Peak Your Profits: Are you a productive pro?

Jeff Blackman

A reader asks, “Jeff, I’m overwhelmed? How do I get more productive?”

Great question. So I asked a friend, Laura Stack for her tips. She's a fellow Hall of Fame speaker and author, (“Doing the Right Things Right,” “Execution is the Strategy,” and “What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do.”) Plus, her clients call her, "The Productivity Pro!"

Are you persistent in completing high priority tasks, without getting sidetracked by menial activities?


Jeff Blackman: What’s your definition of productivity?

Laura Stack: The value of work created for each hour of effort.

JB: How do you maximize it?

LS: Focus on accomplishment vs. activity. Value vs. velocity. Results vs. busyness.

JB: So to be productive, what steps are crucial?

LS: There are 10 key competencies:

  1. P = Preparation
  2. R = Reduction
  3. O = Order
  4. D = Discipline
  5. U = Unease
  6. C = Concentration
  7. T = Time Mastery
  8. I = Information Management
  9. V = Vitality
  10. E = Equilibrium


Focuses on how well you've planned and laid the foundation for your daily activities. If you excel in this competency, you're proactive, not reactive. You must translate your lofty, long-term goals into actionable tasks to work on today.


Here, you eliminate daily time wasters. Are you assertive or passive, i.e., allowing others to dictate your schedule.
Productivity is not about squeezing more into your days. Instead, you must reduce "speed bumps" or the things that waste your time. Speed bumps might be; administrative stuff, too many meetings, unnecessary levels of bureaucracy, too much red tape, or unclear priorities. You can also be your own worst speed bump. You must create the space/time to accomplish the important.


Do you have systems or piles? Can you find "it" in thirty seconds or less? How well do you control the paper, e-mail, reading material, and inputs into and out of your office?
Order is your ability to sort, filter, and process information effectively. Order and organization give you more control over your life and time.


It's your ability to maintain consistent, productive behavior. Here, you complete what you must do, rather than what you want to do.
Are you persistent in completing high priority tasks, without getting sidetracked by menial activities?
Is your nose to the grindstone each day, or do you only work hard when you're in the mood?
Do you have a set of "rules" for yourself that govern your behavior and activity?
Learn to do what needs to be done and exercise restraint over your own impulses, emotions, and desires. Working on the right thing, doesn't always mean doing the fun thing. Focus on high-value output.


Are you focused on value or velocity? Are you calm or in a harried frenzy?  
According to a productivity study by Xerox and Harris Interactive, most people work over 60 hours a week. And over 33 percent work on weekends. The "faster, cheaper, do more with nothing" approach reduces productivity and increases stress. Stress is also a contributor to 70 percent of all diseases.


Stay on-target. Be purposeful, not distracted. Try to achieve a state of "flow." Work without breaking focus.

Time mastery

Focus on the quality, not the quantity of your daily activities. The rewards are; results, recognition, free time, clarity, and purpose. Time mastery also reduces frustration and stress.

Information management

With lots of info coming at you, be decisive vs. tentative. Technology should improve your productivity, not reduce it.


How healthy are you? How much energy do you have throughout the day to accomplish your goals? Do you sleep enough? Eat right? Exercise? Take care of yourself. Don't ignore your physiological needs.  


Balance is tough to achieve, because of real commitments to your career and family.  Yet successful people know high performance depends on both personal satisfaction and professional achievement.
I try to outsource as much as possible to "buy" time; (housekeeping, laundry, yard work, bookkeeping, cooking, etc.) I spend the extra time with my family.
I'd rather buy services than "stuff."

For more of Laura's insights, visit

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Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.