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System, noun: a harmonious arrangement or pattern; a group of related parts that move or work together; any formulated method of plan or procedure.

Atul Gawande, world-renowned surgeon, Harvard professor, and author of “The Checklist Manifesto,” says that there are three characteristics of a successful system: productivity system

  1. The data to determine success vs. failure.
  2. The ability to solve the problems illuminated by the data.
  3. Implementing what you’ve discovered at a large scale.

Managing Complexity

Our lives are complex. We have an endless amount of commitments, communication, and information to manage and execute in the service of our roles as professionals, spouses, parents, friends, and individuals.  In order to help people manage these complex lives, I developed and teach a “productivity system,” based on the definition of productive as “achieving a significant result.” A productivity system then, should provide the ability to not only manage and execute those commitments, communications, and information, but to achieve the results that are significant to you, whether it’s results for today, this week, this year, or this lifetime.

Productivity Checklist

According to Dr. Gawande’s characteristics, an effective productivity system should provide you with the data to determine success vs. failure. Are your daily tasks, and your larger goals and projects visible to you, in a way that you can articulate them easily at any moment? Can you easily track, at the end of each day, week, month, or year, how much progress you made on those tasks, goals and projects? Can you quantify your success toward your significant results?

The second characteristic of an effective productivity system, according to Dr. Gawande, is the ability to solve problems illuminated by the data. If you can’t quickly and easily know all of  your daily tasks or your big picture goals and projects, do you know how to fix that? If you can know those things, but you realize you aren’t making as much progress as you would like, do you have a realistic solution?

Lastly, if you are very clear on everything that needs doing, and you have an idea of how to get it done, can you implement that idea in a repeatable way, so that you can make progress on your significant results not only today, but every day? If you own a business, can you translate this implementation throughout your business?

Making the System Work

Dr. Gawande has said that “Making systems work is the great task of our generation. Complexity requires group success.”

Consider whether any of the following are true: Do you feel that you or your staff:

  • Aren’t spending enough time on “significant” things,
  • Are more reactive than proactive,
  • Doesn’t have a repeatable process for achieving results, both at the individual and corporate level.

If so, perhaps what you need is a “productivity system.” The Empowered Productivity System has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals regain control over their lives and work, and make consistent progress toward their significant results. Learn more by perusing the site or reach out by phone (424-226-2872) or email (info at regainyourtime dot com.) I look forward to helping you!

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