This article is part of a series called, “Maximum Productivity ” in which I’ll explore the topic of persistence.

See the rest of the series here:
Intro: Maximum Productivity: Series Introduction
Part 1: Maximum Productivity: Perspective
Part 2: Maximum Productivity: Attitude
Part 3: Maximum Productivity: Focus
Part 4: Maximum Productivity: Persistence
Part 5: Maximum Productivity: Adventure
Part 6: Maximum Productivity: Connections

Persistence is continuing to do something in all kinds of situations no matter what happens.  Maximizing productivity definitely requires that since there are many difficulties and short term setbacks in learning to do new things and becoming productive.

Steps for Persistence

I’ve got 5 steps to follow to be persistent and I’ll outline how each of those can be applied for maximum productivity.

Step 1: Direction

Being persistent is not enough.  You need to be persistent at things that continues to steer you in the right direction.  I love the analogy where a plane traveling from point A to point B is off course the majority of the time and just continually correcting that course to keep steering in the proper direction to get to the destination.  If people would look at productivity the same way, they would realize they need to constantly be changing paths, using new tools, ideas and methods while always going in the right direction.  You have to look past any one particular setback or failure, and continue to move forward regardless of that temporary setback.  Knowing your direction and where you want to get with your productive tasks allows you to work in the right direction.  That is the first step to being persistent with productivity.

Step 2:Plan

Once you know the direction, it’s important to make a plan to get there.  It may be an elaborate plan or just a couple of simple steps, but as long as your plan moves you in the right direction, you make progress and can move to the next step.  There are a number of ways to develop this plan and it is something you shouldn’t try to make perfect.  Persistence relies on doing things over and over so the plan you start with can change and evolve over and over.  Some of the ways you might want to consider building a plan are:

  • Brainstorming ideas and just write down everything that comes to mind
  • Think of things that have worked for you in the past
  • Identify the people you could contact to get help from
  • List new methods and techniques to try
  • Research ways others have done the same things you want to do

Step 3:Prioritize

Once you have some plans or at least some possibilities, you need to look at prioritizing things.  First you should prioritize your plans if you have a few ideas and look at which specific things you want to do.  Make sure the plans make sense and that it is something you can work on.  Do you have the resources to do it or do you need to find that still?  Pick the things that you will be able to do or ensure your plan has steps that will get you what you need in order to then get started.

Step 4:Act

This step is simply doing what it takes to put your plan into action.  While this often seems like it is making things sound easier then they are, that is not ever the case.  Taking some action in your plan should not be difficult or elaborate.  If you don’t know how to do something yet, then pick an action that will help you figure that out.  Take an action to do some research or to learn more about the topic before you are ready to move ahead.  There is always something you can do to make progress, even if it is small .  That is the important part here in being productive and it will keep you from ever getting stuck for a long time.

Step 5:Repeat

The last step in to be persistent is to simply repeat these steps.  Go back to step 1, to ensure you are still heading in the right direction.  Keep your perspective in mind, your positive attitude and focus you’ve learned from my previous articles in this series and start these steps again.  You can either reuse your plans, or adjust it as needed.  Just keep repeating through these steps and you’re on the path to reaching your maximum productivity.

Repeat Your Successes

As you execute these steps and make a number of passes through them, you’ll learn some things that worked and some that didn’t.  This is valuable to learn and use for continuing to improve your productivity.  The things that work well for you are things you should look to repeat and enjoy the benefits of. Recognizing that progress definitely makes persistence a little easier and it will help to motivate you to keep working at it!

Don’t Make it Hard

Persistence is not something that will come quickly and it will certainly not come without a lot of mistakes along the way.  Don’t make it hard for yourself by expecting too much too quickly and ensure you take your time to slowly learn this practice of persistence.  You will have setbacks and sometimes the plans or actions you put in place won’t work or be productive.  That’s OK.  Just stop to learn from the mistake and go back to your steps and start again.

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