Staying Consistent — Being Efficient & Productive
Do you ever struggle with maintaining your energy and your output on a project? Today I’m talking about staying consistent as part of a system for being efficient and productive.
This is the fourth post in my series. You can find the introduction here to see what you’re going to get. If you prefer video you can watch the video below or take a look at the series playlist on my youtube channel.
So far we’ve talked about making your plan, getting prepared and staying focused while you take action.
Today we’re talking about staying consistent while you’re working through your plan.
A big part of being consistent is using a pattern. Also, a big part of being efficient is using a pattern. A pattern is just another word for a system
I want you to develop a system where you’re always doing lots of small things and getting quick wins. This will push you toward achieving the larger things and getting the big wins. Day to day I want you to focus more on the system than the actual goals.
A goal can be a very elusive thing, just sitting out in the future. You might achieve it or you might not. You never really know. What happens when your goal takes longer than you think it should? What happens when you completely miss your goal? What happens when you achieve your goal? In all those situations you need to stop, look around, assess the situation and come up with a new goal. That’s not very efficient.
When you have a system, there are lots of little things directly in front of you always pushing towards that goal. What happens when your goal takes longer to achieve? You keep pushing at your system. What happens when you miss your goal? You keep pushing at your system. What happens when you finally achieve your goal? You enjoy the moment and keep pushing at your system. The system will lead you to your next goal and it’s fairly automatic.
Basically your system will be a daily or weekly routine that gives you lots of small wins and takes you to those big wins. You may not have control over achieving your goals but you do have control over maintaining your system. There’s no right or wrong way to develop a system. Whatever system works best for you is the best system for you to use.
As an example, I’m going to talk about bowling for a minute. Don’t laugh too loud. I know bowling isn’t a real sport, but it’s something I’m good at. Plus, any sport where you can sit around a table with your friends most of the time is a pretty good sport in my book. I’ve seen a lot of new bowlers grab a ball, wander up to the lane, roll the ball at the pins and hope for the best. If you take a moment to look at a bowling lane you’ll see some dots at the starting point, some arrows 15 feet down the lane and the pins 60 feet down the lane. A better way to get results is to grab a ball, put your foot on the same starting dot and aim for the same nearby arrow every time. This will give you a much better chance of hitting the same pins every time. It’s a great example of a system where doing two small things increases your odds of achieving the third thing.
We need to remember that our first attempt at anything probably going to be our slowest and our least likely to succeed. Your system will allow you to repeat things so you get better, faster and more likely to succeed.
When you’re setting up your system you want to do the same things, in the same way every time. This way you’ll always know what you’ve done and what you still need to do at any given point. You won’t miss things and then back up to redo your efforts.
However patterns and systems are a double edged sword. You don’t want to get stuck in a rut. If somebody asks why you do things in a certain way and your only response is because that’s the way I do it then you might want to take another look at your system. You might want to see if there is indeed a better way to do it. Be conscious of your patterns and be on the lookout for more efficiencies.
A basic way to stay efficient is by taking breaks along the way. You always need time to recharge your body and clear your mind. In addition to taking breaks and pacing yourself during the day. You also want to pace your self over time. You don’t want to release everything you create the moment you’re finished. You want to use your system to complete projects early and stay ahead of schedule. When you experience delays or setbacks you’ll have time to recover and still have regular output for your customers or audience.
Since we’ve been talking about making videos as our examples let’s say you have a goal of releasing ten videos. You can go on a big creative streak and finish all ten videos in ten days. You can release them all each day as you finish them. The world will know all your glory. But then what do you do? You’ll be sitting around on days eleven and twelve with no output. You’ll either be too tired to keep going or you’ll be out of ideas.
You’ll probably be better off with a system where you film one or two videos a week for a number of weeks. During that time you will get a lot better at making videos and you will create a lot of good habits. You can release one video a week so your audience will know what to expect and when to expect it. You can create some anticipation with your regular audience. By the time week ten comes along you will likely have a number of great ideas for your next videos. Combining those ideas with your new skills and habits will give you videos eleven, twelve and thirteen by simply following your system.
So there you have it. You can be more efficient by creating systems for achieving your goals in a consistent way. You can pace your output by creating systems and patterns in your daily and weekly life. You can create plenty of close targets and small wins that will lead you to your big wins. It all leads to being more productive over time.
Now, I want you to leave a comment below and let me know what kind of systems you like to use. Not just work related stuff either, systems can be a good addition to many parts of our lives.
Hopefully this series will help you along your journey and give you some useful tips. I have more great content coming up so stay tuned.
I’ll see you next time when we talk about using leverage and being delusional.
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