Do you find yourself too distracted to get important things done? Have you tried every method to stay productive but haven’t found the right one? We talk with two expert consultants on how you can finally tackle that to-do list.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The art of stress-free productivity, emphasizes committing ourselves to the outcome of the task itself, and then asking what physical activity needs to happen in order to get to our desired outcome. Allen’s three steps for reaching productivity are “capture , clarify and organize.” We must capture what has our attention in a to-do list or a reminder. Next, we should clarify if what we captured is actionable. Then, we should delegate certain lists for certain activities.
Productivity consultant Steve McClatchy notes that both a to-do list and a calendar serve as the most efficient productivity methods. Before we can commit to an activity, we must look on our calendars to see if we are free. Once we write an activity down on the calendar, the to-do is the action after the decision is made. McClatchy says that although people look at procrastination negatively, it often forces us to complete an activity or task. He explains that putting something off long enough may cause our bodies to panic, which then leads to focusing all our energy on the activity that we once dreaded.
When it comes to respecting authority, we may face conflicts with our bosses or leaders if we are told to do something illegal or immoral. We talk with Ira Chaleff, founder and president of Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates, who says that sometimes it may be necessary for us to disobey authority in order to protect ourselves and others. “Some of us learn the lessons of obedience a little too well, and when the time comes to stand up to the boss we give in because we’re afraid of negative repercussions if we don’t,” Chaleff says. “We can take some fear out of the experience if we know how to say “no.”
Chaleff elaborates about Intelligent Disobedience: thinking consciously about the orders we are given, saying “no” in a calm, professional manner, and explaining why we chose to do so. He says this method works for anyone, from an office employee to a soldier on the battlefield. Even service dogs learn intelligent disobedience for when they are given a command that may endanger their owner.
Chaleff says that practicing intelligent disobedience requires the courage to assume responsibility, the courage to help a leader move past your decision, and the courage to take a moral stand. He also advises teaching children to think carefully about what they are asked to and how to determine the right time to obey and the right time to question authority.