What does REALLY productive mean to you? For me it is a FEELING of being in the zone of productive. I’m knocking things off my TO DO list (yes, I am one of those obsessive list keepers and I sometimes write something on my list just so I get the satisfaction of crossing it off! Okay, I’ve admitted it!) I was reading Kevin Daum’s article in Inc. Magazine6 Things Really Productive People Do, and I have to admit he blew me away. Some tell me that I have more energy then 3 people combined, but this guy makes me look like I’m standing still, and I seldom get 6-7 hours of sleep. It’s more like 4-5. Take a look at this…

People often ask me, amazed, how I manage to do so many things. Aside from writing two columns every week, I speak regularly, travel, create videos, manage my business, write books, consult with five companies, network, socialize, cycle, run, read, cook, sleep six to seven hours a night and have dates with my wife. Oh yeah, I watch a lot of television while hanging out with my dog as well.

I have a friend that warns me that one day the lack of sleep is going to catch up to me… ok…ok… in 2013 I promise to sleep more! But how am I going to sleep more and still be productive? Kevin has some ideas…

Okay, I know it sounds ridiculous. But accomplishing my preferred future requires this level of activity. I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, but I have made specific choices that allow me to make the most of every day, and still feel happy and relaxed. Perhaps these tips will help you make the most of your time as well.

1. Pick Your Priorities

Make choices about the activities in your life. With most endeavors, you can either go deep or go wide. Focus on spending time that for you is fun and productive.

What lifestyle do you want? I am clear about mine, are you clear about yours?

2. Go For Efficiency

You don’t do everything well. The things you do well usually give you greater joy and require less time. Don’t take on something with a steep learning curve if you don’t have the available bandwidth.

I love this one, because when we work within our strengths, we are happier and the sky’s the limit.

3. Integrate Your Activities

Many people go crazy trying to figure out how to spend time with friends, family, work, play, etc. Stop trying to balance time between them all. Find ways to enjoy them in a combined manner.

When you can share the thing you like doing with the people you like being around, it can’t get any better than that.

4. Actively Manage Time-wasters

Social media, family, friends, employees, co-workers and general whiners all under certain circumstances can suck precious time from you if you let them. Budget your time for necessary activities. Make a choice to limit non-supportive interactions that don’t energize you.

Don’t let people hijack your time. Yes, easier said than done. But if it becomes your focus, you are more able to recognize each situation as it happens… and short circuit it.

5. Be an Active Learner

You would think learning takes more time from you, but actually there are always new tools and new ways of doing things that can save you time on mundane tasks freeing you up for your priorities.

Lawyers are generally avid learners. So, put it to work.

6. Lighten Up

No need to beat yourself up if you can’t do all the things you want because you are handling other stuff that needs attention. It happens. The world won’t come to an end in most cases just because you left a few things undone. Celebrate progress and keep refining toward a happy productive existence.

We all need to take this one to heart… celebrate the journey!

So, you and I may not be as productive as Kevin but if we put some of his ideas to use I suspect we will make improvement… don’t you?