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3 Secrets to Getting Things Done, Part 1

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Here are some personal strategic planning techniques to increase productivity and get things done:

1. Concentrate your power. Concentrate your talents and abilities where they will yield the highest payoff. In corporate strategy sessions, managers focus on the goal of increasing their ‘‘return on equity.’’ In personal strategic planning, your goal is to get the highest ‘‘return on energy.’’ Your job is to allocate your talents and abilities in such a way as to achieve the highest possible return on the mental, emotional and physical energy that you invest in your work.

Your highest return on energy happens when you combine your unique talents and abilities with the specific needs of a given situation. You can then focus and concentrate single-mindedly on that one task—which is the key to getting things done more efficiently. Whenever you face a task, ask yourself if it gives you the highest return on energy invested. Discipline yourself to increase productivity and to apply your skills where you can achieve the greatest results for both yourself and your company.

  2. Focus on opportunities. Increase productivity by concentrating your strengths—and the strengths of others—on your major opportunities first. Focus on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday. Concentrate your best talents and energies and those of your best people on those few areas where major breakthroughs are possible.

3. Focus on key result areas. Identify the key results you are expected to produce by asking yourself why you are on the payroll. Once you’ve identified your key result areas, work exclusively in those areas. This is an important component to personal strategic planning and can help you increase productivity tenfold.

Everyone has five to seven key result areas where they can make important contributions to their jobs and to their organizations. It is only when you concentrate your efforts on your key result areas that you will start getting things done and achieve the most significant results possible in the shortest period of time.

Once you develop the ability to get things done, it will serve you for the rest of your life and in all areas of your life.

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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to


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