Lack of productivity can be very destructive. It can lead to overwhelm, which can be paralyzing, and it can be very demoralizing, which can lead to low self-esteem.
Neither of those things help you live the life of your dreams.
There are a myriad of reasons why my clients seek me out to be their life coach but most often a piece of it is that they need some help with productivity. I am happy to report that without exception those clients who were willing to take on their low productivity reported a dramatic change after just a few weeks of working with me.
Today I am going to share with you the work that I have done with my clients so you can learn about being more productive.
#1 – Identify what it is you want. Precisely.
Many of my clients come to me with an idea of what they want from their life. A new job, a better marriage, improved relations with co-workers, how to move forward in a different way. What many of those clients haven’t done is identify what exactly it is they want. Without that knowledge moving forward is impossible.
I have a client who came to me because she was miserable in her job of 15 years but she just didn’t know what to do. She had tried to make adjustments at work so that she could be happier but to no avail. She was stuck with what to do next. Paralyzed in fact.
I asked her where she would go if she left her job. She had no idea. She knew that she wanted out but she had given no thought to where she would like to jump. And, I asked, how would you get to that new place. Again, my question was met with silence.
The next part was quick and easy. We brainstormed new career paths, ideas that made her heart sing. We then cleaned up her resume to reflect that new job she sought. Next she researched job opportunities and applied for those jobs. Within a few weeks she had some interviews and soon after found the job of her dreams.
All this because she identified precisely where she wanted to go. Without concrete information you are stuck. She was. And then she wasn’t.
#2 – Set goals.
Once you know what it is you want to do it’s time to set goals.
I have a client who had created a website and she had been working on it’s blog for almost a year. She had been tweaking and re-tweaking and then walking away, bored and frustrated, only to eventually come back and tweak it some more.
I asked her how determined she was to get this blog onto her site. Scale of 1-10. 10 she said. So we set a date. A date one month later. She put it on her calendar.
One month later, after years in process, after having set goals with me and making a plan, her blog was up.
Was she proud? Did her self-esteem go through the roof? Yes and yes. Awesome!
#3 – Make a plan.
Having a plan is an essential part of being productive. Without a plan you are stabbing about in the dark.
I have a client who HATED going to the grocery store. HATED it. So she didn’t. As a result she didn’t eat well and always felt weak.
I asked her why she hated the grocery store. She said the noise and the lights were annoying, things were hard to find, she never had time to find recipes of things to make, and she didn’t want to spend the money. All valid reasons.
So we made a plan. First we skipped the recipes. I had her make a list of things that she knew how to cook and of things she liked to eat. She made a list using those things as a basis and I helped her organize her list into groups that related to areas in the grocery store. We made a plan of when she could go, at times when it was less crowded. She also decided to wear her headphones so the noise was less daunting.
Last, but not least, we set a specific date and time. And when she was done shopping she had to call me. And you know what? She did it. She has food. She feels better. And she did it again the next week.
#4 – Have a great calendar and use it wisely.
I had a client who had the most lofty goals but she didn’t believe herself capable of following through on anything. As a result nothing ever got done.
Here is what we did. Every Sunday night we made a calendar for her for the week. On it, in red, were the things that she HAD to do. Doctor’s appointments, driving to soccer, her half hour walk, 1 hour of writing. And then, in green, were the things that she wanted to get done. Balancing her checkbook, cleaning out closets, making some phone calls. She added things in black as things popped up during the week.
Those items in red were non-negotiable. If an emergency came up and she wasn’t able do a red item then she had to immediately reschedule it for another day that week. It wasn’t allowed to fall through the cracks.
The green items were treated the same but they could be moved to the next week if necessary.
The black were things that tended to get done because they were last minute and she was able to get them done because that’s how she thrived, with a time limit.
She knew I would be checking up on her so she stuck to it as agreed.
It took a few weeks but using her calendar really allowed my client to be as productive as she had always hoped to be. And being so productive ramped up her self-esteem in a big way. She realized that she wanted to keep doing this, on her own, because she liked how she felt and she didn’t want to let herself down. So she did. I was proud.
#5 – Find someone to hold you accountable.
This is a big part of my role as a life coach. We all need accountability. Someone to encourage us to get things done and to help us figure out why when we don’t.
I know you have your friends and your family and your co-workers to support you but more often than not those people will lean towards supporting you, to listening to your rationalizations and letting you off the hook.
I know the importance of staying on track, both for productivity’s sake and for building self-esteem. Productivity is important for its own sake – things need to get done. Period.
Another reason productivity is so important is because of it’s effect on your self-esteem. My clients are always so hard on themselves because they can never get things done, they are so far behind, they let other people down. Not doing these things can boost one’s self-esteem significantly. And having higher self-esteem makes one more prone to being productive. See how that works?
It’s a win-win in so many ways.
Our lives are crazy, jam packed and exhausting. Not being productive can cause overwhelm, and overwhelm can lead you down a path that makes it all worse.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to be productive and make one’s life a little less exhausting. As you can see above, my clients prove that it can be done.
You can do it too!
Need more tips on being more productive? Contact me and I can help.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.