Why Your Productivity System is Broken

Do you use a productivity system, such as Getting Things Done, Pomodoro, or The Seven Habits, or maybe just a good to-do list?

How’s it working for you?  If you’re like most people, you struggle to get the important things done, and you end up accomplishing much less than you intend.  You struggle to reach your goals or complete projects effectively.

I love productivity systems, and for many years, I struggled to make them work.  Constant overload. Everything takes longer than it should. The goals are too lofty. Progress is so slow!

Sound familiar?  Your productivity system is broken.

Want to know why?  Because you’re working on the wrong stuff.

Productivity systems work when you are organizing the work you need to do.  But that assumes you know what work you need to be doing.

Most people are doing their work and work that they shouldn’t be doing.  Most people are working on the important work that they need to do to reach their goals and also the “unimportant” day to day work that has to get done.

Here’s an example.  In a given week, Karen, a small business owner needs to set up and attend 3 meetings or appointments, place 4 orders for products, write or answer 100 emails, bill 20 hours of billable time and write 2 articles for a blog.  The billable time is the work she loves to do.  That’s why she started the business.  The appointments, ordering, and emails and other day-to-day tasks take about 20 hours.  The blog articles will have to wait until the next week.  Or the next, or the next.

What if Karen got 4 extra hours for free?  She could easily use that time to write the blog articles, furthering her business and career.

You know where I’m going with this, right?  Outsourcing the day-to-day tasks can give you the time to reach your goals, whether they are building a business, accomplishing a sales goal, or creating something amazing.  Outsourcing to an administrative assistant—even a couple hours a week—would allow Karen to accomplish her goal of a popular blog.

So, back to productivity systems—if you get the work that you shouldn’t be doing off your plate, those productivity systems will make the work that you do even more efficient and effective.  But don’t try to organize the work that your administrative assistant should be doing.