The 4W’s to Create Successful Space: A Time and Place for Productivity
Do you have high-priority activities that are not happening? Do you care about them getting done, but can’t seem to find the time? How you design your space will help to implement these tasks. Unfortunately, “important” activities for our business and life productivity are often those that require personal discipline, things like: reading, studying, research, administration, follow-up, writing, sorting, filing, billing, etc. While these activities are important, they often do not get attended to until they are urgent. When we find ourselves operating in the urgent quadrant, we usually get less done and feel stressed, pressured, and overwhelmed. Operating from this place causes LOW productivity. With so many demands, how can you be more productive?
Productivity happens when we do what is important in a focused and efficient manner. In my Bible study group, we discussed having a “sacred” place for our daily quiet time. While this is something I HAVE done for my business and life, I had NOT done this for my personal Bible study time. It had been an old intention that never happened. It compelled me to do this for myself and also review the importance that designed ENVIRONMENTS make. Designed spaces will improve your productivity.
What activity, when done regularly, will increase your overall productivity and results? Pick one that is IMPORTANT for you to accomplish but seems to get half-done, put off, never gotten to, or simply forgotten? Follow these four steps to design a productive environment to make it a reality.
Pick an activity that is the same and reoccurs: Reading; making phone calls; studying. Pick something that is important to do regularly and create a space that will be meaningful and beneficial.
1) WHY? Know why this is important to you and make it a routine (habit). Create a structure your body will instinctually remember and return to. When you pass the “spot” you will think, “Oh, I have to …” When you sit there, you will move into autopilot and start performing the task. Your body posture can help your mind get and stay focused. If you sit down to return phone calls in a pile of papers, in front of your e-mails, looking at the dust on your desk, you will be hard pressed to stay focused on the IMPORTANT task you have sent out to do.
>2) WHERE? Pick a place that you will go each time you do this. Think about what kind of space you need to focus and accomplish the task. Do you need a writing surface; do you want to feel comfortable (sit in a couch or comfy spot); do you want to feel energized (sit by light or fresh air); do you need a phone or computer? Determine the best location for you to do this task where you can minimize distraction and stay focused.
3) WHAT? Gather your tools. What do you need to do this task? What will inspire you? What will you do? What props or prompts do you need? Things like a clock, coaster for your drink, motivation quote or photo, notebook (jot notes or list things that come into our mind as you are focusing), pen, books, phone, plant, etc. Put all your tools for this activity in this one place, so you don’t waste time gathering them or getting distracted on your way to do this. Leave the tools there so you can do the activity quickly, easily, and effortlessly whenever you go to this place.
4) WHEN? Pick a consistent time to be in this place. If it is professional reading or study time, maybe it is at 7AM each morning. Decide how long you will do it. Set a timer to keep yourself on track. You stay there until the beeper goes off. It may be hard at first, but discipline yourself to honor this time for your important task and it will become a habit and reality.
When you have a routine, a place, time, and system for this “productivity” activity it is more likely to get accomplished. Other demands, crises and urgencies of the day will get in your way. A system that includes all aspects of your environment will guide, inspire, and guard you from making it a desire and intention that never gets implemented. Take 10 minutes and set yours up today! Write me about your place, where, what, when and how you designed it and I will post it on my Web site as an example and inspiration to others.