Every morning I listen to something motivational. I recently downloaded an app to my phone called Fresh Motivation. I like it because it allows you to listen to a host of motivational videos while you have a black screen on your phone. This allows you to save battery life. Most of these videos have a mix of different people speaking. This morning I heard a video that featured Jim Rohn. If you have not listened to Mr. Rohn, I suggest you check him out. You could even do it with the free app I mentioned earlier.

In this particular video, he said something that really struck me, and I wanted to share it with you. The quote I remember was, “It is not the hours you put in. It is what you put in the hours.” He said a lot of people say “I am not getting anything done, but I am so busy.” To which he said he asked, “Doing what?” At my work we have people who seem to run around like their pants are on fire, but they seem to make very little progress, or are always behind. Then, we have people who are the opposite. They seem to look like they are barely working, but accomplish many times more than the people who are running around are doing.

How about you? Are there times when you feel like you are working like crazy and not getting anything done? You must ask yourself, what are you putting in the hours that you are putting in? Are they full of distractions? You can work in the yard cutting grass for hours, but if that is also filled with stopping to text friends or watch amusing YouTube videos, you may find yourself with a half mown yard. Same in the gym. I see people who spend more time exercising their thumb muscles on their phone, than their other muscles on the machines they are sitting on.

How do we remedy this problem? There are countless programs and books on ways to increase productivity. They certainly would be worth checking out. One simple idea to start with is to record everything you do, and the time it takes, for an entire day. Something like this…

woke up at 7am

hit snooze until 710

brushed teeth from 711 to 715

made coffee from 715 to 717

Account for every single minute and every activity of your day. If you are mowing the lawn and you stope to text a friend or watch a video, record that. Be honest with yourself. There is no point in saying ‘cut lawn from noon to 2pm’ if really you watched YouTube from 12:05 to 12:15, surfed Facebook from 12:30 to 12:45, and had a text conversation with Betty from 1:07 to 1:13. Be honest about what you spend your time on. Nobody will see this but you. If you are truly looking to increase your productivity and reduce your stress, this honest evaluation will go a long way in accomplishing that.

This may also have the added bonus of showing when you are most productive. This way you can learn when to schedule most of your projects you are working on. Try this for a week and you will be surprised to learn how much time you spend on foolish things and how easy it would be to improve your efforts.

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