The Secret to Be Productive, Always - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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The Secret to Be Productive, Always

by Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS

"Research suggests that individuals can achieve an improvement in work performance by as much as 20-25% simply by goal setting." (Center for Management &Amp; Organization Effectiveness)

You’ve heard it a thousand times; set goals, make to do lists, and everything will be great. I’m going to show you the simplest way to get more done with time left over for fun!

Action Steps

Gary wrote that he really likes the "Action Steps" from Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance and asked me to write about them at The Dollar Stretcher.

Goal setting sounds like a big ordeal, and as with many "big" actions, we tend to avoid them rather than getting started. Here’s how to get the "goal setting" benefit by doing less.

Secret: Do Less

  1. Get a notebook and label it "Action Steps"

  2. Every couple of months or so, sit down for 5 minutes and write down 2-3 things you want to accomplish the next few months. But here’s the trick. Don’t just write down some vague idea like, "Pay off debt." In order for this to work, the action step must be specific and quantifiable.

    Good action step: Make $150.00 payment every month for the next three months on Bank of America credit card.

    Bad action step: Pay off all credit cards.

  3. Every morning, list the 3 most important action steps for the day. Stop the squealing in the background. I know you have a million things to do every day, but choose the 3 top items for the day and write them down. Same rules as before, specific and quantifiable.

    Good action step: Call 2 contacts and ask for support for ABC project.

    Bad action step: Call people about project.

    Good action step: Go to Bank of America website and find out how to schedule direct $150.00 fund transfer from checking account to Bank of America credit card. Notice that this action step is a tiny step, you aren’t paying the bill yet, but you are taking an action to find out how to schedule a direct payment.

    Bad action step: Pay off credit card.

  4. When you complete the action step for the day, cross it off. That’s it. You’re done. If you complete all three action steps, anything else you do during the day is gravy.

Avoid the temptation to write a list a mile long. Of course, there are a million items you could put on your list, but you are more likely to complete your "action step" if you keep it small and measurable.

The Result

This strategy insures that you get the absolute most important stuff done. You progress towards the activities that you deem the most crucial. You’re not spending time on little time wasters that don’t move you forward!

Get started right now! Try it for 3 days and see how it works out!

What is your best action step?

Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is editor-in-chief of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com where she writes to educate, inspire, and motivate for wealth in money and life. Learn about personal finance from a real life Portfolio Manager & MBA professor! Stop by the website and download a valuable free eBook, 20 Minute Guide to Investing.



Gary said:


Thanks for sharing. I especially like the concept of 'doing less'. Seems like often success was determined by what I chose NOT to do. Things that might have looked good but that only would have diverted time, money and other resources from more productive uses. And, as you say, there are only so many things that we can do. It's easy to get overwhelmed by trying too many things at once.

November 17, 2011 2:46 PM

DRASTIC MEASURE TO LOWER YOUR COST OF LIVING | Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance said:

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November 18, 2011 4:21 AM

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