Increase Your Personal Productivity By Celebrating!
John Holobinko, Managing Director, Business Reimagined, LLC
Chances are that you are your greatest critic. And while personal reflection is an important part of business leadership, it can sometimes also be counterproductive.
Consider if you fit the following profile: You look at your business and see large projects that need to be completed. As a whole, they look overwhelming. If you take the time to do all of them, you won’t have any time whatsoever to do your day to day business. You can’t even afford to spend the time it will take to get even one of these initiatives done from start to finish. And trying to get one completely done in your off hours is Impossible – you are already swamped on a day to day basis. So you dread starting any one of your projects because you don’t see how you will get it done.
The result is that you do not take on any project. This is bad, because your business cannot progress. You have become stuck in an endless routine of doing the same things. It is likely that your business cannot grow further or scale up, because you can’t make material improvements to the way you operate. There is seemingly no solution, … and you become disappointed in yourself.
There is a solution, but it requires a change in your mentality. Instead of looking at all those big projects and trying to do take one on completely, and then judging yourself harshly for not being able to do them, consider the following alternative approach:
- Look at your list of projects and how it would feel and how your business would change if each were to be completed. Choose one project from the list that would have a strong impact.
- Now think of how to break this project down into a series of mini- steps. Make these steps sufficiently small that each one can be accomplished in a minimum amount of time, say a few hours over one night or a couple of sessions within one week, no more. If one element of the project is too big, simply break it into a series of steps that consist of percentages – 20% complete, 40% complete, etc. It is OK if you have 20 steps, even more.
- Create a single page spreadsheet or list with each of the steps on it.
Next is the most important part in the process:
- Do the first step and immediately celebrate your accomplishment. Congratulate yourself for getting something done. Then, at the your next planned little time segment, go on to the next step.
Why is #4 so important? On a big project, chances are you have never gotten any positive feedback during the process. You have always viewed each project as a long, hard job with seemingly no end in sight because you are not used to congratulating yourself along the way.
By celebrating after each small step, you give yourself a sense of accomplishment, positive reinforcement and an incentive to go to the next step, because you tasted success early. Each step becomes more exciting because you know you will be able to celebrate each time you complete a small task on the way to your bigger goal. Whether it takes one month or six months, you ultimately succeed in accomplishing a project that seemingly looked impossible to the old you. And your business benefits from it.
If you think this sounds trivial, ask yourself “How many big projects have I successfully completed in the last year?” If your answer is none, then how do you think the future will be any different than the past?
So, think about one of your projects and how to break it up into a series easily accomplished mini-projects. Celebrate the completion of each one. Track the completion of each step; celebrate after each. And then watch your business become more successful because of you!