What the military can teach you about productivity


If you think about the military, you might think conflict, weapons, physical fitness, and precision. There are many lessons we can learn from the military lifestyle that don’t necessarily require us to sign up to go and fight in a war in a foreign country. It is often thought that military personnel can accomplish more by 9am than most people get done in a day. But what’s the secret of the military’s productive mentality? We have a few lessons that people have shared about what the military taught them about productivity.

Red, amber, green

There is a school of thought among members of the military that helps them outline plans in a simple format, to ensure they always complete their goals. They use the red, amber, green colors of traffic lights to figure out how to structure their plans, as keeping things color coded can help to keep them in perspective. Starting with a red status, you will have an initial plan in place but have not yet acted upon it. Then there are things in amber status; these will be plans soon to be put into place, and coordination has begun on making it happen.

Green means go on the roads, and it means go with your plans. Giving something the green light status in planning terms means everything is in place and now is the time to get going. This plan is particularly useful to get your kids on board with planning as you can have a bright and colorful board with status pegs or magnets to make it interactive.

Be flexible

You have to learn to be adaptable when it comes to planning. Many military plans don’t manage to survive past the first point of contact so don’t be disheartened if your plans have to change. This really highlights that no matter how much planning you do, you can’t account for the unpredictable, so always be ready with a backup plan or an alternative method to accomplish your goal. As long as you keep the objective in sight, you can alter your plan slightly, but you won’t forget what the primary goal is. The idea is to be creative when problem-solving to make sure that your plans are not too rigid, making them fragile and breakable.

30, 60, 90

In the military, much of the training is already all planned out well in advance. The leaders of each unit will get together to coordinate their plans at intervals of 30, 60, and 90 days. By looking at intervals of 30 days, the military leaders are capable of assessing how their long-term plans are taking shape. You can use this technique and apply it to your own life goals to monitor how close you are to achieving the objectives you’ve set for yourself. Because they are monitored monthly, adjustments can be made to ensure anything that’s falling behind can be put back on track in no time at all.

These simple little hacks brought to you from the military will help ensure you keep on top of all your productive targets. They are very simple methods to ensure you know where exactly you’re at in the planning stage and give you scope to alter your plans to get them back on course in no time.