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Clarity: The Gap Between What I Want and Productivity

Clarity: The Gap Between What I Want and Productivity

I love my work as a coach collaborating with professional women about the barriers stopping them from living whole lives. So many communicate their lack of clarity and peace due to what can feel like unsustainable work in the number of hours needed and the impossible expectations they strive for at work and home. This frustration is often more than unrealistic expectations but can be a symptom of a lack of clarity.

The word cloud illustration above this article is on keywords from interviews I've had with women about getting things done. Things they think are essential but need more time for. Things like authoring books, creating educational programming for children, and losing weight for at-risk health issues. They hold positions that require mental flexibility, planning, and results or, as they refer to it most often, productivity. These women work in the private and public sectors in health care, insurance, and retail, to name a few. Each of these women has children in the home or adults and has 15 or more years of experience in their respective fields.

Many interviewed are college-educated and have added certifications (several with multiple degrees). All struggle to feel t satisfied with their level of productivity. These women all said to me in various forms that they are at the age of "wanting to make a difference" and have lamented the fact that their lack (of confidence, planning, accountability, or you fill-in-the-blank) is not allowing them to "be the best they can be."

As a coach, I find myself wondering and thinking about the space between "what I want" and "not feeling satisfied with my results" much of the time. There is a gap for many of us. I and the clients I serve usually find an answer between our environment (our culture) and biology (brain wiring).

Our job is to fill that space by looking at strengths, finding strategies, and creating accountability until clients can name the best times of the day, techniques needed, and mindsets required to make the routines, systems, and rhythms to their days, keeping work at work and bringing peace to down time. Then, we design systems, practices, and routines to amplify their priorities.

Competing Priorities

But in a world where priorities often compete, we need to get clear about what we are trying to do, and that foundational piece is clarity. Clarity or lack of understanding is how to move forward. When we lack clarity in the intention or goal, our resources at hand, and how we determine priorities, productivity will suffer. Low stress and unimportant busy activities, often called procrasitivy, will rule the day.

Ann Latham, consultant, speaker, and author of many business management articles on the importance of clarity, has declared to the business world that clarity is the new performance frontier. Why is clarity so important? Because according to Ann, having a lack of clarity causes dysfunction like:

  • Poor productivity
  • Delays
  • Wasted efforts and wasted time
  • Lack of confidence
  • Alignment issues
  • Unfocused communication
  • Conflict
  • Second guessing
  • Excessive to-do lists
  • Shifting priorities
  • Resource shortages
  • Tiptoeing around personal problems
  • Risk avoidance
  • Inability to focus the brain on the task at hand

Can you see the similarity of the word cloud from the women's interviews at the top of this article with the list Ann uses here? In the word cloud, productivity is the most mentioned word by the interviewees, and it corresponds to Ann's top reason for the lack of clarity. So it's safe to say that we both find productivity is the first casualty of disclairty, a term Ann developed to define the lack of clarity in our lives.

Four Ways to Gaining Clarity

What should be the first thing to do when you need clarification? How do you go about gaining some must-have clarity? Clients and I can articulate what success looks like by visualizing new behaviors and defining mindsets to get started as they make changes about creating action-oriented steps. Next, we state some steps and name their strengths and resources by creating an action plan with built-in accountability. This process helps them see that they can finish the day with completed items and priorities, leave work at work, and enjoy their time off.

  1. Have a plan and start by saying to yourself, "I am doing X now." Making a declaration helps with clarity and keeps it simple. Declaring the time you are working on X and starting makes a strong plan and lowers the time in consideration.
  2. Plan and start for a determined amount of time or until completed. "I am doing X now for the next 25 minutes."
  3. Look at how you can minimize distractions and improve your intentions and focus. Place the cell phone in another for the 30 minutes you work. Know the best places you can concentrate. Does it help to have music in the background? Need total silence? Be aware of what works for you and do more of it.
  4. Finally, finish what you started. If time is up and you are still working, make another time in your calendar to finish it. Act and put it in your calendar with time to complete it. Do have time set aside that you are revisiting this project by getting specific.

DeShawn Wert teaches intelligent, motivated, professional women how to get stuff done so they CAN relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Let's explore how you do your best work together. An Ericson-trained life coach and JTS Coaching-trained ADHD coach, DeShawn is a member of good standing in the ADHD Coaches Organization. She's been a contributor to several books on living with ADHD, including Dr. Dale Archer's book, The ADHD Advantage, and Laurie Dupar's series called, More Ways to Succeed with ADHD.

Contact DeShawn Now-Set Up a Time to Talk

You know what I find fascinating? It's our differences

~ especially those of us who can be a little off-center trying to function and find fulfillment in the mainstream world. This world values efficiency and productivity, which can require productivity techniques and hacks that some of us find 

too mundane and soul-crushing, if not impossible to follow.

For me, I've found I can't follow mainstream productivity tools and hacks. I've had to learn to drive my brain, use its quirks and creativity to feel seen, make contributions to the world, and enjoy both work and home.

I like working with smart people who are ready to dump conventional productivity techniques to learn their true personal productivity by understanding how to drive their brains and discover their unique strengths to redesign their days with systems that complement them.

Let's start exploring together!