Are you currently at capacity?
To gain productivity, you must know your current capacity. "Capacity" is defined as the time allotted to work. Regardless of how much time that is, there is a finite amount of it and it's likely to stay within a certain range. If you know exactly what your time capacity is, you are more inclined to only accept new commitments if you have capacity to complete them. Knowing your true capacity at any given moment helps increase your ability to focus on completing things you've committed to.
How often are you asked to do something and you simply agree because you know it must be done. Doing the task is not an option. But if you agree to do it and it's not done by the due date, what consequences are you risking?
Are you confident that you can handle whatever the consequences are if you miss the deadline, because you generally operate well within your bounds.
But what happens when the inevitable next task gets assigned to you? Will that single task, that single drop of water, if you will, make your working capacity overflow? Do you know right now if one more task is all it takes to overflow your capacity? Or would it just be a guess if you said yes and took on that task? At what point would you stop guessing before you knew you were too busy to take on any additional tasks, no matter their cost to you in personal risk. Would you like to avoid getting to that point of overflow in the first place?
What have you already committed to?
Your commitments are like a handshake. Any commitment you have made is like a handshake between you and the other party you are committing to.
If you shake hands with the commitment by writing it down you are much more likely to up hold your end of the commitment. Why? Because when you write things down you take a moment to think through is this commitment even possible or you have the intention to review what you have written down later, to determine if it's possible then before truly agreeing to commit.
If you don't write down your commitments, how are you currently tracking what you have already committed to? Do you do this mentally, rely on someone else to do it for you or not at all? All three of these options are eventually guaranteed to fail. The only way to prevent this, without excess frustration, is to be personally accountable for your own commitments and complete what you agree to do and re-prioritize your existing commitments if you cannot complete them.
What do you plan to do today?
Having no plan is not much of a rewarding experience. Unless you live a lifestyle of truly wanting nothing, you must make a plan to get the things you need and want. Even if you do "want for nothing", you have certain needs that must be met to stay alive and healthy, these are non-negotiables. These include things like food, water, shelter & love.
Plans don't have to be elaborate or lengthy. They don't need to be down to the smallest detail. The simplest plan is a to-do list for today. And the most effective plan for long term success and personal growth is a quarterly plan. The to-do list keeps you focused on doing what you have committed to and the quarterly plan keeps you honest about what you can and cannot do. If your to-do list for today is unknown or impossible to complete you need to create a plan for the current quarter. If your quarterly plan does not exist, you can only operate doing what you think you can do today, but you will always have a disconnect between you and your full potential to succeed. In essence, you will short changing yourself on the best quality of life that you could have.
If you would like to obtain a better quality of life today & this quarter, continue reading for a tool to do so. If not, your work is done for today and be grateful for living a well lived life today and this quarter.