Five Steps to Increased Efficiency

efficiencyProductivity. It’s something that all business leaders and professionals are thinking about — how to do more in each day, eliminate the distractions, and keep focused on achieving the big business goals that lie ahead.

In a recent post, contributor Minda Zetlin interviewed Brian Moran, author of the “12 Week Year,” for his thoughts about how professionals can use efficiency to meet their goals faster.

Moran suggesting thinking of the calendar not as 12 months, but 12 weeks.

“If you embrace 12 weeks as a year, it changes your thinking. It creates a healthy sense of urgency. Twelve weeks is long enough to make significant progress, but near enough that you don’t lose sight of the deadline.”

Here are five steps to get started with Moran’s 12-week planning model:

1. Begin with a vision: “We work with life vision because business is just part of life,” Moran says. Think about where you’d like to be professionally or personally in three years and ask yourself what needs to happen to make that vision a reality.

Goal-setting and visioning helps business leaders shape their short and long-term planning, to ultimately move closer to realizing the vision they set forward.

2. Create a plan: Once you’ve established a clear vision for your life or business, the next step is creating the plan to get you there. “Set 12-week goals: where do I need to be in the next three months to be on pace with the long-term vision.”

The key is keeping the plan simple. Complicated plans can overwhelm from the start, so focus on executing a few important pieces nearly flawlessly.

3. Set your process: Focus on building systems and processes that reinforce the goals and vision. The unexpected happens, but a tried-and-true system will keep you focused and productive even when the daily and weekly responsibilities of your job get in the way.

By pulling weekly deliverables and goals from the 12 week plan, you’re developing discipline.

4. Get some metrics: “Measurement is the anchor of reality,” says Moran. Measure execution rather than results to continually refine your process, and focus on actions that lead to the results that you want.

Often, if you’re not getting the results you need or expected, there’s a problem with execution. Metrics are the only way that you’ll know for sure what is and isn’t working.

5. Take control of your time: Carve out time for strategic planning and business growth every day. The practice will get you attuned to reassessing goals and moving timelines so things get done, rather than pushed out.

“In those strategic blocks, your ability to concentrate is dramatically improved. Most of that strategic activity doesn’t have a payoff today, but if I don’t carve out that time to do the strategic work, it never happens.”

How do you increase your own efficiency?