Know the saying "time waits for no man"or "time lost can never be regained"? When I first started out in the professional world I knew nothing about scheduling tasks, using planners and checking my emails only during designated times, because I had no regard for time, nor those sayings. Heck I was from an era where email & spending 24 hours talking about everything and nothing online was everything.. Hello MSN.
But over the years, I have developed through practice, an effective system which allows me to benefit from the most of my time. Through using painstaking online scheduling tools such as ACT, outlook calendars to my beloved current day planner, I now sometimes feel like "wow i'm done already?", hence making me a more productive person. If you feel like you get nothing done during the day and come back to the same stagnant point day after day, try these tips.
Create a Morning Routine & STICK TO IT!!A year ago, when I woke up at 5:30 a.m my first thoughts were "YES, 1 more hour of amazing rest. But I never looked at it as one hour I lost, since I could have been doing something much more productive. After all, I am usually already well rested by 5:30a.m. Today, after trials & errors of course, my morning routine has become so regimented that my body involuntarily wakes up, puts on the kettle, writes down my affirmation for the day using a few snazzy mantra cards, and have a cup of tea before I proceed to a quick personal email check, & morning read. Not only have I gained an extra hour of daytime "so to speak", I also gain an extra hour to do something constructive. It's Sacred!
CLICK TO TWEET THIS >> Create A Morning Routine & Stick To It! It's Sacred!
Remember that calendar talk up there, hello again. I think it's safe to say that 90% of the "scheduling geeks" like myself either use a calendar, day planner or a dry erase board. "we'll get to that last one shortly". Calendars and day planners are an amazing way to get the most out of your day,if you use them correctly. When using planners, make sure that you are prioritizing tasks according to importance and urgency, like the daily planner sheet found in The Library allows, and that you not just placing them on the page, because if you are't ready to tackle that task at 10:15 a.m., that can create a mental obstacle preventing you from proceeding to others. Now about that dry erase board - when I decided to go full on blogger mode, I felt that it was necessary to have more visual, illustrations, calculations et al when I went into writing, designing course, or planning my agenda for my blog, so I invested in one. If you are someone who likes to see bold words & pretty colors when working, a dry erase board can be a great alternative.
"Plans are nothing; planning is everything." – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Stop procrastinating once and for all. At some point we all end up with some tasks we don't enjoy doing, but it has to get done. Biting the bullet and getting the most dreaded tasks over and done with "like monthly reports per say", takes quite a lot of time and can be tedious at time, but you have to do it at some point, why not now?
Say no to multitasking. In my honest opinion, multitasking does not exist. Why? Because, not only are you not giving your full attention to the tasks at hand, you ultimately spend more time than needed on the 1,2,3,4 or 5 tasks you are attempting to complete. These creates avenues for mistakes, which you will then have to return to, in order to fix. So I refrain from doing that. I spend a certain amount of time on a task until completed and move on to the next.
A cluttered space is a cluttered mind.If you work in a home office of corporate office organise it. I have a motto that everything should be in it's place. Having clean and organised workspaces provides better focus, creativity and allows for things to get done. No need for me to be fumbling with the stapler trying to figure out how the parts work. Remember to keep it simple.
Delegate a specific time to check emails.It's so funny how you start to read one email, which leads to the next and the next until you realize that you just wasted an entire hour on what was probably spam. Dedicate a specific time to check your emails throughout the day. Once in the morning, and once after lunch. And you know those pop-up notifications you get on the bottom right corner of your screen, turn it OFF, because it's a major unneeded distraction. Also, learn to use technology to your advantage. If you are working on an important project, set up an autoresponder "like the ones we use when we jump into vacay mode", to let your email respondent know that you will be contacting then shortly. Genius right!!
Take a break or work out.Sitting for long periods not only gives you a numb bum, but can become a bit boring, If you notice that you are beginning to feel fatigued after a couple of hours, take a 5 minute break and walk it off. Go engage with your co-workers, stretch outside, get some sun, coffee, anything to get the blood pumping and return to your tasks. Regularly exercising also lessons the fatigue feeling we get before we even start our days sometimes. Getting the endorphin "positive body released drugs" kicking, and sweating out toxins is not only good for the body but also allows for great mental stimulation.
Prepare in advance. Getting ready for the day ahead in advance gives you a guidance of what you're to do ahead of time. That way you waste less time scheduling your current day, but more time doing the things that need to get done, because if you're a planning freakazoid like myself, you would have already figured out the steps, words etc you are going to use.
Don't be afraid to say no! To a commitment that you can't handle at the time. If someone asks you to schedule a meeting for a certain day, time etc, and you can't tell them that YOU CAN'T. There are 24 hours in a day, 365 (66 sometimes), pick a time convenient for the both of you. If you work in a department of 10, you get a call , your colleague picks up and says "it's a customer and he says that's it's urgent", if you are busy, say no. Ask them to take a message and kindly tell the customer that you a currently unavailable and will return the call shortly. "most times, it's never urgent".
Develop an invaluable relationship with your time. Because guess what, if you don't you will have no regard for it, nor pay attention to it. We always seem to say it flies, or it's only 2.pm.. Guess what, stop looking at it in such a negative way, and embrace & squeeze all that you can out of it. You know how you save up for those fancy pair of pumps, you end up riding it out until you get every ounce of use you can get out of it; because you know that if you don't it will dry rot and go to hell. This is how you should view your time. Value it.
Also remember to eat your vegetables.. I just had to say that...Let me know if you tried any of these and if they helped improve your productivity levels.
"Productivity is never an accident. If is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort" - Paul J. Meyer
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