Prime Advantage Blog

Playing the Long Game with Your Productivity

Guest Contributor on Feb 7, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Andy McNulty of Communication Performance Management Associates, discusses how you can be more productive by keeping score of your goals.

No, life is not a game. But it can be a lot of fun and maybe we’d be better at it if we kept score. For example, everybody I know who plays golf wants to play more. But as marriage and work and kids tend to creep into our (tee-)time, it gets more and more difficult to find the time and the money, and even the accomplices, with whom to sneak away with and squeeze in even nine holes. If we were more efficient with those things which appear to be the obstacles to our golf game, we’d have more resources to allocate to playing. Ironically, “playing golf every day,” can help us to play more golf…or at least be more productive and do something we really want to do if playing golf isn’t it. (Some people would rather fish.) 

OK, “playing golf every day” doesn’t really mean taking your clubs and heading to the course to burn 5 hours and fifty bucks. “Playing golf every day,” in this instance, means creating a “golf- themed” regimen that could potentially result in a more productive work environment, a more satisfied and well-adjusted family environment, and an improved financial situation. “Playing golf every day” means identifying 18 “holes” that represent the most important aspects of your personal and professional life. After identifying the “holes,” you then establish a “par” for those “holes.” That means they have to be quantifiable. They should also be challenging. For example, brushing your teeth should not be a “hole” on your “Daily Golf Course.” That’s probably something you already have as part of your regimen that is a daily activity that will result in the positive results or preventative measures it is intended to yield. But brushing your teeth is a great example of an already successful element of your day that works for you the same way these other, new, and different “holes” could.

Want to get in shape? Great. Going to the gym could be one of your “holes.” Going to the gym is a “par.” Not going is a “bogey.” Got a guitar you haven’t picked up since you bought it? Super. Practicing for 20 minutes a day is “par.” More than that is a “birdie.” Less than that is a “bogey.” Get it? Is one 20-minute practice session really going to make you a guitar player? No. But 365 of them in a row certainly will.

That’s the whole idea. You take the outcome you want and break it down into daily activities that - should you incorporate them into your daily routine - will result in accomplishing it at the end of 365 days in a row of those daily activities. Some of these might be work related that are restricted to Monday - Friday “playing.” Either way, the same principles apply.

If you’re new in sales, you might have a commission structure that will get you $50,000 extra a year if you reach your revenue or profit or market share objectives. The best way to make that happen at the end of the year, is to make one two-hundred-and-fiftieth of that happen every day. (That’s 5 days x 50 weeks.) Like any project or goal, it’s always better to do little bit of it with high frequency than to try to do all of it at once.

Let’s say the boss set the revenue goal at $1,000,000. If the average sale is $20,000, then you would need to get 50 orders to meet your goal. That’s about four orders per month, or one per week. If your closing percentage is 20%, you need to quote 20 deals in a month to get your four orders. And if you get a quoting opportunity on 20% of your sales appointments, you need 100 appointments per month to get there. That’s about five appointments per day. The five you go on are not the “holes.” The five you make, are. The five you go on are the results. The five appointments you set are the activity. This is the daily activity that will lead to the weekly or monthly results, that done consistently over the course of a year, will lead to the desired outcome. Again, this is applicable for your personal and your professional lives.

An example might look like this:

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Make the “holes” what you want. They can be for anything and they can be changed any time. If you smoke two packs a day and are trying to quit, it could be an incremental goal of one pack a day. When that “par” becomes too easy, you “back up the tees” and make it 10 cigarettes a day, etc. Want to start a walking regimen? Make that a “hole” where par is “around the block.” Then when that “hole” becomes too easy, “back up the tees” and make it a mile; and so on. Keep in mind; the concept is that these “holes” represent incremental pieces of your individual success in your personal and professional life. It’s not about what your spouse, kids, or boss wants you to do. This is not a “honey-do” list or “Strategic Selling Plan” as dictated by somebody else. That’s key. This is yours. You design “the course.” You determine “par.” And like in golf; you are on your honor to keep a fair and accurate score. It is the only way to get better.

It doesn’t have to be based on the game of golf. Consider this merely an introduction to the concept using golf as the mechanism of delivery. There are lots of ways to create specific, purposeful daily activities that are formatted and regimented similarly that get the exact same positive results without using golf as the conduit for personal and professional improvement. It’s not the “game,” it’s the commitment.

“Who’s Got Time for That?”

If you take the time, you’ll make the time. You won’t believe how much time you’ll actually pick up or create by taking the time to format a daily regimen like this. It’s a disciplined approach which will make you more productive, which breeds more productivity. Getting these necessary yet neglected items incorporated into your daily routine, will not only improve those specific areas from which they are extrapolated, it will also create the drive and desire to seek out and improve other, less routine or regimented areas. Not to mention, getting those daily positives done, frees your mind and your spirit from being bogged down knowing they should be getting done, but not getting them done.

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Lastly, this is personal. It might occur to you that doing this with a buddy or a family member will help you stay on track and “compete” to improve. Be careful with that. You’re not “playing the same course.” Their “course” is theirs. Yours is yours. The simple and honest process of tracking your own “scores” provides enough conscious accountability to drive commitment. One of the most special parts of golf is the honor and integrity associated with keeping your own score. And remember, it’s not improving your “scores” that is the objective here. “Shooting a good score” is the path to improving those elements of your life that are composed of doing all these things. Not doing them better, but by establishing a “par” for each of them, and simply doing them.

You don’t need to brush your teeth “better.” You just need to keep brushing them. That works.

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Topics: Talent and Leadership

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