I am a to-do list junkie and find myself dedicating more and more time to specific client services. During this time the phone is shut off, the e-mail is disabled and I just work off of my to do list and get stuff done. During this time I waste very little time because my white board serves as a reminder of what’s important and what’s next. This is a system we could all use.
The Wall Street Journal suggests that in a 10 hour day the average executive (that means you!) has less than 3 hours of productive time. Here are 6 ways to expand that by 20% or more and not spend a single second longer at your desk!
- Manage Your Mood… Most productivity systems I have seen assume we’re robots – most forget the enormous power of feelings. Starting the day calm makes it’s easy to get the right things done and focus.
- Don’t Check Email In The Morning… To some this is heresy. Many can’t imagine not waking up and immediately checking email or social media feeds. I’ve interviewed a number of very productive people and nobody said, “Spend more time with email.” Why is checking email in the morning a cardinal sin? You’re setting yourself up to react. An email comes in and suddenly you’re giving your best hours to someone else’s goals, not yours.
- Before You Do It Faster, Ask if It Should Be Done At All… Everyone asks, “Why does it seem impossible to get everything done?” The answer is actually easy: You’re doing too many things. Want to be more productive? Don’t ask how to be more efficient until you’ve asked “Do I need to do this at all?”
- Focus Is Eliminating Distractions… Ed Hallowell is a bestselling author of the book “Driven to Distraction”says we have “culturally generated ADD.” Has modern life permanently damaged our attention spans? Not necessarily. What we have done is to have more tantalizing, easily accessible, shiny things available to us than human beings have ever had. The answer is to lock yourself somewhere to make all the distractions go away.
- Have Your Own Personal System… I’ve talked to a lot of insanely productive people. None of them have ever said “I don’t know how I get stuff done. I just wing it and hope for the best.” Not one. Routines can be formal and scientific or personal and idiosyncratic – but either way, productive people have a routine.
- Define Your Goals The Night Before!!! Wake up knowing what’s important before the day’s defined and expected emergencies come into your life and your inbox screams new commands. Define your one or two most important to-dos before dinner, the day before!
Taking these actions has a lot in common with going to the gym or dieting. Not easy to do at first and in the long term you will develop habits that begin to serve you for the long haul. Gaining 20% or more from your week is worth working toward. Still not sure? When you get home tonight ask your spouse or kids if they want you around more. If they say yes you should consider this… If they say no you should have started on this weeks ago!
Go Forward And Kick Some Ass This Week!