Do you ever feel like your “to-do” list is constantly making babies? I do. It’s always growing and sometime I feel like I can’t get ahead of the run-away train titled “action list.” There seems to be much more action to be taken and not enough hours to do it all.
Nevertheless, we persist and push forward to the next day – no matter how many babies our list gives birth to. I know – weird analogy but yesterday it hit me and it stuck. Hehe.
First off, know this. Interruptions are the arch-enemy of the “to-do list.” But the problem is that they’re constantly bullying your “to-do list.” They’re like the mean kid in 4th grade who picked on everybody until some had to step in and show him a thing or two. Well, interruptions are the same way. They will keep bullying you until you have had enough.
So say no to constant interruptions. I’m really going to focus on this until it gets in check. You may want to think about it. Or, if you have ideas on how to take down the bully yourself, help a brother out.
Technology can make productivity very fuzzy. It might feel like we are getting things done but maybe we’re just creating a bunch of activity – not completing the tasks at hand. For the most part. Instead of increasing your productivity, it can actually diminish it. Bummer. I know.
We sit down, best intentions in mind, and begin checking our email accounts, checking in on our social sites, then we end up clicking a few links, bantering in micro-conversations less than 140 characters and thinking we’re getting things done when in all reality – little babies called tasks are being born every passing minute.
Here are 11 steps to getting more done in a single day:
1. Drink more coffee. I’m kind of kidding. Maybe. Anyway, if you are drinking your coffee at home before you head to wherever it is your do your art, I would highly recommend Dominican Joe Coffee. Not only is is great coffee – but the proceeds go to help fund educational development in the Dominican Republic. Trust me, I wouldn’t lead you wrong here.
2. Be productive first. Don’t start the day by checking e-mail, voice messages or social media channels. This seems to always suck you in a direction you do not want to go in the beginning of the day. All that can wait. Be productive first – then be social.
3. Start strong. Start by completing two things on your list that must get done today. Do the hard or unpleasant stuff first. Make sure whatever the tasks are, they will have a significant impact on your objectives for the day.
4. Just say “no.” Make decisions and take action. Procrastination never pays off, so make the tough decisions first. Say “no” more often than you say “yes”, and don’t even think about saying “maybe.”
5. Deal with it now. Whenever you decide to check your email, check it and respond. Don’t read it and put it off till later. I’ve been terrible here lately but when I do this, productivity increases dramatically. Deal with every e-mail once. Read an e-mail and take action on it now. Don’t save it for later or leave it in your inbox. File it in the appropriate sub-folder if it is needed for later reference.
6. Stop multitasking. Focus on doing one thing at a time. Hard to make the argument that multitasking is good for you. Or that it is productive.
7. Take control of your distractions. Turn off the e-mail and social media notifications, beeps, ringtones and visits to your office. Limit the information you read during your productive hours.
8. Shut it off. Stay off the Internet, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter unless you have a plan. This seems to be the fastest way to kill your productivity since you can meander and get lost on these sites forever. Create a plan and execute when visiting these sites during those precious hours. Time limits can be good, too.
9. Tighten it up. Do not enter a meeting without a written agenda and a stop time. Never leave without clear and concise action items.
10. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Improving your productivity means utilizing the other people in your organization to take full responsibility for their own tasks. Don’t be afraid to hand off tasks to others. Delegation is the name of the game. I think.
11. Recharge. Don’t let work run your life. Make time for what’s important to you. And make it a point to keep this in check as it can slip easily. When you’re home – be home. If you’re on vacation with your family – be there.
Help me out, how do you get the most out of your day? Or how to you beat-up the bullies?