How to get started when you don’t know where to start.

On a recent Henry Cloud podcast, he shared some tangible tools on how to maintain focus and increase productivity by answering three key questions.

The Three Questions:

  • What do you pay attention to that drives the needle? (key activities directly related to progress)

  • What do you need to cut that gets in the way? (distractions)

  • How am I going to keep what’s relevant in front of me at all times? (creating your dashboard)

3 steps you can take to keep these priorities in front of you (and really this can become a “cycle of productivity” that becomes repeatable for people and companies)

The Cycle of Productivity

1. Focus on 6 Things Over 6 Weeks:

Things change so fast in today’s environment, so while it’s good to have those 1, 3 and 5 year goals, increments of 6 weeks for tangible deliverables allow you to remain agile enough to adapt to your surrounding environment while seeing measurable progress in shorter bursts. Know where you spend your time and attention vs. how you want to spend your time and attention. Once you’ve identified those 6 areas of focus, you can design your time around those things.

2. Do a Time Audit:

Perform a distraction audit: Identify your greatest distractions and then use tools like Freedom to remove social media or web surfing distractions during your core work time and tools like Toogl or a simple Pomodoro timer to go into “work bursts” throughout the day where you execute on focused work.

3. Dashboard:

The goal is to keep what’s relevant in front of you at all times, in order to keep a “pulse” on how close or far you are to your key priorities on any given day. Creating a dashboard can take many different forms: a sticky not on your mirror, an accountability partner, software or app like DataBox, journal or planner like the Passion Planner, or a project management system like Trello. Figure out what works best for you and put it to work.

Repeat this process every 6 weeks, creating new initiatives and evaluate your personal and professional growth, determining the types of shifts you want to make as you enter into each new cycle.