Coker on Productivity

by Carmen Coker, Kickfannie Contributor Organizing and Productivity

This Productivity Idea Will Change The Way You Do Business – And Life

This is Part 5 of the series entitled “The 9 Habits of Highly Productive and Profitable Entrepreneurs™.”

A popular Zen parable tells of a Wanderer who happened upon a raging river. He wanted to cross it, but there was no bridge.

Afraid to wade across the river on foot with such a strong current, he spent hours building his own raft from vines and trees, which ultimately carried him safely to the other side.

However, once across the river, he thought to himself: “This is a good raft; I might need it again if I must forge another river.”

So the Wanderer carried the raft with him for the rest of his life.

The Big Reveal

From the outside looking in, the Wanderer’s decision might seem ridiculous. Why would this obviously resourceful guy carry a heavy raft around when he didn’t need to do so?

Often times, we make this same decision in our own life – and especially in our business. In doing so, we hang on to something that was useful at one point but has since become irrelevant clutter.

Now, your “rafts” may come in various shapes and forms — maybe it’s too many commitments, maybe it’s a poor-fit system, or maybe it’s too much stuff. No matter, the underlying question remains the same: Is this clutter in your schedule, in your work, in your life holding back you and your company?

The Ins & Outs

For entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s important to be fiercely protective of not only your time and how you spend it, but also your space and what you bring into it. (This rule of protection should extend to your team, too.)

Wise decisions about your time and space allow you to preserve these precious resources, whereas foolish decisions can do just the opposite. No one wants to play the fool! So to help you make those wise decisions – and help you release the “rafts” that are taking over your calendar, slowing down your progress, and diminishing your success – answer these ten questions:

Ask Yourself

1. Where do I spend most of my time, and what of those tasks can be delegated or eliminated?

2. Where is clutter in my office space negatively impacting my productivity and performance?

3. What products, programs, or offerings no longer support the priorities established for my company?

4. Where could I hire or remove team members in order to be more effective?

5. What areas of my business are flourishing, and how can they be systematized and improved?

6. What areas of my business are flailing, and how can they be systematized and improved, or eliminated?

Ask your team

7. What do you see me, as the owner and chief creative, doing regularly that you could take off my hands?

8. What systems and spaces hinder you from doing your job, and how can they be improved or updated?

9. Where can we automate (or improve automation of) processes to increase efficiency?

10. What is the number one thing customers complain about, and how can we smartly address the issue?

The Bottom Line

“Rafts” that clutter your mind, your time, your office, and your systems are all stumbling blocks to your biggest and brightest success. A highly productive and profitable entrepreneur understands that doing less and having less often means achieving more – and knows when and how to cut excess as a result.

So…where can you remove clutter that may be hindering your business products, productivity, and profits?

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.