Increasing Productivity Through Stacks of Ten

A simple method to get organized and stay motivated regardless of the task.

by Deedra Abboud in Mindset, Solutions
April 1, 2016 0 comments

People often assume that the same approach will work for everyone, that the same habits will work for everyone, and that everyone has the same aptitude and appetite for forming habits, but from my observation, that’s not true. – Gretchen Ruben, author

My niece was medically discharged from the US Army, after serving a tour in Iraq, and she decided to apply for her first job. She had gone into the military right after high school and had never worked in the “civilian world.”

The company she chose had an online application, which if the applicant qualified, would result in a second online application that included three questions. An interview would only be given if the answers to the three questions passed muster.

She did qualify and received the three questions. Two questions were no problem but the third question completely stumped her.

My niece could have simply given up and not submitted the answers at all, thereby not even getting to the interview stage.

She could have answered two of the questions and left the third blank.

She could have just said whatever she could think of, which may or may not have been what the company was looking for.

Instead, she decided to search for perspective or advice about the question. Knowing the time we live in, she probably did attempt to find an answer via Google, evidently without success. But she eventually ended up asking me what I thought.

Suppose your job included processing hundreds of files over and over. How would you keep motivated?

I told her the answer was easy. You simply divide the files into stacks of 10. As you complete each stack, you will experience the feeling of accomplishment and will be motivated to complete more stacks.

She got the interview, and eventually the job. They told her the answer to that question was a large factor in their choice to hire her.

In Now, Discover Your Strengths, the authors point out that things we do often and easily are our strengths but that we do not recognize them as our strengths, our uniqueness, because we assume “everyone does things this way.”

To me it was obvious. To her not so much. She was young and had less experience. Then again, maybe she was stumped because she thought the question had an actual right answer rather than understanding it was an abstract question individual to each person.

All problems we face are actually abstract questions individual to each person. This is true for fitness, weight-loss, healthy eating, parenting, martial relations, and absolutely everything we do under the sun.

We can explore possibilities, research methods, even experiment with different approaches, but in the end, we have to decide what works for us. What is completely and unarguably successful for another person may or may not work for us. We may need to just tweak it or maybe we have to discard it and try something totally different. And that’s okay.

The important thing is that we are engaged in the process, to be solutions-oriented. We have to pay attention to how our actions and reactions do or do not get us to our endgame – whatever that endgame might be. We have to either ask the opinion of others or look for other sources of information that we can use to evaluate what works for us.

Most of all, we have to proactively make decisions about what we want and how we can get there.

Titles do not demonstrate leadership, actions do. We can all be leaders by being the one focused on solutions rather than problems.

A willingness to search for answers and recognizing your individual strengths is part of solutions-oriented leadership, whether in business or in our personal lives.
Where do you look for answers and inspiration? Do you look for print/audio resources and/or have someone you trust to ask for advice?

Do you think making “stacks of ten” (dividing items or tasks into smaller categories) would benefit your productivity or motivation?

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