By Michelle Steffes

Many of us find ourselves extremely busy with more tasks than time every
day. We have a list of things that just gets carried over from one day to
the next. At times we can get to the end of our day exhausted from our
activity but feel as though we have accomplished very little of the things
that are most critical. Sometimes it is from putting out fires all day or
responding to unexpected requests. Other times, we just can’t seem to focus
on one project or task due to constant distractions. Whatever the reason,
we can get to end of our work week and look back only to reflect on much
scurrying about with meager profitable productivity.

When my children were small, I gifted them with two gerbils which brought
many adventures to our household. Gerbils are extremely industrious
creatures who move at a very fast pace seemingly accomplishing nothing even
though, in their minds, they are accomplishing much. At night, I could hear
them in the next room digging and digging at the corner of the aquarium
that housed them or running on the gerbil wheel incessantly. During the
day, they would continue the routine with an endless supply of untapped
energy and enthusiasm for what they were trying to accomplish. It was
apparent that their efforts were completely in vain, nevertheless, they
continued at it relentlessly.

Often times we can attack our to-do lists with such vigor and determination
along with a clear vision of what we set out to accomplish. However, much
like the gerbils, we can end up finding ourselves just running in the wheel
of endless tasks that go nowhere or digging feverishly in the corner yet
gaining no new horizons from our labor. So what is the key? How do we set
ourselves free from what seems futile at times?


At the end of each work day, take 10 minutes and write down a minimum of 10
tasks for the next day which are tied to, (important key) *income producing
activity*. Then write them in order of priority and break down what is
needed to accomplish each one. Leave some space between each to ask
yourself the following five questions:

o What resources or tools do I need to accomplish this?

o Whom do I need to speak to in order to gain the insight necessary to
finish this?

o How much time will it take to complete or can it be broken down?

o How soon do I need to get it done?

o What obstacles may get in my way and how will I head them off?

Once you have prioritized them and answered these questions, plug them into
your schedule for the next day and resolve to stay on task. Then, plan to
head off any interruptions and set specific times to check your emails
and/or messages so that they will not distract you. If you indulge in any
social media or utilize it’s functions in your business, allocate a time
frame for it outside of your written tasks so it does not interfere with
your productivity. Each time you make a list in this way at the end of the
day, you will feel more and more empowered.


Commit to this method daily and determine to stay with it. Remember to
always write down and prioritize income producing activity. There will
always be the temptation to indulge in activities that may seem productive
because they are easier, more fun or less time consuming. Yet making
the *income
producing activities* your daily priority is the only way to ensure the
results you wish to see at the end of each day/week. This is especially
effective with entrepreneurs and those who are responsible for managing
their own schedules.


Successful achievements breed confidence, confidence breeds creativity and
creativity breeds more success. When we know we are managing our time well
and it reflects in what we accomplish, unknowingly, we develop a success
mentality. Those who prove to be highly successful are often those with
exuberant confidence and creativity. The most effective way to produce this
is through diligently and strategically positioning ourselves to succeed on
a daily basis. Creating these habits will produce many gains for ourselves,
our workplace, our communities, our future and those who are watching us.

Michelle L Steffes

President, IPV Consulting, LLC

Certified Coach/Consultant/Speaker

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*“You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image,
truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.” – John Maxwell*