One of the commentators said, after the terrific England win over New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Semi-Final (Saturday 26th October) “Game plan executed to perfection”. This comment and some other things about the game tell us a lot about being productive and getting results.
Firstly, like the commentator said, they had a plan, and once they had a plan they got on an executed their plan. No doubt they adjusted it here and there as they played but they had a plan. To be productive you must have a plan. David Allen, productivity guru, says you can’t plan and do at the same time. The England team didn’t take the field thinking “tell you what, we’ll just work it out as we go”. No they figured it out before hand. Figured out what they were up against. Figured out what to do about it. And then did.
Figure out what you need to do.
Plan how to do it.
Then, and only then, do it.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi classic book ‘Flow’ develops the idea of being in the moment to the exclusion of all other things. Being prepared and focussed on the environment you are in and the job at hand so that you do your best work. In Drive by Daniel Pink, Pink builds on this idea talking about the key components that promote flow.
You have to be a master of what you are doing. The England team are among the best rugby players in the world. They are masters. And you will be a master (or developing master at least) of what you do. Learning about, reading about, and engaging in what you do will create mastery. Immerse yourself in the knowledge in your field.
Autonomy – each player on the pitch was acting as an individual making their own decisions about whether to pass, or kick, or tackle. They are part of a team and they have the interest of the team at heart but they act with autonomy. You may work in a role where you feel you don’t have much decision making autonomy but you do have autonomy over how you work, how you structure your tasks, and your day. Figure out the autonomy you have and work with it. With autonomy comes responsibility. Responsibility to be organised and ready to do your job to the best of your ability. Just like the rugby players.
What drives you? What motivates you? For the rugby players it’s winning the game, playing well for the team. For you it may well be doing a good job. It equally could be getting organised to get stuff done so that you can leave on time to spend time with your family. What we know is things like that – motivation that comes from within – is much more effective at motivating you than external, top down, motivation – for example just doing it because the boss told you, or working to a deadline. What motivates you from inside? Figure that out and you will be more motivated because you will have purpose.
You need to be connected to whatever you need to be connected to in oder to make things work. You will probably need to be connected to others. This is good for you. Working together, having others support you with what you need, and supporting others is all good for productivity and well-being. But also you need to be connected to your environment. Aware of everything yet focussed exclusively on the one thing you are doing now. The rugby players were focussed in the moment on a single task. Getting into position, passing he ball, forming the scrum. But with an awareness of the bigger picture. What was the game plan? What was the next move? What were the options? Connected to the big picture but being productive in the individual moment is essential to productivity.
So get your Game Plan on –
Get Organised –
Plan it and then do it