In many parts of Africa, we are yet to develop the capacity or willingness to distinguish between our official and private roles as regards to many of our relationships. This is costing us the potential productive results of billions of manhours in our various professions. It is very common to visit a European or American office that turns over billions of dollars in a year but which probably has only a handful of visitors daily. In Africa, on the other hand, it is not unusual for government offices and private businesses to be flocked by hundreds of visitors on a daily basis. Two things are very amusing, if not sad, about the situation: First are the people who visit offices without a prior appointment, and second are the officers that accept to entertain the unscheduled visitors! At the end, time and effort are all wasted.
I think many of us mistake being busy with being productive.
Our bad daily productivity, which is essentially only wastes of effort, time and other resources, is a result of lack of prioritisation and poor planning. It is all ‘noise’ and occasional accidental ‘desired results’, if at all. Most of bad daily effort is physical but only shallow, if any mental effort.
On the other hand, our good daily productivity is the desired results of the following:
- Prioritization of goals
- Planning of activities
- Wise application of effort and other resources
Most of good daily effort is mental and a reasonable physical effort.
All of us have only twenty-four hours on a daily basis. But it is what we do on a daily basis that determines the results we achieve and the quality of our journey in life. To be effective in any field of our chosen endeavours, we must take our hours and days seriously by ensuring that we prioritize our goals; plan our activities very well and apply our effort and other resources wisely.
We can help ourselves achieve the above by,
- Being very clear about our short-term and long-term goals.
- Planning our daily activities, from the mundane to the strategic. These might include our phone calls, email communications, customer visits, strategic meetings, etc.
- Being clear about the use of all resources in pursuit of desired goals. Time, physical and mental effort, financial resources, relationships etc. must all be evaluated vis-à-vis the goal in mind.
- Letting the people that you regularly deal with to know what your typical routines are. Do not entertain people who do not have prior appointments with you except in genuine emergencies!
- Being generous with your ‘nos’. Inability to say ‘no’ can be very stressful and will cost you dearly. Be polite but firm with your nos!
Prioritisation, planning and wise application of effort have several benefits the following of which are only a few:
- Enhances your personal efficiency in the use of your resources, and
- Enhances your personal effectiveness in terms of achieving your desired goals,
- Enhances your health and comportment through deliberation and self-control.
Remember, being productive is about delivering results as efficiently as possible while being busy is all about physical, perhaps some mental activity, but not necessarily delivering results.
Feature photo: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels s