Productivity tools are awesome.  There’s always something new, and they’re so helpful.  I’m a fan. And I’m always going to use them, but I’ve found that creating mindsets is what’s most important.  Once you have the mindset, the methods will follow.

But how do you establish the mindset?  By growing your confidence and fostering creativity.

GROWING YOUR CONFIDENCE

As a leader, one of your highest priorities needs to be protecting your confidence.  Confidence is essential.  Without it, you’ll never step in and do the hard things.  We typically procrastinate on things we don’t feel confident about.  We’re human….if we don’t know how it’s going to work out or how we’re going to do it, we drag our feet.

If you grow in your confidence, your productivity will follow.

So how do you practically do that?  Rehearse your past wins.  Think about the times you’ve succeeded in the past and let that fuel your confidence that you will succeed again.  Don’t create a game for yourself that you can’t win. If you have 10 items on your to do list and complete 7, don’t beat yourself up over the lingering 3.  That will destroy your confidence. Refuse to beat yourself up for what you’re not doing and instead start celebrating your wins.

Now for the next piece…

FOSTERING CREATIVITY

I tell the leaders I work with all the time you can create or complain, but you can’t do both.  When you complain you limit yourself.  You’re focusing on the negative and no one is ever productive in the negative state.

On the other hand, when you’re focused on the positive, you can create.  And the good news is, that outlook is entirely up to you- not any of your outside circumstances.

How do you practically grow in creativity?  By deciding your goal and being very clear about it.  Fiercely clear because the person with the most clarity always wins.  Establish clear goals then describe the benefits.  

This is your bigger why.  Why does this matter? Why is achieving this goal important?  Drawing out your emotion is essential because actual motion will come from e-motion or passion.  Whatever you aren’t emotional about, you won’t change. You don’t put effort and intention toward things you aren’t passionate about.

Finally, define the obstacles.  You need to list out all of the hurdles you’re going to have to overcome.  You can have problems or you can have obstacles. I prefer obstacles. Problems imply that there’s nothing I can do to fix them.  Hurdles, on the other hand, are just things that must be overcome.

The raw material for you to achieve any goal is hidden inside of obstacles.  

Once you know your obstacles, plan for how you’re going to overcome them.  Don’t waste your time being mad that they’re there,  just focus on the steps to get over them.

Creativity and confidence work together to allow you to focus on solutions- not problems.  They help us focus.  And where your focus goes, your productivity flows.