“The average person is only productive for three hours.”
Founder and CEO
.…on why we need to focus on what matters most
The modern world often feels like a never-ending race for maximum efficiency. While individuals and companies alike strive for increased productivity, recent findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal a surprising fact: most people are only productive for about three hours every day. Two hours and 53 minutes per day, to be exact, according to leadership development expert Lauren Lemunyan.
It’s a staggering statistic.
Lemunyan, who calls herself a “buster of burnout,” offered insights into addressing productivity pitfalls during a recent presentation at the WEDallas Mompreneur Summit. Among the highlights of the event presented by the DEC Network and Capital One was the expert’s talk on “How to Get What Matters Most Done Without Losing Your $#!%!.”
Lemunyan, the CEO and founder of aptly-named Spitfire Coach, works with hundreds of clients from Fortune 100, technology, nonprofits, design, startups, real estate, oil and gas, and entertainment companies.
At Wednesday’s summit, her talk catered to women entrepreneurs juggling multiple priorities. Lemunyan dropped a truth bomb that we can’t ignore: there are only 168 hours a week—it’s a fact of life. But here’s the mind-blowing update she shared: being a mom puts you in a league of your own, clocking into the equivalent of a mind-boggling 98-hour workweek.
Can we get a mic drop for all the superwomen out there?
Let’s get clear
Lemunyan emphasizes that many companies and individuals aim for productivity but don’t clearly understand what it means.
“It means that you’re producing something, whether you’re producing a sandwich, a hug, a project, or revenue,” she said.
With only about 1/8th of the average person’s day dedicated to productivity, it’s evident that external factors and a lack of clarity about productivity’s definition might be preventing people from making the most of their time.
Lemunyan wants moms and entrepreneurs to focus on tasks that make them say “hell yes.”
What you say “yes” to needs to align with your goals and your values, she says. And, by doing so, you’ll attract more of these opportunities, making it easier for others to know what you’re looking for.
In other words, if it’s not a “hell yes,” it’s a “no.”
Here are strategies to get to what matters most — without losing your you-know-what:
- Start with Clear Intentions: “If we are starting our day without clear intentions, it’s like going on a road trip without an address or a location in mind,” Lemunyan says. Intentions are different from goals. Your intentions are the energy that you are moving forward with, how you want to feel, and your goals are the actions, the projects, and the targets we’re aiming for. “You can be super productive, you can be super busy. But if we’re not clear on how we want to feel, it’s just transactions. It’s just being in motion, but it’s lacking that intentionality,” she says.
- The Power of Saying “No”: Productivity isn’t about doing all the things. Lemunyan cautions that nature doesn’t like a vacuum. “It doesn’t just hold the space for you,” she said. “It fills it up with the things that you’re not paying attention to, like the scrolling, like the trash television, like gossiping, whatever it is.” She emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries and being selective about the tasks and opportunities we take on. By learning to say “no” to less important or less desirable tasks, we can focus our time and energy on what truly matters and aligns with our goals.
- The Eisenhower Matrix: The matrix helps prioritize tasks. By organizing tasks into four quadrants, we can be sure that critical tasks are not neglected. When something is urgent and important, it gets top priority. If it’s not urgent but important, we’re going to schedule it. If it’s urgent but not important, we’re going to hold on it or delegate it. And if it’s not urgent and not important—we’ve got to trash it, she says.
- The Triple Ds: Doability, Desirability, and Delegateability: Lemunyan introduced a framework to help individuals decide whether to accept a task or opportunity. By considering the three Ds of each opportunity, individuals can decide better what tasks to pursue. Ask yourself, ‘Do I have the time, energy, expertise, and resources to complete this task within the deadline?’ You want to ask yourself, ‘Does this task align with my bigger goals, my values, my interests? Does it bring me joy? Does it align with my expertise?’ And then you want to ask yourself, ‘Am I the only person who can complete this task? Or can someone else benefit and grow from taking on this task with guidance?'”
- Acknowledging and Celebrating Efforts: According to Lemunyan, its’ essential to recognize and appreciate the small steps and accomplishments that contribute to success. By acknowledging these micro-decisions and efforts, individuals can maintain a positive mindset and continue working toward their goals. Reflect on the choices that have led you to where you are, she says. Really take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come. Life is a collection of awesome moments, no matter how small or grand they are, and celebrating them is essential because they’re all important. Finally, she encourages having fun, dancing, and being your awesome self.
Lemunyan says that by understanding where our time goes, getting clear on your “hell yes” items, harnessing the power of saying “no,” using the Eisenhower Matrix, considering the Triple Ds, and celebrating our efforts, we can unlock our full potential and make every minute count.
But with all that productivity, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
“Self-care is not just about going to the spa. It’s not about a vacation,” Lemunyan says. It’s about being intentional about how you want to feel in your business, how you want to focus on your day, and how you want to move forward with the legacy you want to create, she says. It’s about how to spend your time and energy, which includes prioritizing sleep as a crucial component of your overall well-being.
Just remember: “Life is hard enough, it’s hard period,” Lemunyan says. “We don’t need to be harder on ourselves.”
“The world is your oyster,” she says. “And sometimes there’s going to be pressure, sometimes there’s going to be some fertilizer, but it’s what you do with it.”
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