Cygnet Brown graduated magna cum laude from Argosy University. She is an author of twelve books and a long-time gardener.
A Few Simple Disciplines Make a Major Impacts
"You don't have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years."
(Quote by Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International ©2011)
An Easy Acronym to Increase Productivity
My major business resolution for this year is to increase productivity by concentrating on avoiding procrastination, being prepared, not getting distracted, and by not having a lot of unfinished projects lying around. In order to accomplish this, I have created SOFF. SOFF is an acronym I created to help me plan and implement a more productive daily planning strategy. SOFF stands for
The first important step is to start. Procrastination is the first obstacle to any project getting finished so it is important to begin. Don't hit the snooze button. Get up, get going. Don't put off getting started at work. Grab your coffee. Sit down at your workstation. Don't look at your email. Begin being productive right away. Start with the hardest thing first. Do it! Start it now!
Don't know where to start? Start by writing a list of what you know you need to do today. Make a note to yourself to write tomorrow's list at the end of the day so that you know where you will start tomorrow.
Organize-Determine What you need to do next.
The second step is to organize what your are going to do. According to the late Jim Rohn, you should finish your day before you start it. In other words, know what you're going to do today before your day starts. The best time to organize your day is at the end of the work day of the day before or in the evening of the day before. That way when you start the day, you won't have to figure out what you'll need to do, you'll already know.
When organizing, not only should you know what you will need to do, but also it is in your best interest to break down projects into tasks. A task is a mini project that can be completed in fifteen minutes or less.
For instance, Let's say your project is to clean your office. In this organizing stage, you'll need to break down the job into tasks. You have decided to break down the tasks according to the equipment that you will be using and from top to bottom. You have decided to do cob-webbing using a Webster, dusty using a cloth and spray cleaner, sweeping using a vacuum, and mopping using a pail with soapy water and a mop. You get all your equipment together and are ready to get started.
Now that you have organized your project into tasks, it is time to focus on completing those tasks. The idea of focus is to stay on task. Lack of focus is brought on by distraction. You get started on a project and the phone rings, or someone stops by to talk, you find something else that needs to be done. You stop doing what you had planned and do whatever has distracted you. You've lost your focus and your momentum. Don't let yourself get distracted. Screen your phone and don't pick it up unless it is a true emergency, let it go to voice mail, call the caller back later. If someone stops by, hand them a dust cloth and tell them to get busy. Don't allow yourself to get distracted. Maintain your focus until you have the job done.
If you run out of time before you run out of project, find a good quitting place (preferably as you complete one of the bite sized tasks you've organized) and determine where you will be picking up next time.
If you're thinking that multitasking will help you get more done in less time, statistics have shown that's not the case. Multitasking is another word for distraction and distraction ruins focus and will slow your productivity.
Finish-Complete the Project
As much as I hate to say it, I have a number of unfinished projects around the home and office and those unfinished projects are screaming at me to finish them. Unfinished projects create clutter in our homes, in our computers, and even in our minds. This clutter of unfinished projects bogs down our productivity. Somewhere in our psyches, we are trying to finish these projects and the fact that we are spinning our mental wheels trying to do something with those unfinished projects deter from getting any real work done. Therefore, the more projects we finish, the more productive we become.
There are a number of ways to finish projects that have been previously left unfinished. The first way of course is to complete all the tasks related to the project and lay the project to rest. A second way is to simply discard the project as something you are no longer interested in finishing. Another way of finishing the project is by recycling the project into an ideas or research folder. Perhaps the original is not something that you really want to finish, but the topic still interests you. Move all of your information into a research file and consider the project closed in that way.
The final way to finish a project is to delegate the project either to an expert who knows more about what you are trying to accomplish than you are, or to a subordinate who has the skills or is capable of developing the skills needed to finish the task. In the case of our office cleaning scenario above, perhaps you hire a professional housekeeper to clean your office or perhaps you hire your teenager to train to clean your office.
Whether you use SOFF to schedule a project, a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is an excellent way to increase your productivity in your home or office, and allows you to getting more done in less time than you had imagined.
© 2013 Cygnet Brown
Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on March 01, 2013:
I must admit, B. Leekley, I designed this method because I too had problems following through. SOFF helps me stay on track.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 01, 2013:
Up, Useful, and Interesting. This hub is an inspiration to me. SOFF is my new guiding principle. I am good at starting – I can start a dozen things in half a dozen minutes. I can organize, at least in theory. And I am good at focusing – except that most often I am focusing on something that distracted me rather than on what needs doing. That's a technique of self-sabotage. It's a defining characteristic of an enneagram nine. Maybe keeping SOFF in mind will help me to stay on the taking care of business track and not get sidetracked.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 19, 2013:
This sounds like a great way to begin a new year. Keeping focused and on track is a beginning..your SOFF is a great little tool to use.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Sending Angels your way :) ps
Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on January 11, 2013:
timtalkstech on January 11, 2013:
cygnetbrown, this is a great hub! The points you made about eliminating distractions are spot on for improving productivity.
Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on January 02, 2013:
Yes, Jim Rohn was certainly good at what he did. He is definitely missed.
Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 02, 2013:
You sound like you're starting the year off with some valuable systems in place. Jim Rohn is one of my favorite mentors, Cygnet. I attended a seminar in 1995 that he held in Dallas and it literally changed my life. Another of his quotes on time management that I like is this: "You can always get more money. You can never get more time."