3 Steps Toward Purposeful Productivity

Here's how I set myself up for a fulfilling, peaceful, purposefully-productive day as frequently as possible.
Christi Hegstad February 14th, 2024

My favorite kind of day includes a blend of two key ingredients:

Productivity + Peacefulness.

I greatly appreciate when I can go to bed at night knowing I’ve accomplished some purposeful tasks and activities while also experiencing peaceful moments along the way. Frazzled, harried, completely-stressed-out just doesn’t do it for me, regardless of how much I achieve.

Over the years, I have gathered the key strategies that help me experience my favorite kind of day as frequently as possible, which have come together as one of my most-requested keynotes: Run Your Day (So It Doesn’t Run You!). And while different seasons of life call for different actions, here are three that have stood the test of time:

1. Results-Oriented Time Blocking

We all probably recognize that blocking time on our calendar for a specific activity, and honoring that time block for that specific activity, are two separate actions – one much easier than the other. I can’t tell you how many times I used to block an hour for a project, then spend the first 25 minutes trying to decide what exactly I’d do and gathering the necessary materials!

To optimize your valuable time, I suggest adopting what I call Results-Oriented Time Blocking. This primarily involves deciding in advance what, specifically, you will walk away from that time having completed.

Instead of blocking two hours to work on your book, for example, specify that you will complete the outline for chapter 4 or that you will edit pages 56-85. Write this result right into your calendar if possible, to a) remind you to gather necessary supplies in advance, and b) direct your mind immediately upon starting the time block.

Click here for a how-to article on Results-Oriented Time Blocking.

2. Weekly R + P

“Time flies.” Do you agree?

If you’ve ever reached a milestone birthday or the end of a year and wondered where the time went, you can probably relate. And if you’ve ever gotten to that moment and couldn’t recall how you spent the time or what you had to show for it, I highly recommend the Weekly Review + Planning session, or Weekly R+P.

Once a week, maybe on Friday afternoon or Sunday evening, dedicate a bit of time to reflect on how you spent the previous week and to prepare for meaningful success in the upcoming one. You can decide what your Weekly R+P entails; mine includes documenting a few wins, challenges, and lessons learned, for starters.

You could spend as much as an hour on this – maybe brewing a favorite coffee or tea and making it a bit of a ceremony – or complete it during your 15-minute bus ride home. You might adapt this as a monthly and/or quarterly practice, too.

I’ll admit, when I just thought about my 2023, I formed a very different picture in my mind than when I actually reviewed my year’s worth of R+P notes. The year kind of threw me for a loop (as I wrote about last week), but the regular documentation reminded me how much I had grown, achieved, connected, and learned. I was so grateful for this actual data when my mind wanted to tell a different story!

Click here for an in-depth article on the Weekly R+P.

3. Daily Top 3

Really, all this step requires is a pen, a sticky note, and the decision to prioritize!

There’s a saying that if everything is important, then nothing is important; we must do the best we can with our finite amounts of time and energy. So if your Tuesday to-do list boasts 73 items and you weigh them all equally, chances are you won’t wrap up your day feeling very purposeful or productive.

All those tasks may be important – just not equally important. Choose which three matter most today, separate them out from the master list (here’s where the pen and sticky note come in handy), and commit to those actions – even if the day goes off-script and nothing else gets accomplished.

Click here for more insight on prioritizing and choosing your Daily Top 3.

Crafting More of YOUR Favorite Days

What does purposeful productivity look, feel like, and mean to you? Which of these strategies might help you experience it more regularly?

If crafting more productive and peaceful days sounds right up your alley and you’d like to do more of it, I’d love to share more of my favorite strategies with you, as well as provide the tools I use to support them. Feel free to inquire about a speaking engagement for your staff, conference, or leadership retreat! Or check out my other popular sessions to help bring meaning to work, purpose to life, and achieve bold + difference-making goals.

To more fulfilling, peaceful, purposefully productive days in the year ahead!

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