We’re certainly all leaders to one extent or another in our lives. It may be in our business world, school life, family or church circle where we choose to exploit our leadership traits. In any event, through a variety of research and study, the authors of “The ONE Thing” came to some real and simple conclusions about what they call the four thieves of productivity.

While their focus was on productivity, I saw a direct link to the choices that a productive leader makes and thought I’d share these concepts. The good news is whether your focus is leadership or being productive in your business, these strategies will be super beneficial for you.

The Four Thieves of Productivity

  1. Inability to say “No”
  2. Fear of Chaos
  3. Poor Health Habits
  4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals

1. Inability to say “No”
Gary Keller suggests that one “Yes” must be defended over time by 1,000 “nos.” In other words, once we commit a yes to something, we have to stay focused and not lose sight of our objective. It’s important to recognize that many other distractions will come along which could derail what we have said “yes” to and that we have to say no to anyone or anything that could distract or hijack our focus.

The fact is that peers will ask for your advice and help. Coworkers will want you to join their team. Family and friends will request your assistance and strangers will seek you out. Invitations and interruptions will come at you from everywhere imaginable. How you handle all this determines the time you’re able to devote to your yes and the results you’re ultimately able to produce.

While saying “no” may feel a bit callous and cold and the feeling of being needed and helping others can be extremely fulfilling, it’s necessary to find the way to say no that doesn’t feel selfish and self-centred. Marketing guru, Seth Godin, says, “You can say no with respect, you can say no promptly, and you can say no with a lead to someone that might say yes….” Godin goes on to say that you can keep your yes and say no in a way that works for you and for others.

For those who tend to say yes to everyone and everything, this is going to require a new skill set they don’t currently possess. It will take some work and energy to get comfortable with this new way of addressing things.

2. Fear of Chaos
Keller and his co-author, Jay Papasan, talk about this concept of Chaos. My first thought was, “why does there have to be chaos?” but they answer it in The ONE Thing. It again is simple. Providing we have said YES to something and made it the ONE thing we’re focused on achieving, it means that other things may pile up around us and/or not get done as we’re totally focused on our commitment.

Part of deciding to say yes to something is also being aware of what you’ll be say no to along the way. “The truth is, it’s a package deal. When you strive for greatness, chaos is guaranteed to show up.” When you commit to your ONE Thing each day, extraordinary results ultimately occur. In time, this creates the income or opportunity to manage the chaos.

3. Poor Health Habits
There are a million how to books and videos out there regarding personal health and welfare. Let’s not over complicate this issue and at the same time, understand that poor health leads to sickness and death. So, in the spirit of keeping it simple, let’s start with diet, exercise, and sleep.

a. Let’s focus on a diet of good foods or real foods and stop eating the sugar filled garbage associated with fast food and processed foods in today’s marketplace. If you are overweight and want to do something about it, start by not eating or drinking “diet” or “low fat” anything. Those are marketing terms that generally make the person crave more and more food. Diet alone won’t create total health but it will take off the weight.

b. Exercise: Do something! Walk 10,000 steps per day and start a simple exercise program for three to four days per week. Start slow and most importantly, CREATE A HABIT.

c. Get your sleep: Many folks short change themselves in the sleep department and yes, everybody has an excuse or reason why. Your body is a sophisticated biological machine and is designed to work on approximately 8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting that now, you will pay for it later. Why not create a new habit and get on track?

Other key areas are: Be sure to hug, kiss and laugh everyday for one’s emotional energy. Set your goals, plans and calendar for mental energy and time block for your business energy.

Lastly, include time to meditate or pray for your spiritual energy.

4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals
Your environment is simply who you see and what you experience every day. It includes work, home and every other spot you find yourself in everyday or on a regular basis. The rule is also simple: Your environment MUST support your goals!

This may require a discussion with various family members including children or partner and/or co-workers. Your environment should be an exciting, fun place that feels like a win-win every day.

Remember this simple phrase:

“No one succeeds alone and no one fails alone. Pay attention to the people around you.”

Seek out those who will support your goals and show the door to those who won’t. I’m hoping that sharing these four thieves of productivity is helpful to all who read them. Excerpts in the article were taken from “The ONE Thing” which was published by Bard Press in Austin, Texas. For additional information on The ONE Thing and/or to order, please go to www.The1Thing.com.