How often do you find yourself thinking, “Where did the day go?” Since I find myself saying it on a regular basis, I decided to take a closer look at exactly what I did with my day; two businesses, traveling, writing articles and teaching classes, five kids, and one husband. Where does the time go, indeed! We always look at everything we are responsible for, but there is nothing worse than ending your day and feeling like you did not get anything accomplished.
I am a firm believer that in order to end your day on a good note, you have to feel accomplished. The only way to do that is to be productive. I started keeping a note pad next to my desk and every hour I would jot down what I just accomplished. At first it was a bit disheartening, but then it became a challenge. I would begin my day with a list of what needed to be accomplished and ended the list with a few extra things that I would like to accomplish. As I proceeded through my day, I would check things off that I completed. With each checkmark, it became more and more exciting yet, at the same time, it illuminated a part of my day that I had not previously realized was so substantial... interruptions!
As I checked off an item and busied myself on the next task, I suddenly found myself side-tracked amongst one, if not more of the following situations:
- Received a phone call that required immediate attention.
- Tending to a client or student.
- Having an unexpected visitor who needed just a minute of my time.
- Realized I forgot to do payroll.
- Realized I forgot to place an inventory order.
- Getting distracted by the chaotic inventory closet in desperate need of straightening.
- Getting distracted by the disorganization in the clinic/treatment area.
- While away from the office, I run into a client.
- Broken equipment that need immediate attention.
It is important to make a list of things that need to be accomplished, add a few things that you would like to accomplish... and plan on interruptions. However, the secret is to make your list your priority, even with the interruptions.
In my experience, not only did I finish what was on my list of things I needed to accomplish, I actually finished what was on my list of things I would like to accomplish. Checking off each item as I completed a task was like this new found sense of freedom and accomplishment. Better yet, when the interruptions came, I found the unique ability to deal with them quickly and efficiently, without making them life-altering and finding myself pre-occupied and caught up in their every detail. I cannot tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to walk out of work at the end of the day feeling and being productive!
According to the Concise Oxford American Dictionary,
"the word productive means achieving or producing a significant amount of result. Whereas the word productivity means, n. 1 the state or quality of producing something. 2 the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input."
Now it is your turn; your task at hand is to make a list, check it twice, and make every minute of every day count. Not only will you be productive, you will find yourself more motivated, goal oriented and successful. When I feel overloaded, overwhelmed and unproductive, it effects my attitude, my mood and my health; I am easily distracted, I do not sleep well; I have no desire to exercise; and I am cranky and not happy. None of those qualities make for a successful individual. Sometimes the best way to gain perspective on your accomplishments and productivity is to take a step back and view yourself as an outsider. It is easy to get so absorbed within our actions and what we perceive as critical at the moment that we lose sight of the big picture, the whole day, week, month or year. When you make a list, it gives you perspective and a better view of the big picture.
"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. "
Thomas A. Edison
I challenge you to stop, take at look in the mirror. Now, make yourself a promise; take out a piece of paper and make a plan to become more productive right now. You do not have to wait until tomorrow. Make every day a happy, healthy and productive one. Not only do you deserve it, only you can make it happen!
Michelle D’Allaird is a New York State licensed aesthetician and International CIDESCO Diplomat. She is the owner of the Aesthetic Science Institute aesthetic schools in Syracuse and Latham, N.Y. She is a consultant and educator for international cosmetic companies around the world. D’Allaird is a contributing author to major industry trade magazines, as well as a host and speaker for International Congress of Esthetics & Spa conferences in Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and Long Beach. She is also a co-author of Salon Fundamentals aesthetic textbook. Her expertise lies in education and curriculum development for aesthetic, medical and laser courses.