In a recent post, we suggested 4 ways to take control of your day and wanted to share a few extra pointers to help our readers keep on track:
Productivity on the job is something that we all covet, but how many of us actually accomplish as much as we hope to? When you think about it, there are a number of obstacles along our quest for productivity – managing never-ending to-do lists, prioritising our most important tasks, keeping up with all of those emails, Buzz Feed (just to name a few).
Getting the right things done comes down to consistently implementing basic “time and focus management” tactics. Consider these the next time you are planning for a day to be more productive.
Organise your to-do list
Sure, you’ve taken the initial positive step of jotting down all of the things that you need to do. But often you’re left with an overwhelming laundry list of tasks and no sense of how to address them. Take your list one step further by examining it from a longer perspective. For the next week, toward the end of each day look at your calendar for the next 7-10 days. Your assignment: Add one thing to today’s to-do list that will make next week more productive. AND, take one thing off of next week’s list that isn’t that important. If an assignment can wait until Wednesday, slot it in for that day and put it from your mind until then. Focusing on the important, more immediate tasks will go a long way toward actually getting them done. Speaking of that…
Focus on your most important tasks
Ever listened to a podcast while you were reading your emails while you were sitting in a conference? Yeah…How did that go? We enjoyed this exploration of multitasking from Geil Browning for Inc. Those of us who take pride in tackling multiple projects at once have probably experienced that frustrating feeling of not being able to dedicate quite as much time to each as we would prefer. When you have the chance to dedicate all of your energy to one project, do it.
Initiate “the talk” with 5 people who email you
You’ve read other people’s advice about email management. Only check email twice a day. Take a break from email regularly. Set up auto-responders. And more. If you’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked, or if you work in a position where you simply can’t break away from email, here’s an idea. Ask 4-5 people who email you the most if you can schedule a 20-minute 1:1 meeting with each of them over the next week or two. Here’s the agenda:
- Make a list of the things that bother us about email.
- Make a list of the topics we should initiate via email.
- Make a list of the topics that should wait for a voice-to-voice or in-person meeting.
- Commit to emailing each other 50% less for a week.
This 20-minute meeting can result in dozens or even hundreds fewer emails sent and received per week. We’re not asking you to do this “forever,” we’re simply asking you to experiment with it for one week. Don’t let other people’s habits of “just sending a quick email” block you from having time to focus at work.
Want to keep digging..? Here are a few more tips to take control of your day