Fearless leaders are always willing to go out and learn, take good chances, and manage themselves well in terms of time and resources. Their reward is usually massive productivity. But if you look at that productivity under the microscope, you'll see that their results tie back to one thing.
For true success, build a system
About all productive people build some kind of system that can help them get things done. Sometimes, that system is super simple. You might keep your coffee filters right next to the coffee pot to keep your brew efficient, for example. The system can also be more complex, like using productivity apps, getting feedback from specific people, or preparing documents in a certain order every time.
There's no "right" way to be productive. You've probably seen one person who flies through a job and another who gets the job done just in time, for instance. Both of those people are accomplishing their tasks and getting to the finish line. You have to find a system that works for you and your circumstances. Building that system will help you stay on task in ways that keep your risks low. It's the foundation you need not just for amazing quality but also for getting the consistent results that others need to see if they're going to trust you.
How to build a system that skyrockets your productivity level
Even though your systems don't have to look or operate the same as those of anyone else, you can jumpstart them with three key tips:
1. Write things down.
You can use good old paper and pencil, Post-its, or whatever else you like here. Writing things down longhand is important for any productivity system. This simple act can make recall easier, and you can jot ideas down and leave them for later so you can focus on more immediate tasks. It can help you sort through your thoughts and organize them in a way others can more easily follow.
2. Create an action list.
This is really your to-do list. The traditional to-do list has gained a negative connotation, as it can become overwhelming and take on a mind of its own. Call it an action list instead. This simple relabeling will remind you that you are in charge. The word "action" also implies progress on a journey toward something rather than just checking off an individual job, and progress is often positive.
3. Prioritize actions.
You'll have points on your action list that are more important than others. Ask yourself what your self-driven vision really is. Which action points are most critical to getting to that vision? Prioritize those. Other points can be beneficial - you don't have to toss them in the garbage. But if they're not going to get you to your main goal, then they should be lower on your action list.
With a great system, you'll get things done
Many workers have great ambition and other leadership traits, such as charisma or solid integrity. But the people who really find success and make it to the top are the ones who know exactly what they want to do and what's necessary to do it. They create a customized system that will help them move cleanly from one step to the next with good self-accountability and consistency.
Lean on the three tips above to create a system that's ideal for you. No matter what your system ends up looking like, treat time as your most precious asset. It's also okay to tweak your system over time. After all, the world can change in the blink of an eye, and you should be constantly growing and finding better options for yourself. The clearer you are on what you have to work with and where you want to go, the faster you'll walk across your personal finish line.