You, my friend, are wasting tons of time. If you work with a productivity expert, you will discover many hours in your week that you never knew you had. And best of all, you can use them to do whatever you want. Here’s how it works.
The first step to working with a productivity consultant has nothing to do with the coach and everything to do with you and your business. You must first admit that there might be a better way to do things.
Don’t underestimate how hard it is to accept that you’re not the most efficient that you can be. We all feel like we could do things better, sure, but most of us aren’t willing to even consider that we could be dramatically better. Here’s a story I like to tell:
Several years ago, a friend asked me to help him move out of his apartment. When I arrived, we took the stairs up to the third floor and I saw the many boxes he had packed up.
Before we got started, I asked him if he had looked around the complex to confirm that our route from his place to the parking lot was most direct. I thought maybe we could move the truck closer to save time and reduce exhaustion. He admitted that he hadn’t looked around much in the entire year he lived there.
A quick search turned up an amazing discovery: there was an elevator in the middle of the complex. My friend was truly shocked. He thought back to the difficulty of moving in, and the many heavy objects he had previously hauled up the stairs.
That move out was finished in record time. And since we had a handcart, we weren’t even sore afterwards.
The next step is to find a productivity expert near you. There isn’t an international union of people interested in improving personal efficiency. Sure, there are professional organizers. There is an Association of Business Process Management Professionals. There are a bunch of methodologies for business improvement. In fact, there are tons of places where you can find people who love to think about improving efficiency.
Once you’ve found someone who might be your productivity coach, the next thing to do is to evaluate them. So if you think you could be more productive (but don’t know how) there is a bit of an art to interviewing potential productivity coaches.
The best thing to do is to let them ask questions and observe you in your natural environment. Why is this so important? Because someone who is a true expert in improving efficiency will see obvious inefficiencies everywhere. Consider the following examples:
You can spot some of these yourself. One way to increase productivity is to ensure that you’re using multiple monitors—each of which should be large, high-resolution screens.
They might also comment (politely, I hope) on whether or not your workspace is clean and clear.
Or, they could talk about the amount of natural light or the frequency of distracting noises in your environment. Any of these should be apparent to a productivity expert.
The final element of what a productivity coach should provide for you is some kind of measurement of your current progress so you can see improvement. This may be a hard analysis of the number of items processed per day, or it may be a softer, more intuitive sense of your peace and happiness.
So what are you going to get? A list of things you should start doing, and stop doing. New tools for making your workflow more efficient. Recommendations on new ways to get work done, or to interact with others. And most importantly, you’re going to see progress that you can measure, because you’ll feel happier and be more productive.
But remember the first step is the hardest: admitting you need help. And no matter what kind of consulting or advice you seek, this is the part almost everyone fails to fully embrace.