The 5-Day Business Challenge To Increase Productivity

Chris Gardener
6 min readJul 30, 2018

Take the 5-Day Productivity Challenge: Stop Being a Reactive Business Owner and Learn How You Can Begin Taking Control of Your Day

As business owners, our business often becomes our life. While this is commendable and sometimes necessary, have you lost sight of why you started your business in the first place?

Like most people, you probably started your business because you wanted to be free of the 9–5 workday or you wanted to spend more time with your family or doing the things you love. But do you find yourself arriving at the office way before anyone else? Or maybe you’re there long after everyone else has gone home? And when did you last spend time with your family?

If you currently struggle to get things done every day or spend way more time at the office than you would like, then …

… maybe it’s time for you to take the 5-Day Productivity Challenge.

All too often business owners waste valuable time and energy reacting to situations. Instead, their time would be better spent analyzing how to avoid problems, how to increase productivity performance, or on streamlining overall operations.

By taking the 5-Day Productivity Challenge, you can learn what situations cause you to react. Then you can organize those situations and take the necessary action to become more proactive in your business and sleep better at night.

Day 1: Learn What a Reactive Work Situation Looks Like

On your first day of the challenge, your task is to understand what a reactive work situation looks like. It’s important for you to know this so you can be aware of when they happen and how to handle them going forward. A reactive work situation is one in which events force you to act due to lack of planning. Whether it’s a new competitor showing up, a cash flow shortage, or a team that’s simply not getting along, these situations force you to do something fast. You end up taking a step backward instead of forward.

Not only can this be a chaotic way to run your business, but it can also cause you to make bad decisions. Since you won’t have the chance to analyze what’s going on, you’re forced to act on impulse without knowing the full picture.

Action Steps:

  • Document on a notepad or in a spreadsheet those events or situations that cause you or your staff stress or increased frustration
  • Note if there are any similarities between the situations that arise

Day 2: Learn What a Proactive Work Situation Looks Like

Just as it’s important for you to know what a reactive work situation is, you should also know what a proactive situation looks like. A proactive work situation is one in which you focus on continually analyzing and improving business performance. Doing this allows you to avoid chaotic situations from popping up, and it helps you prepare for any upcoming events that may impact your business.

Instead of waiting for things to happen, you can focus on enhancing efficiency and being more cost-effective. When you work to prevent problems or solve them before they get out of hand, you can work towards a stronger business that’s prepared for anything.

Action Steps:

  • Document times when planning ahead helped you and your staff to avoid problems or major issues in your business
  • Make note of the exact steps you took to prevent those situations

Day 3: Start Monitoring Your Reactive Moments

Now that you understand the differences between reactive and proactive situations, you can use this knowledge to take back control of your time, your life, and your business. The best way to do this for you to start monitoring the moments when reactive situations appear. On day three, create a spreadsheet and start keeping track of when they happen as well as the circumstances that surround them.

By monitoring your reactive moments, you can start to learn how the problems present themselves. This should give you the opportunity to see if there’s a pattern, which can help you to take back control of your days and prevent reactive situations from happening in the future.

Action Steps:

  • Start your spreadsheet to track reactive moments in your business
  • Share the spreadsheet with key members of your team and allow them to add their own viewpoints or comments

Day 4: Organize Your Reactive Moments into Categories

Now that you’ve started monitoring your reactive moments, on day four you can start categorizing them according to how significant they are. Are they minor in nature or do they cause major disruptions to your life or your business?

On the same spreadsheet you are using to monitor your reactive moments, you should also make a column categorizing them as minor, moderate, and critical. This is an important step as it will help you to determine what steps you should take next to start on the path to being more proactive.

Action Steps:

  • Create columns in your spreadsheet to allow for categorizing situations as minor, moderate, and critical
  • Share the spreadsheet with key members of your team to receive their input

Day 5: Delegate, Organize, or Delete — Never Postpone

On day five of the challenge, it’s time to learn how you can turn your reactive moments into proactive ones. You can use your spreadsheet to prioritize these moments for this crucial final step to help you regain balance in your life as well as in your business.

If a problem is critical, it should be handled immediately. Critical situations can be incredibly disruptive to your team or your overall operations. By taking the time to review these situations, you can start to organize processes and systems going forward, so you avoid similar situations in the future.

If a problem is moderate or non-critical, your best course of action is to delegate it to a manager or a trusted member of your team. Let them know that you’re available for guidance or any questions that come up but the task is theirs to manage. If a problem is minor, then you may simply want to delete it. As you work towards organizing and delegating, the minor problems should be resolved within those processes.

Even though you may view moderate or non-critical problems as a nuisance, it’s key to look at the bigger picture. While they may not have an immediate or severe impact, moderate or minor reactive situations will start to wear down your employee’s morale and performance over time.

Critical issues will also create sub-par experiences for your customers, which will result in less customer satisfaction and reduced sales. By putting processes or procedures into place, you can avoid these situations or handle them better in the future so that they eventually turn into proactive situations instead.

Action Steps:

  • Prioritize the reactive moments listed on your spreadsheet according to when and how they should be handled
  • Share the revised spreadsheet with key members of your team and brainstorm on ideas of how to turn these moments from reactive to proactive ones

One thing to keep in mind here is that you should never postpone dealing with a problem. When you postpone, you could make it worse and then you’re put right back into a reactive situation. The perfect example of this is delaying maintenance on essential equipment. It will eventually break down, and then you’re forced to react. Never procrastinate or postpone dealing with a problem.

The 5-Day Productivity Challenge helps to transform you from a reactive business owner into a proactive one. This allows you to have more control over your time and your business. Taking a more proactive role will provide you with peace of mind so you can make better decisions and sleep better at night.

Are you ready to take the 5-Day Productivity Challenge? If so, let me know how it helps you to increase productivity as you go through each day in the comments below. And don’t forget to let me know your results once your five days are up!



Chris Gardener

Specialist mentor for the self employed to get all 3Fs: Financial security then Freedom then Fulfilment