The theme of MAP 2018 was #Maximise Me. The speakers were amazing in helping us decipher who we are as a springboard to being maximised. The book club has also been brilliant in following up this thought process. However, as I pondered this subject more, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is any correlation between being maximised and being productive.

As is typical of me, I went straight to my go-to book, AKA The Oxford dictionary, for definitions and found that to Maximise means to make the best use of or make as large as possible while it defines being productive achieving a significant amount or result. I’m sure you agree with me that the two are almost synonyms and a productive person is definitely one who is maximising his/her gifts, talents and resources.

Being Doyin, this of course made me ask myself the question – ‘are you a productive person?’ and if yes ‘how do you ensure productivity in your life?’ I smile as I write because I know I am very productive and it was good to force myself to detail my process of productivity.

April marked the beginning of my 3rd semester in my MSc program and I decided to take ‘Entrepreneurial Finance’ as one of my modules. You see, I’ve always wanted to understand how venture capitalists work and how ventures are valued for external financing, so the module was a natural choice. After the 1st lesson, I realised I had under-estimated the pre-requisite accounting knowledge needed to do well in this module and knew the only way I could pass was to invest at least 10hours weekly to get up to speed with pre-requisites as well as the course content. Normally, I wouldn’t have minded this but April – July was already going to be a busy period for me with MAP 2018 around the corner, Daughter 1 preparing for her GCSE, Daughter 2 having her 13th birthday, a May 31st deadline for my new book in addition to running my business, taking other modules in school, and my family responsibilities. Just thinking of all I had to do in such a short time made me feel soooooooo overwhelmed.

After days of wallowing in self pity and even considering quitting on some of my goals and the finance course, I remember choosing to take charge and achieving significant result aka be productive by using my tried and tested method – LIST! My LIST method goes beyond just writing a LIST and incorporates 4 steps, where the word, LIST is an acronym and not just an individual process. Let me share this with you…

  1. List everything you need to accomplish. For me it was
    1. Organise Daughter 2 birthday
    2. Coach and assist Daughter 2 in GCSE subject
    3. Complete ‘Grow with Goals’
    4. Organise and host MAP 2018
    5. Cope with EF etc.
  2. Itemise what needs to be done for each of the tasks you’ve written on your list. For instance, the first item on that list above – ‘organise Daughter 2’s birthday’ was further broken into
    1. Order snacks
    2. Create & send out invites
    3. Book venue
  3. Schedule EVERYTHING you wrote down in Step 2. Start with the non-negotiables and time dependent tasks. For example, in my organising MAP, I had to have the handouts ready by a certain date, so they could be printed on time. You don’t have to spend money on a fancy organiser. For me I just wrote all the dates down on a spreadsheet and divided each day into morning-afternoon-evening before plugging in tasks.
  4. Tick Off: Can I just say that this is the most important part of this process. Ticking off the tasks daily not only fills you with a sense of accomplishment, it fuels you by giving you the energy to take on the next day. I can’t explain it but I felt my stress level diminish daily and my optimism increase with every item I ticked off

Hey friends, I know you’ve heard the blurb about LIST many times but simply writing a list without following it with the other 3 steps will not get the work of productivity done. To actually be productive in the midst of overwhelm, you must employ LIST as a method, not a singular task.

By the way, lets end the story on some good news – I passed EVERY module and coursework with distinction, Daughter 2’s party was awesome, MAP 2018, judging by the reviews was all I hoped for and more, Grow with Goals was completed and is now my best selling book and of course Daughter 1 excelled in her GCSEs. Looking back now, I am pleased that I didn’t quit on myself, but employed the LIST method to maximise myself in a season that could well have been difficult and overwhelming! I hope you can have the same experience…