Stever Robbins, author of “9 Steps to Work Less and Do More,” reviewed several of his tips for personal productivity at a Harvard Business School Association of Boston meeting on 27 Sept 2010.
The most important one for me was “Live on purpose.”
Live on purpose means asking yourself what your goals are, then ask why that is a goal until you reach a fundamental life goal. For example:
My goal is to blog every week:
Why: to increase my visibility and creditability among potential clients
Why: to obtain project work
Why: to support myself and my children
Asking how to achieve these goals is another important aspect of living on purpose because it can lead to alternative ways to support my ultimate goal of earning a living. I could find other ways to earn a living, but I really enjoy the discovery and analysis aspect of business research so my how question is how to obtain project work, not how else to make a living. I could find other ways to reach other to clients besides blogging.
Robbins told about an assignment coaching a 60 year old executive who had created a new product category, built up the business, and managed a division with 20,000 employees.
Robbins asked him what he had enjoyed about his job. His response: I never thought about enjoying work. He then thought about it and said I did not enjoy anything about my job. He was on auto-pilot following what he thought was “success.”
Robbins suggests looking at your To Do list every morning for a week and asking why am I doing this task. Ask yourself if there is a simpler way to do this task. Eliminate tasks that do not support your goals.
Ask how can I achieve my goals to generate new ways to achieve these goals. Do this for both professional and personal goals. You will find that they intersect and overlap.
Of course you are not developing your goals in a vacuum if you work in an organization. But working with your CI user community on goals could help prioritize your work and make you more efficient. Since all of us have too much work in today’s economy, getting your work load down to reasonable would be quite an achievement.