productivity measuring stick

I had a very long week. I was fighting the pollen and fighting a migraine that would not go away.

I felt extremely unproductive which really drained my motivation.

I have just finished getting this Kindle book published and up at Amazon and I’ve had no time to promote it. Same for the accompanying workbook and webinar. All ready to be shouted from the rooftops and I don’t have time.

Which is to say I do have time but not for the promo. Instead I’m using my spare time for fighting pollen and that damn migraine.

As the week came to an end, I spent some time thinking back on what the week had held and what I could have done better. This practice helps me decide what things I should focus on for the next week.

I start each day around 7:am. I get up, make the coffee, sit in front of the computer and start sifting through email. I very liberally delete stuff I know I don’t have time for. Answer any emails that I can, if I can’t I mark them as unread so that I won’t forget to come back later and deal with them. My reward for email… coffee.

I grab my first cup of coffee and start in on Facebook. For entrepreneurs and business owners, Facebook isn’t a guilty pleasure. We use it pretty extensively to keep up with our clients and business groups. I skim through the feed to make sure I see everything I’ve missed since my last check in. I click on interesting articles and just leave them in an open window for later. I respond and like and do birthday wishes. Then I jump into my groups, answer questions, offer advice, the basics. Finally, I jump into my mastermind group, check in, provide my comments.

My next tasks involve researching any automotive stuff for the service business. I research parts, place my orders or send email to my parts vendors to get the ball rolling. There are several exchanges before a parts order is complete. Either they can’t find what I’ve asked for, which means I need to take pictures or go online and look things up myself. There are times when I just need pricing so I can put together an estimate so a customer can decide what he/she wants to do. Then there’s the order confirmation.

I move on to making calls and adjusting invoices. Then… last week… I fall onto the sofa with an ice pack on my skull and rest. Two hours later I’m up, I shower, dress, and run errands. Generally I need to run to pick up the parts that were in stock and then do another run to get supplies.

After I get back, I get things ready for the techs that are coming to work. By 5:30 pm they have arrived. We go over anything we need to and they get to work. I hang out if I’m needed or head back to my office where I start in on the invoicing and purchase orders. After a few hours, we are done for the evening and the techs leave. Sometimes 8:pm, sometimes 10:pm.

What Needs Improvement

As I’m complaining to my mastermind group about my lack of productivity, I’m realizing how obnoxious I must sound. I lost 2-3 hours to rest for pollen and migraine. I was actively working from 7:am to 10:pm.

Yeah. I know.

Which leads me to my point… if we entrepreneurs and business owners are spending our time measuring our productivity based on what we fail to get done… we’re doing it wrong.

We are using the wrong measuring stick.

We need a serious reframe.

I need a serious reframe.

A New Measuring Stick

So, what needs improvement? As I look back at the week I realize that what needs improvement is my measuring stick. I need to think more clearly about what I did get done. I need to stop worrying about what I didn’t get done.

Everything important and critical got handled. The stuff that didn’t will move onto my list of objectives for the next week.

The tasks that will get moved, the one’s that didn’t get done, those tasks didn’t result in any serious issue. No yelling customers, no missed deadlines (only self imposed ones), and no failure to collect money.

That should count for something. It should count as a win.

Perhaps the drive for higher productivity needs to begin with a list of completed tasks, a review of accomplishments, rather than disgrace at not having accomplished everything.

From now on, before we measure ourselves for missing one or two tasks, I say we list out all the tasks completed and all the unlisted wins.

I got a lot done. I managed to find time to snuggle my dogs. I made time to take care of my brain and the pollen. I made time to talk with my Mom all but 2 days. I went for a run. I managed to get the recycle can out to the street in time.

These small things along with all of the completed tasks count for something. In fact, they count for a lot. Those few missed tasks and those few extra hours of rest… those are the things that make for a balance driven life, not the size of our completed task lists.

I think I’ll go rest, with my furry girls, and be grateful.



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