You can be smart, sociable, clever, driven, creative or "insert any other positive adjective you like," but if you're not productive, nobody's ever going to know what a great business owner you are.
Find out what your personal "Productivity IQ" is by choosing the truest statement for each of the following 10 questions:
1. I start each day with __________________.
a) A complete breakfast during my long morning commute.
b) 10 minutes spent reviewing my agenda and must-finish tasks for the day.
c) A mad dash to the car, trailing paperwork and curse words behind me.
d) Exercise or meditation.
2. People would describe my organizational skills as _____________________.
a) A worthwhile effort.
b) Strong but not interfering with getting important tasks done.
c) Like Bigfoot—often heard about but never seen.
d) The core component of my professional life.
3. When it comes to delegation, I ___________________.
a) Can't find time to follow up and am disappointed with the results.
b) Always have the right person for the job nearby or in my email address book.
c) Never have time to train somebody to do my job.
d) Don't feel comfortable asking others to do my job for me.
4. With a deadline approaching, I __________________.
a) Frequently have to choose between quality and completion.
b) Am already moving on to my next task.
c) Beg for an extension and hope for the best.
d) Stay up all night to get it done.
5. What will you be doing one year from today?
a) Probably the exact same thing I'm doing today.
b) Something as yet undefined but in line with the broad goals I've set for my life.
c) I have no idea.
d) Exactly what I've already planned to do.
6. My social media accounts are ______________________?
a) Unused. I can't find time to really get any started.
b) A fun diversion for a few minutes each day that keeps me current with friends and contacts.
c) The centerpiece of my life.
d) A publicity and marketing weapon I wield like a fencing master.
7. Rating my daily activities on Steve Covey's Urgent/Important grid, I spend most of my time doing _______________.
a) Activities that are urgent but not important.
b) Activities that are important but not urgent.
c) Activities that are neither urgent nor important.
d) Activities that are both urgent and important.
8. When do you schedule the largest, hardest task of your day?
a) Over lunch, if I can't get to it before then.
b) First thing, while I still have the highest energy.
c) I don't have time to schedule anything.
d) In the afternoon, when my colleagues are busy and won't interrupt me.
9. When people ask me to do something, I ________________.
a) Always say yes.
b) Politely decline unless it serves one of my priorities or personal values.
c) Can't say yes. I'm far too busy.
d) Say yes unless it interferes with other priorities.
10. At the end of the day, I feel ________________.
a) Frustrated from all the things I didn't get done.
b) Relaxed, energized and ready to take on tomorrow.
c) Like I need a beer in my hand—or two.
d) Tired. It took a lot to get all my tasks finished, but I prevailed.
How Did You Do?
Find your score, by adding up your answers:
a) 1 point
b) 3 points
c) 0 points
d) 2 points
Now see how you did:
0 - 15 points: What's Productivity? For you, every day is a running battle because time controls you—you don't control it. Seriously consider some podcasts on time management and organization to listen to on your way to work.
16 - 19: Hassled and Harried. There's a good chance nobody ever taught you the basics of productivity mastery. Take a look at The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 4-Hour Workweek when you have some time.
20 - 23: Productivity Novice. You understand the basics, but your plans often fall apart in the face of the day's realities. Pick up a copy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity to learn how to stop the madness.
24 - 27: Productivity Expert. You're on task, on topic and on time. Honestly, I'm a little surprised you let yourself read this entire post instead of getting back to work. If you had to change anything, you might want to look at how you prioritize your time and tasks so you can afford to be a little more flexible.
28+: Productivity Black Belt Ninja Master. You have mastered productivity to the point that you should be the one writing next year's productivity quiz!
Read more articles on productivity.