5 Steps to Achieve Peak Productivity
As psychologist Abraham Maslow explored the idea of human motivation, he pondered the concept of what really motivated people. Through his research in 1943, he identified primary needs people must satisfy before moving forward. This became known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a five-level pyramid that illustrates the pattern of motivation. (You can see what it looks like below.)
Myles recognizes that people are constantly bombarded with information, and multitasking causes stress and is usually counterproductive. She wants people to step back and to simplify—to feel in control.
“Productivity is not about being able to do more, to get through your entire to-do list, but instead to be focused and able to get through the most important items, the things that are going to move your company or career forward,” she says.
Inspired by Maslow’s work, Myles created the Peak Productivity Pyramid—an approach to a more productive life.
“[The system makes it] so easy to see the entire roadmap, to identify where you are and where you are headed,” Myles says. “It is, after all, much easier to get where you are going if you have directions, if you have a map.”
Like Maslow’s, this pyramid has five levels, and each tier supports the next. Here are Myles’ key pieces of advice for each productivity level, starting at the base:
1. Physical organization:
Myles suggests employing the “Three To’s” of sorting: To Toss, To Do, To Keep. “Too often people get bogged down trying to sort and file at the same time. By eliminating everything that can be tossed, identifying everything to do and everything else to be kept (filed), eliminating clutter becomes a manageable task,” she says.
2. Electronic organization:
Here, she introduces the ABCs of email processing: Access, Batch, Check, Delete, Execute, File. “Keeping your inbox clear at regular but specific intervals should give you hours of additional time each week, decrease your stress from worrying about forgetting something, and increase your overall effectiveness at handling what is most important in a timely manner,Myles writes.
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