- Maximize your planner: Whether it’s a paper or computer calendar, your scheduling tool must drive your priorities, or your productivity will be random. It’s the place to capture your to-do list and then turn those tasks into doable action steps. Keep it open all day long. Utilize every feature of your planner to benefit to the max.
- Strategically schedule your day: The first and last hour of your day are sacred: The last hour is for determining tomorrow’s 3 top priorities, and the first hour is for starting to accomplish those 3 priorities. Do your most creative and thought-intensive tasks when you are freshest in energy. Plan in breaks and margin: cushions of time in between tasks to absorb the unexpected and to do “filler tasks” that only take a few minutes (e.g. dealing with post-it notes).
- Organize your work space: Only keep the tools that are necessary for daily tasks on your desk, as well as the files/materials for your top 3 priorities. Just say NO to clutter–it only distracts you, even if just subconsciously. Make a place for everything–or else it becomes a pile. Create manila files for all papers, including a Work in Progress file for items calendared for later.
- Partner with other co-workers: Host a stand-up meeting, and tell them of your priorities each day so they can hold you accountable later in the day. Be curious and ask your teammates what makes them successful to see what systems you can modify/adapt for your own success.
- Do weekly reviews and previews: Once per week, carve out an hour to celebrate what was accomplished this past week and to schedule out your priorities for next week, to assure they get on your calendar. This habit allows you to get ahead of anything double-booked for next week, or days that are currently too full and need some moving around of tasks in order to be doable.
These 5 tips can revolutionize how much work you get done in the weeks to come. Which habit will you begin to incorporate into your daily routine? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve got more where that came from!