“I have been using The 5 Choices learning to increase my productivity in the other roles I have in my life. I use weekly planning to achieve goals on each role. The most relevant thing I achieved is the ability to turn our dinners into a highly focused moment of dialog among my family; no TV or phones.”
5 Choices Participant, March 2012, Brazil
Does it seem like, more and more, you are so busy working to accomplishing a variety of tasks all at once that you are rarely able to dig deep and focus on accomplishing any task or project with excellence?
A number of years ago, Linda Stone coined the term, Continuous Partial Attention (CPA). Continuous partial attention is the process of paying simultaneous attention to a number of sources of incoming information, but at a superficial level. In essence, it is a kind of multitasking but adds the element of just skimming the surface and quickly moving on to the next set of data. The other critical difference between multi-tasking and CPA is that multi-tasking is an effort to be productive and efficient by attempting to accomplish two or more tasks at once. Whereas CPA is an effort to just get by through the least amount of effort and attention. Consider two examples of CPA:
Example 1: You are researching an idea related to a new product that you are developing, but rather than diving into books and articles on the related topic, you go to Wikipedia or copy and paste some Executive Summaries. Your research might contain the essential elements of “average” but the differentiating elements that could bring insights to your research are not discovered or included.
Example 2: You come home from a crazy day at work. You are tired (physically and mentally) and dinner still needs to be prepared. You turn on the news and begin pulling out ingredients from the fridge when your 6 year old comes running into the kitchen excited to tell you all about her day. You nod a fair amount and say “that’s great” a few times as you continue to try to pick up the news headlines and prepare the meal without burning it.
If you start to see the quality of your work decrease or the relationships in your life begin to falter, maybe you are getting out of the habit of focusing your attention to the most important “jobs to be done.” CPA can be the cause of “settling for ordinary” rather than “going for extraordinary”. When you feel this happening, maybe it is time to slow down and re-train your brain to take the time necessary to focus on a few critical things and accomplishing them with quality.
Contributed by Todd Musig, Productivity Practice, FranklinCovey
Nitasha Truss makes sandwiches at Subway. So do thousands of other employees. But with the same job description, she rises above. What’s the difference? She has CHOSEN to reach her potential. Identifying and choosing to execute on a vision of success in a particular role keeps one focused on what’s important and setting aside some of the wild distractions of today’s world. Click here to read more about Nitasha’s celebrated success and ponder how this may effect her future opportunities.
In the 5 Choices we tell William Kamkwamba’s incredible story and how he took a Quadrant 1 (Urgent) situation and transformed that situation by making Quadrant 2 decisions. CLICK HERE to see William tell his story.
I have to say that since I attended the 5 Choices training, it has really lit a fire underneath me. I have shared it with my supervisors and my co-workers. It has really given me a whole new way of looking at my co-workers and gave me a better appreciation and understanding of how others work. Sharing these tips and techniques has enabled me to help everyone see that they too can achieve Extraordinary Productivity! Awesome job, Covey!
Contributed by a 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity participant
It was a great start for the extraordinary productivity ….
I stopped by acting and reacting and thought for a while and asked myself, “Was I more into acting to reacting?” Honestly I was more into reacting and getting my self imposed to react with the urgency of other’s demands (in work & personal life even).
I was trying during the week to start practicing the acting and being proactive; more or less results was fine at the moment and expected to be much better by practicing and focusing.
Following the Time Matrix principle has given me the chance to quit a bad habit which upsets my family. I really managed to keep my laptop at the office over the weekend.
I was trying to keep my self away from Quadrant 4. I knew when to say NO and am a bit not anymore interested to be in Quadrant 3. I need to admit this week I spent most of my time in Quadrant 1 and this is exceptional as we had a new product launch for the whole week to our customers.
I’ll keep an eye and get more space in Quadrant 2 …. Awaiting for the second choice.
Submitted by Mo’ayyad AL-Quwaqzeh, FranklinCovey Client
After getting started and trying to define goals and strategies, I soon discovered the importance of involving my boss, my co-worker(s) and even my spouse. It is clear that it is possible to define things for yourself you seldom can see the forest through the trees. I highly recommend including others in your decisions, not unlike real life, in order to achieve the Really Extraordinary!
Submitted by Greg McAllister, FranklinCovey Client
Dawn Loggins grew up in a ramshackle home with no electricity and no running water. She often went days, even weeks without showering. She and her brother Shane would walk 20 minutes to a public park to fetch water. At the beginning of her senior year in high school, she was abandoned by her drug-abusing parents. She was left homeless, alone and to fend for herself.
Thanks to the support of the community and faculty at her high school Dawn was able to find a place to live, get a job, finish high school with straight A’s and apply for college. Dawn applied to four colleges within the state and one final application to her reach-for-the-stars choice, Harvard.
Not only was Dawn accepted to Harvard, she got a full ride. She was offered tuition, room and board, as well as assistance finding an on-campus job. Click here to read this Extraordinary Story.
I have been amazed at how two big ideas have shifted my paradigm around productivity and effectiveness.
The first is the concept of going for extraordinary. I have begun to name my key roles, using a “Superhero” moniker, because superheros embody the transition of simple, ordinary people into extraordinary human beings. For example, instead of being a Client Partner at FranklinCovey – I want to be “Greatness Guy”. It’s not meant to be silly or flip, nor do I plan on leaping between Chicago skyscrapers in red tights. But thinking about greatness as I look at my roles helps set a higher standard for me as I approach work.
The other big idea is around Q2 Weekly Planning. I have been able to significantly increase my Q2 activities, with great results and incredible changes in my personal energy.
I just shared some of the 5 Choices ideas with my college son. He is skeptical…but, so are a lot of folks when they first meet a superhero!
Submitted by Mark Berry, FranklinCovey, Client Parnter
While that statement may have come from an infamous TV show it is a testament to what our instructor made every attempt to impress upon us. “I will guarantee your success…” ah and then the caveat “… if you follow through on the 5 choices.” At the time one sort of sits back chuckles and continues chuckling until finally I now chuckle for exactly the opposite reason. IT DOES WORK and yes you have to stick to it.
The only failures in OUR life are those that we bring upon ourselves. I am responsible for my actions and my attitudes and my abilities. Ultimately that makes me responsible for my extraordinary success. And after 5 weeks it has happened. New habits, greater productivity and in an amazing admission that I have yet so much more to do. Life never stops coming at us so I tell myself that I am not done and I must keep on coming back to what works.
I am glad I went through the 5 choices program because once I have those successfully mastered, I will continue to see nothing but bigger and better choices. Thanks you FranklinCovey!
Submitted by Greg McAllister