Energy Crisis – Due to our attention being held in different places, using our phones around the clock, when at meetings and at home with our families and social media, we are experiencing an energy crisis.

Franklin Covey proposed that in fact without the clutter “We all have the potential to do extraordinary things”

So what are the 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity?

1. Act on the important – Don’t react to the urgent

We need to make sure the things we are working on in our days are ultimately productive. For example, taking time to build relationships, maximising time and working on creative thinking, allows us to do this (Extraordinary Productivity). However there is also the urgent work that requires our time such as emergency meetings, we must make sure we do not spend all our time in this area as this will create burn out (Necessity). We must however try to avoid spending too much time on distracting “gravel”.

2. Go for extraordinary – Don’t settle for ordinary

This is where we look at our different roles such as being a professional, a parent, or a partner, and we see where we feel we are currently in those roles and we set ourselves small goals to improve those roles that perhaps need more attention, in order to help us perform extraordinarily in them. It is both meaningful and satisfying to have our roles in balance.

3. Schedule the big rocks – Don’t sort the gravel

The 5 choices to extraordinary productivity here gives a timetable for us to schedule in our weekly plans, this is so we focus on the question ‘what are the one or two most important things I could do in this role this week?’ to keep us focused and productive in order to hit extraordinary in our roles.

4. Rule your technology – Don’t let it rule you

It is important that we recognise where technology is helping and hindering us and setting limits to our time to get the most important things done and not over using it. We have to look at whether it is an accelerant or an addiction.

5. Fuel your fire – Don’t burn out

Remember to Connect with People, Move About, Eat, Relax and Sleep. These are all essential in keeping us going and our brains actively productive in our roles, we need to eat healthy fats, protein for breakfast, factor in exercise and keep ourselves connected to our friends and family.

What are the benefits of using the 5 choices of productivity?

The benefits of following these 5 choices to extraordinary productivity is to maximise our potential, it should make us happier in our work and home lives and further it is beneficial for the companies that we work for.

Written by Ruth Sweetman, Trainee Occupational Psychologist, October 2011.
ruth.sweetman@zircon-mc.co.uk

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