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Optimal Productivity

Written by: Dr. Mary J. Huntley, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever awakened with a sense of excitement because you planned to have an amazingly rewarding day in the office? However, as the day progressed you noticed that you were losing steam and not achieving the goals you had set for the day. Your excitement quickly turned to frustration and disappointment. And you probably felt unfulfilled. How did this happen? What went wrong? In some instances, you did not maintain your focus on your goal. I think that it is safe to say that everyone has experienced an unproductive day. Though we may awaken bright eyed and excited with great intentions, we allow distractions to come along and derail our productivity. That friend or colleague who stops by the office for an unscheduled meeting can easily cause us to get off course from our daily schedule. If we continue this unhealthy behavior, we will definitively sabotage ourselves and not reach our goals. It is paramount that we are cognizant of time wasters and distractions that will derail our productivity and leave us feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.

Prioritization is a very vital element that will determine our success and productivity. Therefore, it is up to us to prioritize our day to ensure optimum performance. Once we begin to prioritize our tasks, we should begin to see increased productivity. And of course, this allows us to feel fulfilled. Please take note of the following working definitions that will help reach our goals.

Urgent: These activities demand immediate attention but are often associated with someone else’s goals rather than our own. In some instances, team members may pass on their work to you as urgent because they have procrastinated (by not meeting company deadlines/timelines). Then they label the work as urgent to attempt to make up for the procrastination and speed up the process.

Important: These are activities that lead to achieving our goals and have the greatest impact on our lives. This concept, coined the Eisenhower Principle, is said to be how former President Dwight Eisenhower organized his tasks. It was rediscovered and brought into the mainstream as the Urgent/Important Matrix by Stephen Covey in his 1994 business classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Now we can prioritize our tasks as follows based on the Urgent/Important Matrix.

Urgent and Important: Activities in this area relate to dealing with critical issues as they arise and meeting significant commitments. Perform these duties now.

Important, But Not Urgent: These success-oriented tasks are critical to achieving goals. Plan to do these tasks next.

Urgent But Not Important: These tasks/assignments do not move you forward toward your own goals. Manage by delaying them, cutting them short and rejecting requests from others. Postpone these tasks/assignments.

Not Urgent and Not Important: These trivial interruptions are just a distraction and should be avoided if possible. However, be careful not to mislabel things like time with and family and recreational activities as not important.

Once we prioritize tasks based on the Urgent/Important Matrix we should also steer clear of the following time wasters.

Time waster No.1–lack of priorities. When we do not prioritize, this becomes a very subtle way to major in the minors instead of laser-focusing on a specific task or assignment. Always seek to plan and prioritize your day when possible. Time waster No.2–not accepting help. Though you may be the project manager it is wise to allow your team to utilize their expertise in order to meet the goal. Delegation and relegation of assignments can be a win-win for everyone! According to world renowned leadership guru Dr. John Maxwell “the true measure of leadership is influence” and “teamwork makes the dream work.” And remember that the success of great corporations, families, and businesses hinge upon great leadership. Time waster No.3—worrying about what others will say. People will always have opinions, comments, and thoughts. So do not get distracted by their hype. Focus on the goal and what works best for you and your team. At the end of the day will you be satisfied knowing that you put forth your best effort to meet your goal? If you answer yes, then you will probably be fulfilled. And that is particularly important! Time waster No.4—complaining. Know that complaining alone will not help BUT making changes will definitively help. So, look into the necessary choices that will help you reach your goal. Then prioritize the choices and proceed to make it happen.

So, if you recently experienced an unproductive day at the office, you now have tools and strategies to enable you to experience optimal productivity. Once executed these strategies will help you to better manage your time and avoid time wasters. And you will also have an amazing sense of fulfillment that will motivate you to continue this successful process!

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Dr. Mary J. Huntley, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Dr. Mary J. Huntley is a servant leader and Chief Executive/Encouragement Officer of Certified an exclusive consulting organization. She is also CEO of Trinity Global Empowerment Ministries, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) organization and Certified Academic Institution under the National Christian Counselors Association. She is an Amazon 5X international bestselling author and Amazon 10X bestselling author. She is a multi-award winner including the 2019 Indy Author Legacy Award Winner and 2 governor citations. She has earned Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Ministry Degrees. She is a Board-Certified Master Life Coach, certified women's motivational speaker, and licensed professional counselor with 6 advanced certifications. She serves as an international representative and clinical supervisor of various organizations. She is honored to be the wife of 47 years to Dr. Ronald Lee Huntley.



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