A Lesson in Productivity from Panera Bread

Our local Panera Bread Bakery Cafe is the perfect location for getting things done.  I go there several times a week after work for a cup of coffee and an extra half hour of work.  A buddy of mine heads to the local Borders book store.  Still another heads over to a nearby Starbucks.  All of us are looking for that perfect place to complete the day's tasks and still get home at a reasonable time.

Changing your location is as important as the pace of the day. I try to seek out places where I can get in a half hour of work before going home for the day.  Sometimes, it's a library but other times it's a coffee shop.

So what's so special about Panera?  Besides the refills on coffee and the atmosphere, I saw a new sign that went up which reads:  "Panera: Our Recipe".  The company then lists their core offerings, including:

  • Artisan bread

  • All-natural chicken

  • 0 grams of trans-fat

  • A kids menu you'll feel good about

  • Free wi-fi

  • Community

  • A never-ending passion for great food

So there I am, reading some materials and planning out the following week.  Yet I'm drawn to these core values that Panera wants me to dwell on.  I'm using their wi-fi.  My coffee is on its second serving and it hits me- I'm benefiting from Panera's offerings and my work is the recipient.

So if you could list out your core values for productivity, what would they be? If you had to post a sign in your planner, your kitchen, or your Blackberry, what would it read?  Here's mine:

  1. Preparation.  I want to lead into my week by keeping my project list in-tact.

  2. Daily planning.  I want to lay out my appointments and events on paper so nothing is missed.

  3. Meeting details. Nothing is worse than a poorly-run meeting.  An agenda is key, getting everyone involved is a must and ending on time is respectful.

  4. Clear communication. Between the phone, email and written correspondence, my bases will be covered.

  5. A clean space. With a clean desk, I can do one thing at a time.

  6. Saving time. If I can do something faster, easier and in a more elegant way, I'm there.

So what would be your "top-6" in a personal productivity list?

(Photo by Lost in Scotland)