The 7 Words That Impacted My Productivity


In the beginning of this year, I started on a project to write a productivity book.  Throughout the years, my responsibilities grew due to several restructurings.  I often noticed a difference between me and my colleagues.  Although they often felt overwhelmed, I quickly adapted to my new environment and remained productive.  This is what prompted me to write my book.  It was my desire to put in writing and eventually share productivity tips that helped me to continue to be productive despite the increase in workload.  It was with the intention to add value and help others with their productivity.


It was ironic when within the first 30 days of writing my book, my company went through another restructuring taking my span of control from 13 stores to 23, an increase of 70%.  It was an adjustment, but I applied a few techniques and strategies and quickly bounced back.  Then, as if to test my theories, I was really put to the test.  There are a lot of initiatives happening in the next few months and with these initiatives come the necessity to plan.  I was volunteered and asked to join several committees.


On top of my regular workload, the following was also added:

  • Member of Product Launch Committee
  • Member of Strategic and Planning Committee (a committee charged with ensuring all upcoming initiatives are successful). A committee whose members include Vice Presidents, Buyers, Directors and one District Manager, me.
  • Responsible for gathering information and communicating on all customer and store feedback for the Region.

Then the real test came. There was an open position and I was asked to oversee another district while a replacement was found and trained.


Here is what the timeline looked like:

Jan 2016:  Overseeing 13 stores

Feb 2016:  From 13 stores to 23 stores

April + May:  From 13, to 23, to 43 stores and part of 3 Committees.

This was just at work.  I was still balancing maintaining a blog, writing a book and taking care of my two sons, 7 and 11.


O.K, I must admit, my stress level rose…then kept rising.  80% of the calls I was receiving was from the district I was overseeing and it was all to communicate problems.  I found myself having difficulty keeping all my commitments and it was only week 2 of taking over the second district.


Then, I was having a conversation with someone who told me 7 words that flipped a switch on my mindset and impacted my productivity.  For some reason, it made all the difference.


“It’s too much for you to handle”.


I know that the intention was good.  He wanted me to step back and take on less responsibility.  What it did instead was ignite a spark that burned brighter the more I reflected on those words.  It motivated me to look at things differently.  I was trying to work the same way as I did before despite the change in environment.  I needed to work differently.  What worked yesterday, was not going to work today.


[tweetthis]“Working smart is harder than working hard. It’s just less visible, and we care too much about what others see.” #smartcuts[/tweetthis]


Why did those 7 words motivate me?  I knew I was more than capable of being productive and handling this new workload.  I knew that part of my “Overwhelm” came from my mindset and how I looked at the situation.


“The way we see the problem is the problem.”  – Stephen R. Covey


I took time to rethink my approach and plan out my new strategy.  I laid out my new plan and determined my priorities.  This helped me define and act on my next steps.


There are three messages I want to convey in this post:
  • Never doubt yourself and never believe someone else’s doubt about you.
  • When you are faced with an obstacle, sometimes you have to change the lenses that you are seeing it through in order to find a way through it.
  • Having the right Mindset is the difference maker.


Those 7 words only reminded me of what I am capable of.  I chose not to believe those words and it pushed me to want to excel.  Did I put too much emphasis on 7 simple words?  Maybe.  Was it my competitive nature and desire to be someone who sets a positive example?  Either way, it was a motivator and it set me on a different direction.


Has someone ever told you something that flipped a switch in how you thought?