‘Are you outcomes-driven or are you inputs-driven?’
– This is a question I often pose during my productivity presentations and workshops.
By outcomes-driven, I mean do you let the bigger picture drive how you spend your time? The significant work, the work that makes the most difference over the long term. By inputs-driven, I mean do you let the immediate drive how you spend your time? The stuff that’s just turned up in your inbox, interruptions, “drive-by” meetings.
Unfortunately, the reality is that way too often, much of our precious time is driven by our inputs - they’re noisier, and more in your face.
Monthly planning is a sure-fire way to achieve greater balance between being inputs- and outcomes-driven. At the start of every month, think about and record your ‘Top 10’ – the significant, meaningful pieces of work that require your time and attention, the biggest priorities for the month ahead.
When I invite participants to do this during workshops, I often find people struggle to come up with something even close to 10.
I am positive the outcomes would exist somewhere, since most businesses engage in setting goals and objectives each year. But perhaps they are buried in a document or plan that’s gathering dust somewhere; perhaps they exist in your head only. This lack of visibility of the most important work often results in people being driven by their inputs instead - living in the inbox; reacting way too quickly to urgency; being very, very busy, but not necessarily as effective as you could or need to be
Stopping at least once a month to connect with your outcomes helps you to stay focused on the right work, and to prioritise how you spend your time each week. Making your outcomes visible and tangible by thinking about them and getting them out of your head, or the pile they are buried in, will help you to connect with them more frequently.
How connected are you with your outcomes?