Get More Done with the Traffic Light Productivity Method
This 3-color productivity approach will help you focus and get more done
Getting stuck in traffic is no fun. But once you finally get that green light, it feels incredible to put your foot on the gas pedal and finally get moving.
What if you could apply this same approach to the rest of your life? Wouldn’t it be nice to get more green lights?
You absolutely can.
But before you start driving, you need to know where you want to go. So what’s the destination? You have to pick. You can’t go to New York and L.A. at the same time. You must decide where it is you want to go. That’s your destination or your goal.
Maybe you want to earn more income. Okay, great. What’s more? Don’t just settle for fuzzy terms. Define that as much as you can. More might mean $1,000 more a month. Or even $10,000 more a month. It’s up to you. You define the destination, no one else.
Decide What Activities Go With Each Color
Okay, now let’s talk about each of the colors. You’ve got green, yellow, and red. The more green lights, the faster you get to the destination.
With the example above of making more income, a green light activity is something that is going to directly earn you more money. That would mean making sales calls. Sending emails. Writing books if you’re a writer. Giving speeches if you’re a speaker.
There is no question that the activity you are doing is helping you get to your destination. Again, think of the gas pedal. You’re always moving in a direction if you’re pressing down on the gas pedal.
Yellow light activities are indirectly tied to getting to your destination. Some examples for someone in business would be doing payroll, bookkeeping, and customer service. These are tied to the destination of making more money, but not directly.
Red light activities are not tied to your destination at all. If you want to make more income, eating lunch by yourself would be a red light activity. Picking up the kids at school or running errands. These are important activities, but clearly not tied to the end goal.
Imagine if your days were full of green light activities. When that happens, you’ll make serious progress.
It’s important to not confuse yellow light activities with green light activities. Yellow light activities do not get you to the destination as quickly as green light activities.
Posting on social media is very likely a yellow light activity. We like to think it is a green light activity, but how often does social media tie directly to your goals? It’s usually a time suck or a distraction (or both). You create the content on social media but never see any clear, definitive results, right?
On the other hand, talking to a client or customer directly is a green light activity. It’s very important to know the difference. Green light activities are directly tied to revenue, yellow light activities are indirectly tied to revenue.
A Final Word
Step back for a moment. If an activity does not have a direct connection with reaching your goal, it’s yellow. And most of us are filling our days with these activities. Yellow light activities are often the best activities to outsource to someone with some experience. So, if you’re not a writer, instead of spending your time blogging or writing emails, you should focus on your other strengths.
A great rule for almost all situations is to play to your strengths. That’s the easiest way to ensure that you spend your time on green light activities.
If you were to look at your time spent during the day, what is it that you are actually doing? Be brutally honest with yourself. Hopefully, it is a day filled with green light activities. If not, make a list of your activities and take inventory. Make the changes so you can keep your foot on the accelerator all day long.
Jim Woods is a writer and productivity specialist who has two bestselling productivity books, Ready Aim Fire and Focus Booster. Want to know how you can blog, write a book, and build a platform at the same time? I’ll show you in this helpful mini-guide.