Have you ever reached the end of a day and felt like you got nothing done? It’s a horrible feeling! Frustrating days like this leave us with a laundry list of people and circumstances that caused our unproductivity. Rewind the clock to your morning coffee and write down your current #1 push forward priority. Then write the numbers 1-5 and list the five most important tasks you can complete in order to come closer to accomplishing your goal. If you could do the frustrating day over again, chances are you would handle your meetings, conversations, and even your individual work time differently. A day in which you accomplished five specific tasks that brought you one step closer to an important goal is a great day.

This tip, called Difference-Making Actions, doesn’t allow for anything but clarity. It seems incredibly simple, but it’s only simple if you do it. Try doing it every day for two weeks and see the impact of taking control of your day. From salespeople and marketers to executives and middle managers, this strategy has helped people drill down to absolute clarity. Here’s the one essential element to the DMA strategy, they must be specific and measureable. In order for something to be measureable, it has to have a number attached to it.

For example: A salesperson who wants to make $10,000 in commission every month might know from experience that she will need to find four new clients. And to find those four new clients, she needs to set one appointment each day, which she should be able to do by making 20 sales calls each day. She now has a strong DMA: Make 20 sales calls each morning with the goal of setting one new appointment each day. By making this the most important part of her day, the salesperson can focus on that goal without being distracted by incoming phone calls, meetings, and other items that are urgent, but less important.

Productivity is good, but balance is important too. We all know someone who is ultra-productive, expects everyone else to be ultra-productive, and doesn’t care one bit about you as a person. It’s all about maximizing the efficiency of each working day, but not at the expense of relationships. So, try the DMA strategy. Give it a test run. You, your colleagues and boss will see the results! Time is a most valuable resource. Spend it wisely. Spend it doing good, productive work. When you make every day a productive day, while still valuing rela­tionships, you have succeeded!

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