Become more productive by doing less: the secret of Gold Activities

We do not notice what’s going on around us much more often than realise. Focus, understood as our ability to concentrate, can be a great help, but also a hindrance.

Imagine, for example, taking a camera to big party so that you can record everything that happens.  You switch it on when you arrive, but then you inadvertently leave iton a table. For the whole evening, the camera records a couple arguing intensely. The next day you go to watch the recording, wanting to relive the pleasant memories of the evening, but the party doesn’t seem to have been much fun as the camera only captured the couple fighting.

Our mind behaves in the same way by dividing reality into what we see and and what we don’t, as if the things that we don’t see do not exist.

Let's discover our Gold Activities

How many times do we often carry out many activities at once, forgetting the relationship between impact and activity? In other words, we dedicate the same time to activities that have different impacts. The result is giving all activities the same attention, to the detriment of activities with a greater impact and focusing too much on particular activities that don’t require it.

If everything is important, nothing is most important .

Assigning the same levels of importance to all tasks is one of the greatest risks that you face today in your company and you may lose you value instead of earning it.

Personal excellence lies in truly reaching your maximum potential, and this is only possible if you focus on value-added activities for yourself and for your company.

But what meanings can the word value assume? Value is created, for example, when you do something important for the benificiaries of that action, or when there is something of profound significance to ourselves; therefore, achieving personal excellence means being able to create as much value for as many people as possible and this is only achievable if we are capable of choosing our Gold Activities, or the fast track for value creation.

Gold Activities  allow you to grow both personally, and at a company level: In order to do so, you need to be able to distinguish service activities from those that add value and this is only possible by starting with yourself. In addition, they allow you to have both a strategic vision and to progressively engage your team by delegating “non gold” activities, thus increasing the strength and effectiveness of the group while reducing stress and waste at the same time.


How can we Recognise Gold Activities?

Everyone is able to do this, but we must train ourselves to recognise these opportunities, as if it was a muscle; we often do things because we are accustomed to doing them in a certain way, not because we have consciously chosen to do them.

How to find your Gold Activities? First of all, we need to familiarise ourselves with the Pareto principal, which is as true today as it ever was:

"Always choose the 20% of activities that give you 80% of your results"

This is the first rule to always keep in mind. Then there are some key factors which we must always look for to be sure that we’re always in the Gold Activity “zone”:


Asking yourself what the impact of one activity is over another will help you to clear away the activities that are of no value, those which only act as ballast.


If you persist in doing something that you are not expert in, you are burdened by what you don’t know, exposing yourself to the risk of having many weaknesses and few points of excellence.


An activity will never be a Gold Activity if you do not like it, it is difficult to achieve excellent results by doing things that are neither pleasant or stimulating.


Don’t stay in your comfort zone. The concept of challenging yourself is needed for continuous growth, by exceeding your daily limits and growing at the same time.


Have you ever wondered what your perception of time is? The ancient Greeks distinguished it in two categories: Kairos, the time of God, where something special happens, and Chronos, chronometric time, objectively verifiable by way of a time measuring instrument. When we are in Kairos mode, we feel like time runs differently, almost as if it stopped. In Chronos mode, however, time moves quickly and we can not fully appreciate the moment we are living: this is the signal that we are not in the Gold Activity “zone”.

It also changes the traditional concept of productivit: It must no longer be understood as doing more things in less time, but doing the right things, and with greater impact, in the time that we have available.

Real productivity

It is therefore important to free ourselves from the idea that the outcome depends on the volume of things being done.

So Gold Activities lead us to the idea of true productivity, rather than of forced engagement. It is always better to be productive rather than busy, by learning how to choose the things that make your value, your group’s value and your business’ value grow.

Energy and time are finite, so if you do not learn to give priority to the important things you risk filling your calendar with many unnecessary tasks, leaving you with little opportunity to express your best talents.

Therefore, the question to ask is:

Would you prefer to be over-committed to many things, or to create value and excel in what's really important?

Article by:

Luciano Attolico

CEO of Lenovys

Luciano is among the leading experts of Lean Thinking, Lean Lifestyle, Performance Improvement, Lean Lifestyle®   and Impact Innovation experts in Europe. His professional philosophy has people at its heart, leading them to search for methods that can ensure better results with less effort and greater well-being.


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